Sunday, 30 October 2016

Small, but perfectly formed

Halloween 2016 is here.  For weeks the food shops have been groaning under the weight of humungous pumpkins, all waiting to be fashioned into jack-o'-lanterns, with either impossibly happy grins or ghoulish grimaces.  I have the dinkiest pumpkin ever, which has been sitting on the table for a fortnight, looking cheerful.  It's far too cute to be carved up, and to give you an idea of its petiteness I have sat it next to a Bramley apple and an acorn cup!
I get far more enjoyment out of a pumpkin by just looking at it.  In my experience, cooking pumpkin is a complete waste of time.  It is totally tasteless.  Pumpkin pie is probably the best thing you can do with pumpkin, and even then it is just a vehicle for all the lovely spices which go into the filling! So, this little chap will just carry on sitting here, and in the meantime, I will continue to enjoy its glorious colour, sculptural stem and comfortable shape!  

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Week commencing 23 October 2016

The trouble with not having your own home is that the days, the weeks, are a bit like being on holiday, because there isn't the usual round of chores to do.  No garden to tend, everything in store, and just a meal to get, a bit of tidying and housework, some ironing, and lots of dog walking! Biding time.

Anyway, here's my week in photos.  Muted grey seascapes, tidy landscapes, startling sunrises, autumn colours, interesting shapes and shadows, family outings, quirky exhibits, and faithful friends.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

50 years ago

This weekend, fifty years ago, I went to stay with my school friend Gabrielle.  We were both at Basingstoke High School, and she lived not far away in the neighbouring village of Old Basing.  School finished at 3.30 pm, as usual, and as we left the school grounds a horrible smell drifted up the hill, from the direction of the busy A30 road.  At the bottom of the hill there was a big pond called Black Dam.  A number of small streams ran into it, and on a good day it would have been teeming with pond life, fish, ducks, moorhens and other water birds.  But this was not a good day, Friday, 21 October 1966, because a tanker had careered down the hill and overturned into the pond, spilling its foul smelling chemicals into the water, which then trickled out into the tributaries, eventually killing everything in its wake.

The smell of the chemicals hung in a pall over the area all weekend, adding another horrible layer to my memory of the disaster of catastrophic proportions which had taken place earlier that same day, in Aberfan,130 miles away.  For me, the two events are inextricably linked and have always stayed sharp in my memory, in the same way that everyone remembers what they were doing, where they were, and, in my case, what I was wearing when I heard that JFK had been assassinated.  How could any of us forget the scenes of devastation and desolation on the faces of the people of Aberfan, as they fought to come to terms with the fact they had lost a whole generation of children from their village.

So, with another image of my childhood, here is Peter Pan, in memory of all those children, who will remain forever young.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Mystery object

While I have been watching The Great British Bake Off, followed by The Missing, what looks to be a travelling Christmas tree has been making its way, v e r y  s l o w l y, up the Firth of Forth.  Now that it has drawn level and, worringly, appears to have halted its progress opposite our sitting room, I think that it might be an oil drilling platform, flanked by a couple of tugs.  There are a few of these further up and on the Fife side of the estuary.  The two tugs appear to be moving away from the glittering object.  However, these are not pretty things, and if it's still there in the morning, will be a blight on the horizon and hopefully won't stay too long!
Early Thursday morning update : it's gone!  Hooray!  Ted's very happy about that.

Monday, 17 October 2016

12 hours later

Not a full moon tonight.  That was yesterday, but twelve hours after we were enjoying that stunning sunrise, now, in the same spot, moonrise!

The tiny white dot on the left hand side of the first photo is the lighthouse on the Bass Rock. Sheer fluke it twinkled and timed with the photo!  

O Radiant Dawn

When I saw the sky this morning, just after 7 am, James Macmillan's wonderful piece 'O Radiant Dawn' popped straight into my head.

Put the two together - the images and the music - and see what you think.  I don't think the dawn can get much more radiant than this!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Wave watchers

I know I keep going on about the waves we can see from our sitting room window, but this weekend they are just so bewitching that we can't take our eyes off them.  The sea is churning, whirling, a maelstrom of white water, surf and foam, crashing in and running to the very top of the beach.  We are not the only people to be wave watching this weekend.

This was yesterday :

Today, it is difficult to show how colossal the waves are.  They are roaring, building, towering and then pouncing on to the beach in a foaming tumult.  It's crazy out there!  And one thing's for sure, the windows will need cleaning once this bout of weather has subsided!  The salty sea spray has plastered itself to the glass.
There was a brief spell when the grey light lifted and the sun came out, and so did the onlookers, thrilled by the spectacle.  We were all confined to the marram grass covered dunes at the top of the beach.  The waves and foam were running right in amongst the plants, and it was just too silly to try and walk along the sand.  

However, with all this water flying around, the bodyboarders couldn't resist those waves. 
As I sit here, watching out of the window, the waves seem to be getting bigger!  I've moved the car to the next street back, just in case!
And as the sun goes down on a ferociously turbulent sea, all is quiet in the harbour, in the lee of the prevailing wind.  I have seen one or two surfers being thrown around by the humungous waves this afternoon, and apparently tomorrow the surf is expected to be better, so I might not have finished with the waves just yet this weekend!