Hibernate time

It has arrived. We are sloshing about in the copious rainfall of Storm Angus apparently. Where we are isn’t too bad actually, perched at the top of a hill rather than in the deep valley of the river just a few hundred metres down the road. There’s a former mill house nestled at the low point of the V of the valley, the owners decided to call it River Cottage. They must be hoping that name isn’t too literal and the river ends up in the cottage as they watch the swollen brown water, bits of tree and occasional unlucky soggy sheep flowing by. Already there are big puddles on the adjacent road down there that might be able to consume a small family car whole.

Anyway, the weather is a little filthy, the light is poor and flat and it’s a good time to sit at a keyboard and type rather than go out for a soggy walk. Having said that, we did wrap up and get waterproofed enough for a little Beachcombing at Crackington yesterday. We both needed the fresh, albeit pretty damp air by the sea after a trip up to Devon over the weekend for my father’s birthday celebrations.

He was 70, but still one of the family still thought he needed a Fitbit device at this time of life. Very clever thing for wearing on your wrist, measures the amount of steps he takes in a day, handy for knowing how many steps it is from the house to the shed, to the garden and then to the shed – maybe a detour to the greenhouse – and then back to the house for a snooze until tea time. That’s if it’s not a Bowls day. House, car, Bowls Club, back to car, house, snooze. Then there is the small matter of connecting it to a computer to get the data off. I await the technical support call.

I gave my Dad a framed print of one of my earlier Crackington pictures and I must admit to being pretty impressed myself with how it looked in print and in a frame compared to my normal default of processing on the computer screen and putting pictures up here. I don’t know if there is any interest from any of you viewing and reading to want a proper print done but I’ll set a price if you want to enquire by email on bear.brh@gmail.com and describe the picture or article that I posted it on. (I’m not organised enough to know by a number or anything… it may be weeks before I find what you mean somewhere on this computer anyway… and it’s very wild speculation that anyone out there likes anything enough to have one in their home…)

I’ve never considered my photography as a product before, it’s just something I sometimes do. Confidence is not high, possibly that’s why I haven’t offered before. Anyway, I did this one for him, just cropped a little at top and bottom to fit 16×20 inches, and put it in a proper plain white frame and he seemed to like it a lot.

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So that afternoon there were occasional variations in the level of rain at the beach, a small light drizzle of almost misty type that you hardly noticed but was unarguably very wet indeed, intermittent intensity increases to the slightly larger and heavier drops, similarly definitely wet, and then sometimes the ‘driving into us almost at the horizontal at Mach 2’ type, trying to find ways though the protective layers and into our skin and actually feeling like it was possibly trying to get through that as well. It was doing us good to be out though, I know, Mrs B said it was.

The river that flows over the beach – my daughter and I jokingly call it ‘the raging torrent’ as we cross where it normally just seeps, almost unnoticed and benignly out through the stones – was cutting a deep channel into the profile of the beach and had changed into making our jokey description correct. The force of its flow was enough that you could hear larger boulders being tumbled along underneath it.

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I had optimistically brought my camera and was waiting for some ‘dramatic light’ and dry enough conditions to quickly use its electronic trickery without it fizzing and popping in a shower of sparky indignation. I already had ‘photographers knee’ – the one darker sandy and damp patch on the left knee of my trousers as I had been seeking a lower viewpoint –  and now I was practising the fine art of ‘waiting for the light’. In these conditions you are just hoping for a little break in the greyness, just to give you some texture and contrast. A quickly fading winter afternoon with XXL rain in it didn’t really give me that many opportunities but I did at least manage to stand still and not do an awful lot else for at least an hour.

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Just as the sun was almost gone for the day, there was a blue break in the clouds and finally there was a little reflection going on in the surrounding plentiful water.

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We came back with a haul of driftwood pieces that Mrs B has told me I can make into ‘one of those tree things’. The more violent tide had brought in a bumper haul of small, and some huge, ocean-cured branches and she won the usual beach glass challenge by a mile this time, with a collection of over twenty good sized and varying coloured pieces.

I claimed distraction and not really taking a full part in the contest as my reason for only having three bits of beach glass and many humbug wrappers in my pocket when we got home. Hopefully the colour will also return to the landscape after the rain and murk passes, until then I’ll be keeping warm, dry and snuggly in my cave.

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