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Tag Archives: Barnstaple

March of the Internet Nobody, day twenty nine: Nature photography week…

For my third day of nature photos, Audrey and I went for a walk in the woods behind our house and explored the wild garlic-carpeted riverbanks, spotting wood anemones, celandine and blossoming hawthorne amongst the coppiced ash and willow trees.

Audrey couldn’t resist striking a few dramatic poses for the camera, so see if you can spot her subtle pink jacket in any of these…

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2017 in Blogging, Photography

 

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Surf ‘n’ turf…

The best of the weekend sunshine, complied on my photographic blog, Photo Sans Frontiers.
If you haven’t visited it yet, then click the title link just below this intro and check it out.

Photo Sans Frontiers

It was actually proper summer weather for a change at the weekend, so Audrey and I got out and about in the sunshine, both at Rock Park in Barnstaple and on Woolacombe beach.

Here are some moments captured on our travels, including the original shots that made up this week’sCosmic Photo Challengepost.

And here, for no reason except that I like it, is B.A. Robertson and the little heard (I suspect)“b side the c side”, from, unsurprisingly, the b side of his biggest hit,Bang Bang

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Monday walk…

As I mentioned in one of my recent Picture this… articles, fellow writer Johanna Bradley, (restlessJo) invites bloggers like myself to contribute to her Monday Walks thread, by publishing photo-blogs on the theme of – you guessed it – going for a walk on a Monday.

As I’ve been having a bit of a photography frenzy recently (what with our dog-sitting binge and the glorious spring weather) and despite the fact the only walk I did on Monday was to take Roo up to the fields above our house in Barnstaple, I did of course have my trusty phone, so as usual I took some photos.

At the time I wasn’t aware that I’d be posting these anywhere, so I didn’t take many and I was mucking about, ill-advisedly shooting into the sun and trying to make something “artistic” for my own entertainment.
But then hey, why not…?

The view from the top of the hill looks down from the centre of the V-shaped valley that comes together at the mouth of the Taw estuary in one direction…

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…and inland, towards Exmoor, in the other..

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Looking down into town, the new bridge, spanning the Taw as it flows out to sea is just visible against the low shimmering waters of the tidal river.

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And the sinking sun proved too much of a temptation for me, unable as I am to resist the chance at a little photographic experimentation.

A geometric antenna provides some structure to one shot.

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…and a tree (a favourite subject that I’ve used in photos before) gives natural perspective in another, including a lens-flare that JJ Abrams would be proud of.

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After that beautiful display of solar activity, there could only be one way to finish the day and that was yet another spectacular Devon sunset to end my Monday evening walk.
Thank you for joining me.

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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Arts, Blogging, Photography

 

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Picture this. Some autumnal evening…

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Because I’m on holiday this week and we have Roo to take for walks, I’ve had the chance to get out toward dusk when I’m usually working, and get some photos of the countryside in the distinctive light we only get on these early autumn evenings.
Oh, and I might have slipped in the odd one or two of The Bridge (last time, promise).

The river Taw was at high tide when I was wandering the banks yesterday, as the sun began its descent to the horizon.

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Roo and I walked down the river bank in the park, heading for the old iron bridge.

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The storm drains were running fast from the recent rain..

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..and the tidal river had risen almost to its limit.

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Steps up from the riverside take you to a junction, with a shady tunnel of trees in one direction..

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…and in the other, the old railway bridge, now carrying only pedestrians and cyclists.

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Over on the far bank, the landscape is more open and natural, with rolling fields, berries in the hedgerows, the still surface of a stream reflecting the sky, and the science fiction forms of the copper hued teasel heads…

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…and we were just in time to catch the spectacular sunset as it sank behind the hills with a fiery flourish.

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(A slightly expanded preview edition of this post appeared on Life Cherries, why not pop over and check out Lanthie’s blog with with this link)

 

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B-side the seaside…

After the weekend’s politically charged, slightly manic rant, time to relax with one of life’s simple pleasures…

It’s always good to get a visit from an old friend, specially if there’s an element of surprise involved. So I was particularly spoiled over the weekend, as not only did Elaine and I spend a relaxed couple of hours in The Champ in Appledore – a real old Eglish pub, all low ceilings and wooden beams – watching the wonderful Gypfunk (local French café-music band) who were playing for the first time since their triumphant return from performing at Glastonbury, but we also ran into a couple of old friends we made soon after moving to Devon, that we’d lost contact with several years ago.

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Gypfunk at a previous Champ gig.

This made for an extremely pleasant Sunday afternoon, catching up with news and chatting to the locals, but there was one person who didn’t make it.

He was windsurfing with a hangover.

A few years ago I got a call from Sussex ex-housemate and talented musician Duncan, (who, as I mentioned in a previous post, has since starred in Jesus Christ Superstar) saying he was coming down to the West Country on a surfing holiday with some mates.
Of course, being Duncan, his mates turned out to be another couple of exceptional musicians, and they were going to subsidise their trip by playing some gigs.

