A Sunday Lunch Time Walk

Looking-down-to-Beach-from-Cliff-Path.-SandownI thought I’d time my walk today for lunchtime and, as I thought, I had the place to myself.  Being Sunday, I presume most people are eating out or at home tucking into ‘le rosbif’ or even pasta or pizza.

So this is Sandown, Isle of Wight, on a beautiful sunny day in April, looking down from the Cliff Path that runs between this town and the next town, Shanklin, then down a steep path on to the beach.   I walked through to the Cliff Path from the main road, it looks quite woody and yes, it is, with hidden niches, wild flowers, primroses and bluebells sheltering under gnarled old trees, and the inevitable folly.

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Cliff-Path,-SandownLooking-down-to-the-Beach-from-Cl;iff-Path

 

By now, the beach will be full of walkers, the ice-cream kiosks will be doing a roaring trade, and the Pier will be packed with children on the bouncy castle and various other amusements.

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The tables that were empty at lunch-time will be occupied with people drinking teas and coffees, snacking on home-made cakes, and perhaps sitting back reading the Sunday papers.  Soon-to-be-filled-with-happy-eaters!

Culver Cliff, the massive white chalk cliff that curves around the edge of Sandown, hiding Whitecliff Bay and Bembridge, catches the light when the sun shines, and out on the horizon are cruise liners and cargo ships bound inward for Southampton, or outward for foreign parts.

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Some have been here with me before, but the beaches around the island never fail to please me, and walking on the sands, or on the revetment that runs under the cliff, or even on the pavement where convenient benches make stopping to take in the view even more of a pleasure, makes this my favourite walk – always.

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Walk on Isle of Wight

A walk along the seafront at Sandown, Isle of Wight, with my friend Steve from London, a brilliant photographer who has brought his camera with him, produced some great images that I’d like to share with you.  Sandown shares with Shanklin, the next town, a marvellous crescent of golden beach, perfect for safe swimming –  one of the reasons why both towns attract families with young children.

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Sandown also has the Dinosaur Museum, this being Dinosaur Island, and Shanklin has a wonderful Chine that leads from the centre of the old town, down through ferny green walks, to the beach and the sea.

But Sandown has something more frivolous – beach huts that make one smile, because the custom here is to give them all peculiar, funny names, a play on the word ‘hut’ more than ‘funny’, clever, quirky, and guaranteed to make one smile.

Steve took these photos for me.   I hope you like them too.  You may have to click on the images to enlarge the name plaques.

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So there you have it, Sandown Esplanade beneath the Cliff Path and along the beach on a delightful walk that leads to Shanklin (well lit during the evening as well) with cafes, life-guards, invigorating breezes and views of giant ships leaving Portsmouth and Southampton for foreign ports, as you walk along.

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And for the last photo, well, it speaks for itself.

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: LOCAL

“Any place I hang my hat is home”, or so the old song goes and this is almost true for me.  I seem to be able to settle in any location and feel instantly at home – even on holiday.  Feet under the table, a few friends around, some olives and some wine to keep the conversation flowing, and I’m happy.

That’s not to say, however, that certain places don’t take precedence, one of which is my permanent home now and has been for many years, the Isle of Wight, and the other is my childhood home in Northern Ireland.  These definitely represent home to me.

Starting from childhood:

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Scene just outside my birth town – Photo Mari Nicholson

 

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Growing up I may have spent too much time in this pub, for the craic and the wild music – Photo Mari Nicholson

 

 

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Another favourite pub in Belfast – Kelly’s Cellars – famous for its Guinness.                        Photo Mari Nicholson

 

Now I live near the sea, in this town, a favourite of many people many of whom visited it for the first time on a school trip.  The weather is usually good, we seldom see snow, the beaches are clean and safe, and the walking is superb.

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My Home Town
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View to my beach from just outside the town – Photo Mari Nicholson

 

It’s a place of thatched cottages, thatched pubs and even a thatched church                   Photos Mari Nicholson

An Illustrated Walk on the Beach, Isle of Wight

 

My new camera, the Sony A6000, has a brilliant inbuilt programme that turns the image from a  basic photograph to one that can isolate one colour, say red or blue, leaving the remainder of the photograph in black & white; changes the image to one that looks like a water-colour with the tints bleeding into each other; and, my favourite, illustration which alters the photograph miraculously so that it looks like a graphic illustration.  It is tempting to embark on designing a comic strip, or to illustrate an article with an illustration instead of an image.

Here I give you a few samples of Illustration, taken on a walk along my local beach the other day, a cold wintry day but with a blue sky lighting the day.  I hope they reproduce in the blog as they do on my screen, best viewed very large.

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Beach and Cliffs with People, Sandown, Isle of Wight
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Fishing Boat on Horizon at Sandown, Isle of Wight
By the Pier a Young Man Kicks a Football and Children Play in the Sand, at Sandown, IoW on a wintry day.
By the Pier a young lad kicks a football and two children play in the sand, at Sandown, IOW, on a wintry day.
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Blue skies, calm(ish) waters with the White Cliffs of Culver at Sandown, Isle of Wight.

Weekly Photo Challenge,Life Imitates Art

Perhaps not the greatest interpretation of the challenge but I’ve lately been wanting to use one of the interesting tools in my imaging programme and thought this might be my opportunity.

