Blog Archives

Memories of summer

Salt marsh and sea lavender

The long gaze of St Botolph

Night skies studded with harvest moths

A hedgehog in the headlights

Seed pods

seed pods

Dog on the beach

They are banned, of course, round here – well until October anyway when we rush down with veritable packs of big hairy hounds and have big dog-themed party.

Consequently, I don’t venture down there much in the summer.  Daytrippers, sun, sand…  I mean, who wants all that, really?

A friend said to me yesterday, ‘What you need is some fun.’  I said, ‘No, I don’t,  I don’t like fun.’  At this rate I won’t have any friends to say such things to me as I slip further and further into an anti-social, incapable of having fun, misery-guts pit, of my own excavation.  Actually, I raised a smile when I finished the last sentence, so maybe September and a few classes to teach will come along and save me.

I can’t even claim the credit for this find.  I was making two smaller and very nondescript stones have fun on the beach.  If you must know, I was pretending they were in a blue disco and dancing.  My daughter intervened and said my behaviour was age inappropriate.  On the other hand, she had this to show me, and it really was quite something.

The nose is brilliant

The nose is brilliant

We liked it anyway.  And I’m glad to have a kid who gets me, if only a fraction.  We were looking for someone on the beach.  My daughter said, ‘What is she wearing?’  I described the outfit, but I said, ‘I can’t remember the colour of her dress, it’s either pink or blue.’

‘Purple, then,’ the daughter said.

She was only right.

We could use a bit of the wet stuff

The grass is turning a shade of golden brown round here. I don’t have to worry too much about that thankfully, because my annual ‘lawn’ growing never entirely banished the brown patches of stubborn earth this year. I blame all that snow in the spring – it held this gardener back *ahem*.

Anyway, I’ve had this picture in my mind’s eye for a few days now, so I am downloading it here to free up a bit of internal disk space in the old synaptic department. I think I have said before that I have never been too keen on Edgar Degas’ ballerina studies, but I certainly appreciate the technique. My antipathy is something to do with the creeping feeling of lechery with the ballerinas. Still, perhaps I am unfair on that. His output was largely dancers in the end, but this was because the market liked it and his family were strapped for cash. Degas’ overall body of work, if looked at simply as studies of unforced posture have something of the quality of the modern paparazzi – he captures natural attitudes and poses and it is that draws me in.

In this particular picture, Jockeys in the Rain, I don’t think the rain is as much of a success as the body language of the both the riders and the horses. The rain has to be there, to give some the hunched figures their proper context, but what comes through even more strongly, for me, is the horses. The way the ones in the foreground hold themselves, the look in their eyes and the flare of the nostrils tells me that they are not so concerned about the rain soaking their flanks, rather that they are anticipating the off. The rain has to be there, but it’s not really what all this is about.

Jockeys in the Rain ~ Degas

Making hay whilst the sun shines (briefly)

I saw this scene a week or so ago, out near the unnamed creeks that surround Potton and Foulness islands. Walking out there, down at sea level, I am reminded of the phrase that Essex is the county that fills up twice a day with tidal salt water.

The scene specifically reminds me of a picture by David Shepherd called The Last Bales that used to hang on the wall at my Nan and Grandad’s house, alongside another print called The Winter Plough, which I have featured on here before.

I imagine David Shepherd is largely out of fashion these days, but I don’t know.

And I don’t even know if I like these things, it’s just they resonate on some level and I am compelled to note the fact.

I suppose I can say with certainty I like the striation to be found in nature, both in yesterday’s photo, and today’s.

Layers of colour and texture and light and sound.

Maybe it’s the reflection from glass in the painting, but I fancy I can see the wind – you can probably paint the wind better than you can photograph it. Which reminds me…

David Shepherd – The Last Bales

Azure Sky?

I’ve more-or-less forgotten what a blue sky looks like, so I picked this up to remind me when I saw it dropped on the street last week. I was hoping it was some kind of sign, but after the weekend’s deluges I think it’s just the Gods having a good laugh, whilst they play dice with mortals’ lives.

In Goal

I am right fed up with these interminable grey skies, even more so since we had some sun yesterday.

This was a hot and windy day last summer on a dog walk. I like the way the ace goalie has taken her jelly shoes off neatly, all ready to stop the ball.

Summer Holidays

That is the break the children have from school, not the six week one we don’t take on some Caribbean island. A bit like Christmas, these prolonged holidays promise so much and, if you don’t get it right, deliver so little.

For a start there is the arguing. Kids who are used to each others company for a few hours a day are suddenly expected to “get on” for the whole day, and the next and so on.

Then there is the expense. They want stuff. Not least feeding every five minutes. And I can surely tell why school toilet paper is the most arse-scraping stuff ever: they want you to a) save it for home b) if you really must – wipe sparingly

Notwithstanding all these trials, I try to enjoy them. Having to work at the same time and incur childcare costs is a necessity it does not pay to dwell on. It helps that I like my childminder; handing over £50 for a day doesn’t seem so bad when I know she is going to pop it in her teapot towards something she needs. What is it called? A macro economy?

Anway, my mother has these swallows in the nest at her soontobedunupinfullcottage and there are four of them. Like the school holidays, it looks as if it has got a mite squashed and fractious in that nest, but at least the mummy swallow doesn’t have to put up with Wii background noise and bickering.

Budge over before I hit you

Got that Friday Feeling?

Well this will soon knock it out of you. A summer anthem from another lifetime.

‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life
Trying to make ends meet
You’re a slave to money then you die
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places
where all the veins meet yeah

No change, I can’t change
I can’t change, I can’t change
But I’m here in my mind
I am here in my mind
But I’m a million different people
from one day to the next
I can’t change my mind
No, no, no, no, no, no, no,no,no,no,no,no(fading away)

Well I never pray
But tonight I’m on my knees yeah
I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me, yeah
I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now
But the airways are clean and there’s nobody singing to me now

No change, I can’t change
I can’t change, I can’t change
But I’m here in my mind
I am here in my mind
And I’m a million different people
from one day to the next
I can’t change my mind
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
I can’t change
I can’t change it

‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life
Trying to make ends meet
Trying to find some money then you die
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places
where all the veins meet yeah

You know I can’t change, I can’t change
I can’t change, I can’t change
But I’m here in my mind
I am here in my mind
And I’m a million different people
from one day to the next
I can’t change my mind
No, no, no, no, no

I can’t change my mind
no, no, no, no, no,
I can’t change
Can’t change my body,
no, no, no

I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
Been down
Ever been down
Ever been down
Ever been down
Ever been down
That you’ve ever been down
That you’ve ever been down