Category Archives: Photos

Wind Power 2

Sailing By

A few more peaceful images for your Sunday morning… (click for larger versions)

Boats on the swinging moorings at the Royal Harwich Yacht Club wait for the day to begin, and the tide to come in.

A cormorant dries his wings as the sun makes its appearance. But the fields are still shrouded in mist.

We head out in our little boat to see what the day will hold.

At Harwich, a row of lightships is moored in a line across the estuary. I wonder why they’re there; they aren’t even lit at night. It turns out they are brought here, from all over the country, for servicing. This is the MOT bay. Men go across from the white ship and change the lightbulbs.

Radio Caroline. No longer rocking. But still gently rolling.

That evening, the sun goes down over Harwich church.

A view from the gents’ loo at Shotley Marina.

All night, a gentle whirring and clunking reaches across the water, as the port of Felixstowe does its best to keep supplies coming into the country. (And exports going out.)

At dawn the following morning, the work is still going on.

Wind Power

Passers-by, just off the Essex coast.

I’ve just spent five days living on a small boat, in order to gain a certificate from the Royal Yachting Association that describes me as ‘Competent Crew’. I guess this is the modern equivalent of ‘Able Seaman’.

It was a splendid experience, which I’ll write about soon, when life is less hectic. In the meantime, I offer a couple of soothing pictures.

The Road Home: This the channel out of Bradwell Marina, just after dawn. A very East-Anglian sight at low tide. About 20 minutes later we had enough depth to creep out.

Climate change

We’re on holiday this week, renting a cottage in a ridiculously pretty village in the Cotswolds (Bisley, near Stroud). After spending almost all of the last year and a half in East Anglia, it’s lovely to get back to a place with some proper hills!

For the first half of the week, we had temperatures more reminiscent of southern Italy, and sought out shady spots in which to enjoy a cool glass of rosé.

This mediterranean feeling was enhanced by the fact that many of the local shops close at 2pm. (They just don’t reopen after the siesta!).

We relished the woodland stretches of our walks…

Hawkley wood

…as well as the breezes that can best be found on top of high Roman forts.

On an excursion to the Severn Estuary, we lunched at a seafood cafe while watching boats bobbing on the sparkling water of the marina, and then enjoyed a very refreshing G&T sorbet at the end of the beautifully-restored Clevedon Pier.

And then yesterday the weather changed, and we had some downpours of which East Anglia is not normally capable, and gently-falling mists at other times. We still managed to greatly enjoy a visit to Sudeley Castle. Recommended in any weather, and if you go, don’t miss the Pheasantry.

We’re definitely back in England now, though… and that’s also rather nice.

This is also the first longish trip in years where I haven’t had my laptop with me. My new iPad with its attached keyboard is exceedingly capable and I can basically do everything I want with it… but some things involve a bit more friction. (Though I imagine most of that is just a matter of habit.) So I haven’t been processing many of the images from my decent camera, for example; most of the pictures here are just snaps taken with my phone.

Well, except this one. My selfie stick isn’t quite this long. This requires a camera with propellors.

Clevedon Pier

Eye in the Sky

I had owned my little drone for a while before I discovered one of its cleverer tricks: taking 360 panoramic views. You just put it in the right mode and press the button, and it turns round on the spot taking 26 photos at various pitch angles, then stitches them together. In some ways I find these interactive views more compelling than videos.

This was one of my first: Houghton Mill, on the River Great Ouse. (If you just see a blank space below, I’m afraid you may need to try another browser, and if you get these posts by email, you’ll probably have to view it on the web.)

Or here’s a view of the University’s Computer Lab, where I used to work back in the days when we had physical offices. The big building site opposite is the Physics Department’s new Cavendish Lab (the third of that name), which is also known as the Ray Dolby Centre, since that little button you used to press on your cassette deck is paying for a lot of this:

People who are interested in the West Cambridge Site may want to look at other shots from the same evening. And people who remember when cassette decks started having Dolby C as well as Dolby B may be inspired by the title of this post to hum tunes from the Alan Parsons Project.

There may be more of these to come.

Marsh-wiggles

On the North Norfolk coast, you get these fabulous beaches.

Wonderful places to walk, though you may have to cover some distance at low tide if you actually want to see the sea! You can see how we had to fight our way through the crowds yesterday to find a space to launch the drone!

Between this beach and the car park, however, are salt marshes, which are also fascinating, and I’ve photographed them before, and more than once, from ground level. But the patterns and the scale start to become apparent when you can get a bit higher up.

That’s the path we took to walk out to the beach — the car park is where the brown meets the green — and it’s the path we should have taken to walk back.

(I’ve uploaded full-resolution photos too, so if you click on the pictures, you should be able to see rather more details, if your browser lets you zoom in. Can you see the bridge?)

We tried to find an alternative route back, an approach which had worked in the past here. But the marshes are always changing; you can think you’re almost at your destination, only to come suddenly upon a deep muddy trench that will give you no choice but to backtrack and lose the gains you’d made in the last 20 minutes.

It’s like a maze, but with more leaping. Don’t try it if the sun is going down!

There are some lovely spots where the marsh meets the beach.

But it’s the wiggly lines that I like the most.

You can perhaps see the same bridge in this picture: about three-quarters of the way up, in the middle. There used to be a couple more bridges over some of the tributaries, but I haven’t seen them on recent visits.

So I do wonder how the owners of those little boats get to them! At the moment, at least, what they’re sitting on is not nice dry sand, even if you can find your way there.

It’s a lovely and unusual spot.

Now, the real question is… who saw the title above and thought of Puddleglum?

Magnolia Moon

Our magnolia only blooms for a very few days a year, but it’s glorious when it does.

International Spaniel of Mystery

Round here, she’s called Strider

Rose sets off on the morning walk. Her four-legged companion has already scampered out of the frame.

Good Morning!

Everything is muddy at the moment. Some of us just know how to glide above it.

29 years ago today…

…I was fortunate enough to marry this rather gorgeous girl. Can’t imagine what she was thinking.

Gunshot

Barton Road Rifle Range

The Barton Road Rifle Range as seen from the next field, on a recent misty evening.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser