Saturday, 12 October 2019

A Trip to the Moon

Museum of the Moon had been at Derby Cathedral for the past month or so, but we left it till almost the last minute to visit.

In case you haven't heard of it, it's a huge art installation by Luke Jerram - a 7 metre diameter inflatable replica of the moon. Its surface is actually smooth but from a short distance, and certainly in photographs, the detail in the image gives the impression of a 3D surface. Also, you get to see the elusive far side which never faces Earth.

Maybe because we caught one of the last days and a lot of other folks had the same idea, maybe because the acoustics of the cathedral created echoes, and certainly because a sound check for Derby Folk Weekend was taking place at the time of our visit, there was a lot of noise which I found a bit off-putting.

I think it actually looks and feels stranger and more surreal in the photos than it did in the 'flesh'.

There are several 'Museums of the Moon' touring the world so it's quite likely to visit a place near you. I've seen it before at Timber Festival in 2018, when it was installed outside in a clearing between trees, and illuminated at night It's a very different experience to see it outside, and I think my preferred way.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Apple picking and letting go

The sale of my parents' house is edging closer, though sometimes it feels like only at a snail's pace. As  result, we're clearing out contents - of the the house, garage, sheds, and, last week, something from the garden.
I didn't expect to be able to go and pick apples there this year, but I'm delighted that I can.

I have several apple trees of my own but this one is a special tree for me - one of the first I grew from a pip -  and, despite everyone saying it would never fruit, it’s been in my parents’ garden for over 40 years, never been properly pruned yet still produces masses of fruit each year. There were a couple of other apple trees I grew at the same time, but one was removed when it grew too big (my parents could never grasp the idea of pruning) and the other was chewed through by my parents' dogs.

 The house will soon be sold, but the buyer seems like someone who'll appreciate a good, freely fruiting, apple tree, and maybe it will be there in another 40 years.
Meanwhile I'll save some pips from this year's apples and start again.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Wetness and wildlife (but no pics of the wildlife)

After a fun time by the coast over Saturday and Sunday, Monday saw us heading home, and the weather looked suitably depressed with light rain from early morning just getting worse as the day wore on.

We didn't want to jump in the car and just drive back. First we returned to Abereiddi, for one last look at the (not so) Blue Lagoon. This is a huge hole scooped out of the cliffs and now flooded; one of many remnants of slate quarrying in the area.

It's normally a sheltered spot, with calm blue waters (hence its name) but not this particular day; it was wild and forbidding.

There were a couple of folks out doing the coasteering thing, and looking like they were having fun despite the rough sea, and elsewhere in a more sheltered spot were seals - an adult and a couple of pups.

My husband claimed he saw another seal surfing on the waves on the main beach, but I'm not so sure.

Our route home took us north following the coast, with a brief stop at Newport Parrog, before heading to New Quay for lunch.

Fish and chips by the beach seemed like a good idea, but the rain started to fall again while we were eating. Somewhere out to sea was a fishing/crabbing boat and not particularly close to it but the same distance out were dolphins! Well, I assume they were dolphins as at that distance all we could see were dark shapes jumping out of the water.

I was determined to see at least a little of New Quay but by the time we'd walked to the end of the pier, the rain was heavier, so after a very brief look at the boats in the harbour (and an encounter with a seagull, the only wildlife I managed to photograph) we headed back to the car.

I've been in summer when New Quay's a busy bustling place, with the sheltered beach an excellent place to swim, but even the pretty painted houses looked drab in the rain.

 Heading up to Aberystwyth then inland towards home we pass the Forestry Commision's visitor centre at Bwlch Nant yr Arian. We always stop. Sometimes to just see the sea from the viewpoint. Sometimes to catch the regular red kite feeding. Previously we've seen dozens of kites, but not this day. The food was spread out for them, and a dozen or so came and circled the lake, but they didn't seem interested in eating. We sat and watched a live-screen in the cafe for a while, and a couple of kites investigated the food, but in comparison to other visits it was a disappointment. Not the best end to our weekend, but the other days had been good.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Saturday by the sea

Last weekend was spent by the seaside in Pembrokeshire. I've already talked about Sunday as Get Outside Day  but obviously when you're by the sea every day is a day for getting outside.

Saturday didn't start out too bad, weather wise - there's even some blue sky in the photos - so we headed to Solva, on the south coast of St Davids peninsula, for a walk around the village, calling in at the Window On Wales shop (because it's a holiday tradition), then walking to the sea.

Today Solva's a pretty tourist village, but the limekilns point to a past when the harbour was filled with more commercial craft than yachts.

Arrive in Solva at low tide and you might actually wonder where the sea is. There's sand, mud, and seaweed, and boats ready to float away on the tide, but no signs of the sea.

It's there - just hiding round the corner. As Solva's valley works its way to the sea it goes through a sharp almost right-angled bend!

And even then, small islands hide the entrance.

At low tide you can walk round to the next bay and back over the dividing ridge, but this day it would have required paddling

 - and I was the only one prepared to do that, so we headed back the sensible way.

Time to head for the North coast, and Abereiddi. Once the site of a slate quarry, today there's little here beyond a few ruins, some holiday cottages, and, probably its most famous feature, the Blue Lagoon which features in the Red Bull diving series, and is home to St Davids local sport of coasteering.

This is basically scrambling over sea-splashed rocks, and jumping off them into the sea. The sheer sides of the Blue Lagoon make it a relatively safe place for tombstoning, but I once heard coasteering described as 'everything your mother said you shouldn't do', and it's probably near the mark. Regardless, my daughter was off for an afternoon of it, as were this group of tiny figures on the rocks.

It's something I'd love to try but I doubt I have the energy to keep going for two hours, so I had a quieter afternoon - pottering about on the beach, walking along the coastal path, and walking round the ruins.

Lastly, because you can never visit too many beaches in one day, we headed west to Whitesands for a short walk along the sand before the rain came down.

To say 'it rained' isn't remotely strong enough. That evening a deluge fell, but at least it hadn't spoiled our day