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Just Jot It January: Day three…

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For the third edition of this month-long feature, I’ve decided to change medium and post some pretty pictures for you to look at.

What with Christmas, the crappy weather and all three of us having the same horrible cold, we haven’t been out much in the last week, so it was good to get down to the park in the winter sunshine today.
I took a few photos of the winter trees, a rather impressive sunset and the ever-present gulls feeding by the river, all of which I shall post on Photo Sans Frontiers shortly, (watch out for the reblog on here too) but I thought I’d give you a sneak preview now, as part of Just Jot It January.

I hope you like them and if you do, pop over to my photo-blog and check out the rest later on.

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#JusJoJan

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Picture this. A winter walk…

After the hailstorm we had last night, it was nice to see the watery winter sun trying to poke it’s feeble fingers through the clouds this morning. Perfect weather for a Sunday lunchtime walk.
I’ve joined various photography groups on Facebook in the last couple of weeks and, having plundered my gallery for introductory shots, I thought I’d better get some new material to post (but not before I post them here, obviously) so I took my trusty phone for a stroll along the riverbank and fields around Rock Park to see what I could see.

The lowering grey overcast was different from the usual backdrop of blue sky and fluffy clouds in my photos, giving the light an interesting tone which nicely evokes the season.

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One of the camera groups I’ve joined has bridges as a theme this week but despite the fact that one of my favourites, the old iron railway bridge is in the park, I thought I’d include pictures of the other two on this stretch of river for a change; the current rail bridge and the large concrete road bridge, both crossing the River Taw.

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Following the trails and footpaths around the park, through tunnels of trees and along the banks of the river, the bracing wind certainly blew away the Sunday cobwebs.

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I look forward to watching the countryside come back to life, it’s always fascinating to see what new images each season brings…

 
 

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White out…

It won’t be long before the entire country grinds to a halt, due to there being a completely unexpected and unforeseeable drop in temperature round about wintertime, and varying quantities of precipitant crystalline water begin their miraculous, and above all, unpredicted descent from who knows where.
This will, of course, take everybody by surprise, and result in the sort of apocalyptic news reports usually reserved for natural disasters and alien invasions.

(The fabulous Charlie Brooker also has something to say about this sort of thing)

The fact is, we’re bloody useless at dealing with the one thing that we’re world famous for being obsessed with, namely the weather.

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But, we’re also famous for the stiff-upper-lipped attitude that enables us to get entertainment out of almost any situation.
I mean, how many reports of flooding do you see, when there’s some cheery soul canoeing down the high street, or wakeboarding behind a 4×4.

And snow just adds a new DIY dimension to that improvisation ethic. From tea trays, rubbish sacks, and plastic tarps, to car bonnets and scaffold planks, I’ve seen people use all sorts of Heath Robinson contraptions to assist in narrowly avoiding killing themselves whilst hurtling downhill at ill-advised speeds.

When I lived in Sussex, the sledging Mecca was the local golf course, and whenever the snowfall reached adequate proportions, dozens of people would descend on the steepest of the fairways to display their prowess at cheating death.

Imagine if you will, standing on a golf tee at the top of a steep path leading downhill to a fairly deep gully with a stream at the bottom. Over the gully is a footbridge, and the fairway on the other side climbs steeply for maybe a couple of hundred yards to the top.
The hill flattens briefly two-thirds of the way up, as a private road bisects the grass slope, before it continues up to the green.

Got that?

Right, go down to the bridge and climb the hill to the point at which the road crosses the slope.
Now turn and look back down the hill. Good sledging, huh?
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This was the place that drew the crowds, and one particular day sticks in my mind.
We were all merrily trying to out-sledge each other, when a Land Rover, towing a trailer, appeared on the road.
The trailer had a mysterious, tarp-covered lump onboard, the mystery of which was solved when half a dozen large, sporty looking blokes unveiled…….something.

Upon closer inspection, the vehicle being unloaded from the trailer seemed to be the bastard child of The Goodies’ tandem frame and a jetski.
The front wheel had been replaced with twin, short metal skis on the end of the welded forks. And on the rear, where stabilizers or training wheels would go, there were two other pairs of skis.

By this time, the newcomers had attracted some serious attention, and were obviously loving every minute.
Three of them mounted the fabulous machine and went through some final checks and (I thought, unnecessary) posturing, before receiving an almighty shove from their comrades, and beginning their descent.

To start with, it went without a hitch, (bear in mind, this all happened very quickly, so put your mind’s eye on slo-mo) they got a good straight course down the hill, no wobbling, picking up speed quite rapidly, people even started shouting encouragement (well, mainly encouragement).

Then, something strange happened.

My theory is that everyone watching them, got exactly the same thought, at exactly the same time.
And by the looks on the faces of the riders, they did too.

The thought, or some variation of it probably went something along the lines of;
Gully.
They’re going very fast.
Brakes?

You could almost hear people holding their breath.

Reaching the bottom of the slope, at the point at which it dropped away into the gully, the homemade snowmobile, along with it’s passengers, rocketed over the edge, crashing into a tree that grew up from the bottom.
The riders were catapulted into the freezing stream below, earning them further rousing cheers from the spectators.

If we’d had score cards, they’d have got solid sixes all down the line.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 10, 2012 in Personal anecdote

 

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