Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My December 2013 In Pictures.

The second of my monthly picture posts.

Click on the link below to see My December 2013 In Pictures.

The picture shows reflections in a puddle in Hythe Marina, Hampshire, at 14:18 on Friday 27th December 2013.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Boots & Shoes.

Attracted by the window display, and a pre-christmas 20% off, I bought myself a handsome pair of ankle boots from my favourite shoe shop, Tracey Neuls, Marylebone Lane, at the beginning of December. The shoes I really wanted were sold out in my size, so I tried on a variety of other styles, for good measure.  I'm not a fan of boots in general, but my head was turned by the cut of the ankle boot - black leather with an elegant all-weather sole and heel; they were comfortable and lovely and I couldn't resist.  A few days later, sneaking a peek at the Tracey Neuls website, I saw the shoes I wanted, back in stock and still 20% off, so I did the decent thing and bought them online.... the very last pair in my size!  They arrived a day later and fit like a glove.  They're beautiful, ruby red and I love them.

The picture at the top shows my new shoes, Lowtop Ruby.  The picture at the bottom shows my new boots, Fern Black.  Both photos by Susan Vale. Boots and shoes from Tracey Neuls, Marylebone Lane, London W1.

Click on the link below to visit the Tracey Neuls website.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


I'm not a great chocolate lover, but I won't say no to a small elegant gift-box of something lovely.  And that's just what came my way one day last week, in the shape of a gorgeous selection by Pierre Marcolini, haute chocolaterie. So far, I've opened the box, admired the jewel-like contents, read the descriptions, and taken a photo.  They certainly look the business and I like the sound of the 'Cabosse Grand Cru', top left in the picture, "Pure ganache made from cocoa beans from Peru, Venezuela and Cuba."  Mmmm............ Let's hope they taste good too.

The picture shows my gift-box selection of Pierre Marcolini chocolates, descriptions as follows (a map and dictionary might come in handy!):-

Top row, from the left: 'Cabosse Grand Cru' - pure ganache made from cocoa beans from Peru, Venezuela and Cuba; 'Pierre Marcolini Grand Cru' - pure ganache, a marriage of the very best chocolate from Venezuela, Ghana, Peru, flavoured with fresh vanilla; 'Thé Earl Grey' - pure ganache, infused with Earl Grey tea; 'Violette' - soft violet ganache with bursts of raspberry; 'Gingembre' - encounter between a bitter ganache and fresh ginger; 'Praline Citron' - almond praline sharpened up with a hint of lemon juice and zest of lemon; 'Câlin Lait' - almond praline, Quimper flaky wafer and caramel blended with cream and vanilla.

Bottom row, from the left: 'Brésil Grand Cru' - pure ganache made from cocoa beans from the Bahia region; 'Équateur Grand Cru' - pure ganache made from cocoa beans from the Los Rios region; 'Pavé De Tours' - crunchy marriage of hazelnut and almond praline, and Quimper flaky wafer; 'Violette' - soft violet ganache with bursts of raspberry; 'Mangue' - milk chocolate cream combined with a Brazilian mango jam; 'Palet Or Lait' - smooth milk chocolate ganache combined with a caramel coulis, all intensely vanilla-flavoured; 'Cœur Framboise' - fresh raspberry ganache with a lemon zest twist.

Click on the link below to visit the Pierre Marcolini website.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

My November 2013 In Pictures.

Days and weeks can pass, and I have nothing to write, nothing to share, but even when I'm silent I'm still working with my camera, recording a mood, capturing a moment.  So rather than keep the photos to myself, this is an introduction to the first of my monthly picture posts.

To see My November 2013 In Pictures, click on the link below:-

The picture above shows the autumn colours of the Japanese Maple in my garden in Hythe, Hampshire, at 09:18 on Sunday 10th November 2013. Commonly named the Coral-Bark Maple and also know as Acer Palmatum Senkaki, or Sango Kaku.  Click on the link below to find out more.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Wet Walnuts.

The first of the new crop of walnuts arrived at our local market at the end of last month and I bought a bagful.  I do like a wet walnut; they're only available for a few weeks in autumn, so I always buy a few when I see them.  If you've never eaten a wet walnut, you're in for a treat; they look like regular walnuts, the outside shell is hard and dry, but the nut inside is fresh and yielding (wet), with a delicate just picked flavour, milky and sweet.  Mmmm....

The pictures show a handful of wet walnuts, fresh from the local market, photographed on Tuesday 29th October 2013 and eaten shortly afterwards!

Click on the link below to read about Walnuts.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Go! Rhinos.

On my way to the Hythe ferry in Town Quay, Southampton, sometime in mid-July, I saw a rhino named Rika.  It turned out to be one of 36 rhino sculptures, individually decorated works of art, on display throughout the city to celebrate the rhino and mark the 40th anniversary of Marwell Wildlife, a Hampshire zoo.

Since that day in July, I've visited the Go! Rhinos website, studied the free trail map, walked the rhino trail, walked the trail again, seen most of the rhino sculptures and photographed all that I've seen.  They were on display for 10 weeks from July to the end of September and, as with all art, some I liked, some I didn't, but I enjoyed looking at them, searching them out, taking photos, map reading and walking.  It was a lovely event and a great way to explore Southampton.

The picture shows Rika the rhino, by Peer 1 Hosting, on display at Town Quay, Southampton, Hampshire at 14:23 on Saturday 14th September 2013.

Click on the links below to see more of my rhino sculpture photos.
Click on the links below to visit the Go! Rhinos website and to read about Rika the rhino artists.

The rhinos will be on display at Marwell Zoo from 10th to 14th October 2013 for one last time before they are sold at a charity auction.  Click on the link below to visit the Marwell Zoo website.

NB:  I've just discovered that Go! Rhinos is a sister event to four other 'Wild In Art' 2013 projects - Stand Tall for Giraffes in Colchester; GoGoGorillas! in Norwich; Gromit Unleashed in Bristol; and The Great Gorillas Project in Paignton.  Click on the link below to take a look.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Dame Janet Baker.

I can't let August slip by without saluting the birthday of my all-time favourite mezzo-soprano, the magnificent Janet Baker, born on 21st August 1933.  Belated Happy Birthday Dame Janet, your voice is sublime, it thrills me to the core and envelops me, body and soul.

To hear Dame Janet Baker singing the aria 'Dopo Notte' from Handel's Ariodante, with the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Raymond Leppard (my favourite recording and one from my own collection), click on the link below.

To read more about Dame Janet Baker, click on the link below.

To read my previous blog 'Mezzo-Sopranos: Dame Janet Baker', click on the link below.

Shoe Confessions.

I don't know why my new shoes are faux snakeskin.  I can't quite believe that I bought them, but as soon as I tried them on some alchemy occurred and I had to have them.  They were a perfect fit, physically and metaphorically.  I've had them for over a month now and must have worn them half a dozen times, which is unusual (see My New Shoes blog, link below).  I like the idea of them, I like the look of them, they're immensely comfortable and I love wearing them.  Somehow they make me happy.

The picture shows my new faux snakeskin shoes 'Travo', bought from my favourite shoe shop, Tracey Neuls, Marylebone Lane, London, and photographed in a Japanese-style rock garden setting on my balcony in Hythe, Hampshire at 10:48 on Friday 19th July 2013.

To visit the Tracey Neuls website, click on the link below:-

To read 'My New Shoes' blog, click on the link below:-

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Black Swan.

A black swan!  That's what I saw when I looked out of my window.  There it was, sitting on the water in front of the promenade.  I grabbed my binoculars to get a better look and, yes, it was a black swan.  It wasn't a goose, or a big duck, it was definitely a swan. There were four white swans close by and this one looked the same, only black, with a distinctive red bill. I snatched a few photos, but I was too far away to get a detailed shot, so I decided to make a run for it and belted over to the prom, clutching my camera and hoping it wouldn't take flight before I could get there.

Five minutes later I was standing on the prom, breathless and beaming.  The black swan was still there, fishing for weed in the shallows, and I watched it and photographed it for a good twenty minutes before it ambled off and set sail for deeper water.  It swam about in the bay all morning before it took flight, revealing the most wonderful white flight feathers.  My goodness it was beautiful.  I'd never seen a black swan, and to be so close, to watch it, to photograph it, to spend the morning with it, to see it take flight.... well, it was astonishing, and certainly made my day.

My online research tells me that black swans are native to Australia, they can be seen in New Zealand and there is a well-known colony in Dawlish, Devon, the south west of England. There seems to be differing views as to when they were first introduced to Dawlish and by whom, but a black swan has been the towns emblem for more than forty years, so it's been a while. Who knows why a black swan stopped off in Hythe, Hampshire for a few hours on a bank holiday Monday morning..... I'm just very glad it did.

The picture shows the black swan on Southampton Water, at Hythe, Hampshire on Monday 26th August 2013 at 11:13.

Click on the link below to see more photos of the black swan at Hythe, Hampshire:-

To read more about black swans, click on the link below:-

To read about the Dawlish black swans, click on the links below:-

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Birds.

I see lots of water birds come and go, some stay to feed, some just fly over, some are solitary, some come in pairs and some in flocks, there are waders and divers, large and small, some are frequent visitors, some are not, I don't know where they come from and I don't know where there go to, but I'm always happy to see them.  This brings me to the Cormorant; I believed them to be a rarity in these parts, as I'd only seen one or two, and then one day I walked round the corner, to the rear of my house, and there they were, twenty or thirty, lined up on the railings of a boatyard pier on Southampton Water!

I don't see many pigeons, but there are a few, they clatter about in the trees and occasionally perch on my pergola, but generally they keep their distance, so it was surprising to find a pigeon egg nestling in a large pot of bamboo on my balcony.  I hadn't heard anything, I hadn't seen anything, but there it was, early one morning, a single pigeon egg, and it certainly hadn't been there the night before.  The curious thing is that there were no pigeons to be seen, before or since, just a solitary abandoned egg.  Birds are very mysterious....

The picture at the top shows a Cormorant drying its wings and perched on an old pier stump (to the front of my house) on Southampton Water, at Hythe, Hampshire on Tuesday 25th June 2013 at 15:38.

The picture at the bottom shows the pigeon egg (41x29mm) in the pot of bamboo on my balcony in Hythe, Hampshire at 08:44 on Sunday 26th May 2013.

To read about Cormorants, click on the link below:-

To read about Woodpigeons, click on the link below:-

Monday, 1 July 2013

Duck Days.

During my contemplative days staring out of the windows (see my previous blog Late Tulips dated Sunday 30th June 2013), I spotted a couple of different varieties of duck.  A pair of handsome Shelducks visited one early morning at the end of May, fed for a while, flew off and haven't been seen since.  A lone Mallard arrived in early June, patrolled the area and seemed for all the world as though he were searching for his mate; he swam back and forth, round and about, up and down, stood on the sea wall for an age, looking this way and that, but to no avail, and off he went.  A few days later he returned, this time with his mate - hoorah!  He's been back regularly since then, sometimes alone, sometimes with his mate, he doesn't stay for long, but it's always good to see him.

The picture at the top shows the Mallard on the sea wall, overlooking Southampton Water, at Hythe, Hampshire, on Monday 3rd June 2013 at 09:22.

The picture at the bottom shows the pair of Shelducks on Hythe foreshore, Southampton Water, Hampshire, at 07:47 on Sunday 26th May 2013.

To read about Mallards, click on the link below:-

To read about Shelducks, click on the link below:-

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Late Tulips.

I haven't said much in the last couple of months (see my previous blog Last Valentine dated Sunday 23rd June 2013), but I've certainly done lots of standing and staring - into space and out of the windows.  I can't say that the quiet contemplation resulted in any flashes of inspiration or fundamental insights, but I did have my camera to hand and photographed whatever was happening outside, so the only thing I can say with any certainty is that life goes on.....

I won't overwhelm you with endless pictures of cruise ships, warships, spectacular sunsets or dramatic stormy skies (and there were lots of them!), but I will show you the tulips.  Planted last September in pots on my balcony, they emerged in March this year and flowered magnificently during April and May; two varieties, Double Early "Foxtrot" in pink and Lily Flowering "Sapporo" in creamy white.

The picture above shows the tulips on my balcony in Hythe, Hampshire at 14:49 on Thursday 16th May 2013.

The picture below shows a close-up of the Double Early Tulip "Foxtrot" on my balcony in Hythe, Hampshire, three days earlier, on Monday 13th May 2013 at 14:31.

To see more photos of the tulips on my balcony, click on the link below:-

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Last Valentine.

It's been two months since my father died and I'm lost for words.  I want to say something, I want to say something about my Dad, and I think I can do no better than to share the card I made, of a card he made.  The inscription inside is an excerpt from my family memories, a personal obituary, read out at his funeral, and explains the history of the Last Valentine.

The picture at the top shows the front of the card I made, featuring a photo of the Last Valentine from my Dad to my Mum, the pictures below show the inside inscription and the back of the card.

NB: My father had been ill for almost a year with a skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma of the nasal passages - a particularly aggressive and disfiguring cancer).  Surgery took his nose and radiotherapy took most of the sight from his right eye, damaged his left eye, his mouth, his tongue and his hearing, but did nothing to stop the cancer, and the tumours continued to grow.  It was horrible and awful, but he never complained and his first thought was always for others.  He died peacefully in a Leicestershire hospice (LOROS) on 24th April 2013.  He was a very nice man and I miss him.  Arthur Anthony Vale (Tony Vale) 22.07.22 to 24.04.13. RIP

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Sun Also Rises.

The sunrise this morning; the day my father died.  Arthur Anthony Vale (Tony Vale), 22.07.22 to 24.04.13.  Love you, Dad.  RIP.

The picture shows the sunrise at 06:08 on Wednesday 24th April 2013, looking east across Southampton Water, Hampshire.

Saturday, 30 March 2013


A fabulous sunset yesterday, a full moon last Wednesday, British Summer Time begins tomorrow, a cruise ship in port and a bottle of champagne on ice - in lieu of an Easter egg.  I'm not a big fan of chocolate, but I do like a glass of something lovely, and champagne fits the bill perfectly.  I'll drink mine straight, with a plump frozen raspberry dropped in at the last moment; it makes the champagne fizz and gives it a lovely pink colour.  Mmmm. Happy Easter.

The picture shows the Good Friday sky an hour before sunset yesterday.  To see a few more photos of the sunset over Hythe, Hampshire on Friday 29th March 2013, click on the link below:-

To see the current moon phase, click on the link below:-

To visit the webcam for the P&O cruise ship Oceana, click on the link below:-

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Spring Equinox.

A beautiful sun glowing through a hazy, cloudy sky, late this afternoon, just before sunset on the day of the Spring Equinox.  I wasn't sure I'd get a good photo, shooting into the sun, but pointed my camera in the general direction and hoped for the best.  I was nicely surprised when I saw the results.  I also took a shot of the sunlight on the water; a golden, rippling reflection that actually looked more like moonlight - must have been the haze that caused it - wonderfully romantic and mysterious.

The picture shows the pre-sunset sky, looking west over Hythe, Hampshire, at 17:13 on Wednesday 20th March 2013 - the day of the Spring Equinox.

To see a closer shot of the pre-sunset sky, plus the rippling reflection of sunlight on Southampton Water, Hampshire, click on the link below:-

To read about the Spring Equinox, click on the link below:-

Monday, 18 March 2013

Words And Music.

Following on from my previous blog (Baroque Spring), describing the feelings that sweep over me when I'm listening to music; this morning I settled down with a good book and came across these lines:-

"As the grand tones resounded through the church, they seemed, to Tom, to find an echo in the depth of every ancient tomb, no less than in the deep mystery of his own heart.  Great thoughts and hopes came crowding on his mind as the rich music rolled upon the air and yet among them - something more grave and solemn in their purpose, but the same - were all the images of that day, down to its very lightest recollection of childhood.  The feeling that the sounds awakened, in the moment of their existence, seemed to include his whole life and being...."  From Martin Chuzzlewit.

Damn you Charles Dickens, I wish I'd said that!

The picture shows the cover detail from one of the serial editions of The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit (1843) by Charles Dickens.

Click on the link below to read about Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens (1812-1870).

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Baroque Spring.

I'm certainly enjoying the baroque music on BBC Radio 3 this month (Baroque Spring 1st March to 1st April 2013).  It suits me down to the ground and I've been uplifted, diverted, consoled and delighted in turns.

Henry Purcell has been one of the Composers of the Week and the opening chords of Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary stopped me in my tracks; I've heard it many times, but it never fails to transfix me. It's a wonderfully heartfelt piece of music that seems to envelop me with warmth and understanding.  It speaks to my soul.

The picture shows the cover detail from my treasured and much played CD.

To listen to the opening march from Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary (1662-1694), composed by Henry Purcell, click on the link below

To read about Henry Purcell (1659-1695), click on the link below.

To read about BBC Radio 3 Baroque Spring, click on the link below.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


I do like a nice bunch of flowers and these beautiful, pink-kissed, tulips are a delight.  Overall I prefer a scented flower, but at this time of year I find it hard to resist the charm of an elegant tulip;  I love the arching shapes, the broad green leaves and the thrill of watching the petals unfold to reveal their true colour.

Red tulips are my absolute favourite, but you can't have everything....... and if I mention red tulips I'll be reminded of the Sylvia Plath poem ("Tulips" 1961); a fine and poignant poem, but not at all the mood I want to evoke with my picture.

Click on the link below to read about tulips.

To hear Sylvia Plath reading her poem "Tulips", click on the link below.

To read about the Sylvia Plath poem "Tulips", click on the link below.

Friday, 8 March 2013

International Women's Day.

Today I salute the life and work of French film-maker Agnes Varda.  I love her films, her honesty and her gentle energy.  A remarkable woman.

The picture shows a still of Agnes Varda from the film The Beaches of Agnes.

Click on the link below to read about Agnes Varda.

To see Agnes Varda talking about her 2008 autobiographical documentary film, The Beaches of Agnes, click on the link below:-

To see my Agnes Varda film blog, click on the link below:-

Friday, 15 February 2013

Vissi d'arte (I Lived for Art).

I was sobbing into my breakfast porridge this morning listening to Maria Callas singing Vissi d'arte from Puccini's Tosca.  Thank you Petroc Trelawny and BBC Radio 3!

It was so wonderful, so heart-rending, I was inspired to dig out my old CD of the whole three act opera, and this evening I'll listen to the entire production - a glass of something lovely in one hand, the libretto in the other, and a box of tissues at the ready.  What joy.

The aria is from act II of the opera and the opening lines are "I lived for art, I lived for love, I never harmed a living soul!" ("Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore, non feci mai male ad anima viva!").  Is it me, or does opera just sound better in Italian?

Click on the link to see Maria Callas singing the soprano aria Vissi d'arte from the opera Tosca by Giacomo Puccini.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Love Film?