In a commendable exercise in forward planning, the intrepid Freaking Musos had rung some pubs in the area and proposed a music for food/accommodation deal whereby they would put on a show in exchange for being put up for the night and/or fed, in lieu of payment.
The gigs were very well received, especially in Woolacombe, where a holidaying member of the audience requested to get up and sing with them.
If I remember rightly, she did a belting cover of Summertime.

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The Musos’ guest vocalist takes centre stage.

Two of Duncan’s fellow musicians on these trips were singer/songwriter/guitarist Jono Harrison and drummer Joe Caple, also known by his musical alias Caveman Genius, and I highly recommend that you to check out their material.

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Anyway, I digress. (no surprise there then) Back to the present, and it turns out that Duncan, his family and some friends were coming down for a holiday in Instow over this last week, just down the road from here, and he was looking to play in a local pub.

As luck would have it, The Reform Inn was holding an open mic night on Monday and we met up there for a couple of bank holiday drinks and to watch Duncan play a few tunes.

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He had told the organisers – somewhat disingenuously I thought – that he was “usually just a bassist”, so after two funky original numbers, an obscure Price song and a side order of Ziggy Stardust to finish, it’s safe to say that he wowed the crowd.

As an example of his work, may I present his composition “Come to pass” (combined here with my abortive attempt to make a music video) for those of you that missed it in my original post.

Its good to see that Duncan managed to pass on his talented genes, his daughter having inherited his musical abilities, as you can see in this clip.

….and if all goes to plan, in a satisfying fin de siecle the two of them should be playing a father and daughter set at another open mic night, at The Champ tomorrow

If I can drag my work-weary body over to Appledore, (we can’t all be on holiday) I shall report on the evening’s entertainment, and possibly try and video some songs for your viewing pleasure.

Until then, as Gypfunk would say, Au revoir…

Update
We did indeed return on Thursday, and although we had the wrong night for Open Mic, there was the regular Blues Jam, in which Duncan played bass, guitar, drum box (I forget the correct name, sorry) and sung a couple of numbers, including Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times”.
Given that the host, Baz, described his performance as “The closest we’ve had to Robert Plant”, I think he can consider his debut at The Champ a success.

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Duncan (right) gives it some “golden god”.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2013 in Blogging, Music, Personal anecdote

 

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Picture this. Rock Park…

After I published my recent post featuring monthly photos of the River Taw that I took in Rock Park, Barnstaple, I decided I should make a point of going for a walk down the river (something we do less often since the death of our dog, Karla) so Elaine and I took a slightly damp stroll around the park, and I took some photos.
I’ll start with the same viewpoint on the River Taw as I used in my earlier post. Here’s the river as it looks today, two years on,.

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.. and here are some other river views.

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Rock Park was donated to the town by William Rock in the 19th century, although Barnstaple had been here a long time before that, being one of four original burhs or boroughs.
This fact was marked with the erecting of the 930 – 1930 Millenary Stone (Borough of a thousand years)

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But for me it’s the trees that make the park such a pleasure to visit, especially at this time of year when the full range of colours and textures are on show.

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There is a shady tunnel beneath the trees,

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leading to the old iron railway bridge. The last train long having passed this way, it now serves as a way across the river on foot.

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And finally, at the far end of the park, a place for quiet reflection.

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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Photography, Picture this.

 

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Picture this. A year on the river…

If you enjoy the photos in this post you have my aunt Jane to thank. And if you’re reading this Jane, it was your recent e-mail that reminded me that I had these pictures on my old phone, so thanks again for getting in touch.

A few years ago, on a visit to Jane’s house in Worcestershire, I noticed a photo montage which showed a dozen pictures of the same scene.
The only difference between the twelve photos was that they had been taken a month apart, chronicling the passage of a year on a simple tree-lined stretch of country road.

I decided there and then that I would try to capture a similar passage of time, documenting a year in a place we knew well near our home in Barnstaple, Devon.

In 2010 when these pictures were taken, we regularly went to Rock Park with our dog, Karla.

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Karla, amongst the Croci Crocuses, Rock Park.

Looking back towards the town,  a viewpoint on the banks of the River Taw, which runs through the park, made a perfect reference point from which to take my photos each month, and it gives a good indication of the passing of the seasons.

From the dreary grey skies of January and the snowy chill of February…

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..to the first signs of Spring

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In 2010 we did actually have some summer, not that you would always have known…

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Soon the trees begin to turn, showing September’s autumnal colours…

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…although there were still some days of early winter sunshine to enjoy before the year came to an end.

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Since Karla passed away we don’t go to the park nearly as much as we used to, but looking back at these shots has got me thinking I may go for a stroll down the river this weekend…

 

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