This sculpture was done by marine woodcarver Norman Gaches, from a tree that was destroyed in the great storm of 1987, outside Barton Manor on the Isle of Wight, the then home of Impresario Robert Stigwood, who commissioned the work.   At that time Barton Manor was producing wine and he wanted something to represent the grape.  The result was a magnificent carving showing the family of Bacchus and these are just two of the photographs my husband took at the time.   We followed the progress of the work with the sculptor over the months it took to finish it, and then did our best to interpret the art with camera and prose. A resultant article appeared in Woodcarving magazine and was subsequently syndicated in two other magazines.

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© Bacchus – Mari Nicholson

Bacchus Litho

Photo of Bacchus as Lithograph

Zeus

Zeus

And Zeus as a pencil sketch.Zeus Pencil Sketch

The Old Gaffers’ Festival, Isle of Wight

Yarmouth Harbour with Car Ferry in Background

It’s a bit late now to tell you about the Old Gaffers’ Festival at Yarmouth which was a great success last week-end 25-27 May.  Coinciding with what we hope was the start of our British summer, it attracted people from all over the south of England plus the residents of the Isle of Wight who flocked to the little town in their thousands to welcome the Old Gaffers.

Crowds throng the streets over the weekend.

For those of you who may be wondering what, or who, are the Old Gaffers, they are a type of sailing boat (I’ve given a link to the website where you can find the technical details) and the Yarmouth Festival attracts the boats and their owners for a weekend of sailing and merry-making.  The gaff-rigged boats, dressed overall, is something one doesn’t see every day and the harbour filled with the colourful boats is a complete contrast to the usual fleet of everyday boats.  The main race was on the Saturday, but people were arriving on the Friday for the Continental Fair (this could be Continental Fare as there was food from France, Spain, Italy and Germany on sale, both as takeaway and to eat there and then).

Boats Dressed to Kill

Glorious weather on the Saturday and Sunday meant that the town was pretty busy but the exceptional stalls in the main square, the displays of food, bread, sausages, pastas and paellas were so enticing, that more than half the people spent time looking and tasting which left the beach and pier less crowded for those whose main interest was the sailing.

Morris Dancers

Various horticultural merchants were offering bargains in unusual plants and shrubs, craftsmen and women were demonstrating their workmanship and the whole event was like an old fashioned Fair.  It was almost a novelty not to have the usual market traders hawking their goods.

Freshwater & Totland Samba Band

On the Friday night Rob da Bank topped the bill with some great acts and the tribute bands had their turn on the Saturday night.  Bands played all day long, marching bands, bands in marquees, jazz bands, and even the Freshwater and Totland Samba Band paraded through the town.  The Wight Hot Pipes (bagpipes, guitar and keyboard) were on hand, as were the Boogie Woogie Pianos with Team le Roc dancers, and The Crew sang shanties and sea songs in keeping with the Festival.  There was even a male voice choir.  Among the street entertainers was a magician, the Men O’Wight Morris Dancers, Irish country dancing from th Ceri Dancers and on the sea the RNLI lifeboat demonstrated a search and rescue mission.

Sea Shanties from the Boat

The Beer Tent and the Real Ale tent, the Strawberries and Cream Teas, and the local ice-cream makers were all kept pretty busy.  Those who could tear themselves away from the eating and the fun around the harbour could inspect the Veteran and Vintage vehicles that were on display.

Once again, The Old Gaffers Festival has pleased thousands of people.  Let’s hope the weather is equally kind for next year’s event.

The overflow found the shingle beach quite comfortable

 

A Walk in the Woods on the Isle of Wight

Thanks to the glorious weather currently being enjoyed by most people in the UK, I’ve been able to explore some of the hidden gems on the Isle of Wight, England’s island in the Solent, and home for many years to Queen Victoria and her family.  Just ten minutes by fast catamaran from Portsmouth, or twenty minutes by Fast Jet from Southampton, the island is one of the UK’s favouite holiday resorts.

Apart from the delightful sandy beaches of Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor, and the pebbly beaches and rockpools of Bembridge and Seaview, there are miles of coastal, forest and woodland walks.  Yesterday I took myself into the woods at Borthwood Copse, near the old village of Alverstone, to view the bluebells.  To see these at their best I shall have to return in about a week’s time I think, but meantime, those that were in bloom, made a lovely misty blue carpet under the trees.

Before entering the woods, I popped into the Hide at the Alverstone Mead Nature Reserve to see if I could spot a red squirrel (the island is one of the few places where these delightful little creatures have managed to fight off the grey squirrel predators) and I was lucky enough to see one.  Just outside the entrance, there is a list of what birds have been spotted that day (see image).  What a wonderful resource for anyone visiting, especially bird watchers.  I spent far too long in the Hide, absorbed by the ducks, geese and other wildlife that had nested on the pond below, so had to cut my walk short in order to meet up with friends for lunch in nearby Godshill.

The woods were magical.  Few people were walking there, a few had well behaved dogs on leads, most had cameras and many took advantage of the tree stumps dotted around the place, to rest and gaze at the myriad shades of green that formed the woods.  There were copper coloured leaves on the ground which made a contrast to the young green of new shoots, the fallen tree-trunks stretched across them like an illustration from a fairy tale.  I could imagine Red Riding Hood wandering through just such woods as these.