I love films and I love lists, charts and filing, and over the years I've managed to combine them into a passion and an art form, neatly side-stepping any nerdy connotations on the way and ending up with a comprehensive and good-looking film guide; several film guides, in fact.  At the touch of a button, I can find any film I've seen in the past six years - by title, by director, by cinematographer, by country, by year.... I could go on, but you get the picture!

The point is, I think it's time to share the love, so today I started a new tumblr blog to recommend some of the films I've enjoyed.  I'll post a favourite title once a week, once a day, once in a while, or whenever I'm inspired, and I'll be indulging my passions every step of the way.

Click on the link to take a look at my new film blog:-

Coincidentally, this is my 113th blog on 13.02.13!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Chinese New Year.

The rain is pouring down, there are high winds, gale warnings and forecasts of snow, but it's Sunday 10th February 2013, Chinese New Year, a new moon and my husband's birthday. Happy birthday Miles. Celebrations all round. What a Day!

No photos of rain-sodden landscapes, or wind-torn trees, but a picture of petals from a particularly heart-breaking bunch of roses I couldn't bear to part with.  They're not Chinese New Year red, but fiery orange, and so beautiful they just have to be auspicious.

Click on the links below to read about the Chinese New Year, roses, and to see the current moon phase:-

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Morning Glory.

I've seen some blisteringly beautiful mornings this week; red skies, high clouds, storm clouds rolling in from the west, icy winds blowing in from the north, rattling the windows and whistling in through the trickle vents.  I've loved it all, but the morning moon has been sensational, a slender crescent in its last quarter, high in the sky to the south, and that's what had me reaching for my camera.

The picture at the top shows sunrise in Hythe, Hampshire, looking west at 07:48 on Wednesday 6th February 2013.

The picture below shows the crescent moon at sunrise in Hythe, Hampshire, looking south at 07:45 on Wednesday 6th February 2013.

To see the current moon phase, click on the link below:-

To see three pictures of my view looking to the south, to the east and to the west, click on the link below:-

Friday, 1 February 2013


The first day of February, the first daffodils.... the first signs of Spring? Somehow it seems too soon, but it doesn't seem to be worrying these lovely little Tete-a-Tete daffs happily flowering in my garden.  Let's hope they can withstand the torrential rain forecast for the next few days!

The picture shows the first daffodils flowering in my garden in Hythe, Hampshire, at 16:15 on Friday 1st February 2013.

Click on the link below to read about Tete-a-Tete daffodils:-

Monday, 28 January 2013


My birthday today and a juicy morning to start the proceedings: clear sky, full moon, slight wind from the west, rising sun, turning tide, cold & damp. A perfect day for a run and a fine day for a birthday.

The picture shows the morning moon over the trees in Hythe, Hampshire, at 07:22 on Monday 28th January 2013.

Click on the link below to see the current phase of the moon:-

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Bells.

Out for an early morning run, enjoying the cold air and the sunshine, I suddenly remembered the bells.

I love the sound of church bells and around this time last year, and in search of a new project, I decided to look into bell ringing.  My maternal grandfather, Bertie Godwin (1901-1968), worked as a bell hanger, travelling the length and breadth of the country to hang some of the finest bells in England - a career cut short by the Second World War.  I had a romantic idea that by becoming a bell ringer I'd discover an innate connection, a latent talent.  I started the project in earnest.  I listened more keenly to Bells On Sunday, I made a chart, I did lots of online research, I looked at pictures of bells, I questioned my mother, I went along to local churches and collected bell ringing contacts.  And that's where it ended.  I think it was the empty churches, the abandoned graveyards, the desolation, the echoes of the past. They left me cold and downhearted.  I wanted to be uplifted, but I felt flattened.  I wanted a passion, but it was a trial.  It wasn't for me.  It wasn't a good fit.  Maybe it wasn't the right time, or maybe it just wasn't meant to be.  Either way, I did the right thing, abandoned the project and felt instantly happier.  I still love the sound of church bells, I still tune in to Bells On Sunday, and I still think of my grandfather.

I don't know why I remembered the bells - that's what happens on a morning run, thoughts come and go, memories, ideas, flashes of inspiration.  Or maybe I was thinking "new year, new project".  This year it's all about the piano!  But that's another story....

The picture shows The Bargate curfew & alarm bell, Southampton, Hampshire.  Not a church bell, but a very ancient bell dating back to 1605, photographed on a beautifully sunny afternoon last November, and very possibly made by John Taylor & Co, the largest bell foundry in the world, established in the 14th century, one of only two in the UK and still operational today.

Click on the link below to take a look at John Taylor & Co, The Bellfoundry, Freehold Street, Loughborough, Leicestershire.  My grandfather, Bertie Godwin, lived in a house on Freehold Street in Loughborough and worked as a bell hanger at John Taylor & Co!

Click on the link below to read about The Bargate, Southampton, Hampshire:-

Click on the link below to visit BBC Radio 4 and listen to Bells On Sunday:-

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


As a new day dawned, I woke to a spectacular sunrise and the realisation that Facebook is now a reality for me!  I signed up last night in the spirit of adventure and bonhomie... and in my continuing quest to capture the moment (see my blog dated Monday 7th January 2013).  With that in mind, I grabbed my camera, threw open the windows and took a few shots of the beautiful sky.

The picture shows the sunrise over the rooftops and Southampton Water, Hampshire, at 07:54 on Wednesday 16th January 2013. A new day indeed!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

What A Difference A Day Makes.

Blue skies today, sunshine and a bitterly cold easterly whipping across the water, a high tide, people out and about, well wrapped up, fishermen fishing along the shoreline; a complete contrast to yesterday.  There was no-one to be seen yesterday.  It rained yesterday.  It rained so much I never thought it would stop.  From early morning until late afternoon storm clouds rolled in from the south-east unleashing torrents of driving rain.  It was relentless. And to start the proceedings, just before daybreak a bolt of lightning and a colossal thunderclap shook the house and blew out the lights on the top floor!  What a day.  A beautiful day, but a very different day.

The picture shows storm clouds over Hythe and Southampton Water, Hampshire, at 08:10 on Saturday 12th January 2013.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Time And Tide.

I don't know if it's the time of year, the world, the weather, my mood, ageing and ailing parents, or all of these things, but my own mortality has lately come into sharp focus.  I have the keenest sense that I need to make every second count, that time is running out.  I want to capture the moment, hold it in my hand, smell it, feel it, because I know it's important.... it's vital. I want to get on, do this, finish that, start a new project, do something, do anything - make a difference. These thoughts are loud and persistent, they're not with me all the time, but when they are, instead of feeling the desire to be up and doing, I feel a rising sense of panic and confusion that quickly dissolves into despair and overwhelming sadness.

How can this be?  I know that all things must pass, tomorrow's another day, the tide will turn, but what's to be done in the meantime, how do I break the spell?  Well, I started the day with an early morning run - that helped, it always helps.  I'll probably make a list, lists are always a good idea.  I could even make a chart, I love charts.  And, of course, I'm sharing my thoughts in this blog, sifting, sorting, writing it down, and wondering if anyone else feels the same way.

The picture shows the cruise ship MS Queen Elizabeth leaving the port of Southampton, Hampshire, in a blaze of fireworks to mark the beginning of her World Cruise on Sunday 6th January 2013 at 17:38.  Evidence that I have been able to capture the moment, as recently as yesterday!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

1st January 2013.

A starry night, clear skies and a beautiful morning moon to greet the first day of 2013. High time for a run round the marina. Happy New Year everyone.

The picture shows the moon over Hythe, Hampshire, looking west, at 07:48 on Tuesday 1st January 2013.

Click on the link below to see the current moon phase:-

To see what happened an hour later, click on the link below:-