humans, estuary, sky
perfect blue fusion
a liminal waterscape endlessly dynamic
with the twice daily ebb and flow of the tide
where sometimes a lost soul will wash up
or a golden coin from five centuries past
a giant seed pod carried by the Gulf Stream
from five thousand miles away
the bones of a fish sucked white by an albatross
or thrashed by the brutal oceans swell
human detritus of sanitary wear
once flushed through some distant drain
tangled in plastic that surrounded well water
bottled in Delhi sold to an unsuspecting
ill prepared golden triangle tourist
tide so low that the other side may be walked to
if only you’re aware of bottomless mud sink
if not cursed to be the next being
nibbled by crabs, inhabited by barnacles
and gowned in kelp to wash up like a lost soul
Sometimes you just know there is a reason for a photo don’t you? Three weeks ago I caught the train to Totnes instead of driving. On a sunny day there can be few train journeys to match it anywhere, the track follows the river Exe to the estuary, then passes through Dawlish and Teignmouth and heads up the river Teign. As always the train windows were grimy and the sun that made it so lovely caused glare and reflections but you’ll get the idea.
This is a small area of Gods Wonderful Railway, at Dawlish Warren, engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a masterpiece of construction in the 19th century. These photos were all taken at 10.04 am on May 18th, a fleeting moment. By 10.05 the scene had changed completely and will never exactly the same again.
It was very windy today at the sea, and with bright sun that was so low photography was difficult. The tide was out on the estuary and with hardly anyone around the dogs ran their little legs off. Over on the main beach there were loads of people and it was possible to walk around Orcombe Point. Water was streaming down the cliff and there were fresh landslides caused by the torrential rain we’ve had for weeks now.
It was a lovely walk , great for blowing away the cobwebs and burning some of the thousands of excess Christmas calories!
My friend and I have a habit of popping to the coast straight from work when we can and as we may not have many sunny evenings left this year we made the most of it yesterday. If you have followed my blog for a while, you may remember a post about the Exe Estuary , My city, Exeter, lies 8 miles from the coast, with Exmouth to the east and Dawlish to the west. Traditionally if you grew up in Exeter on the west of the Exe your beach was Dawlish and east of the Exe your beach was Exmouth. This goes back to the days when few families had cars and everyone piled on to the trains. I’m an Exmouth girl!
It’s difficult to explain the magic of Exmouth and I often wonder how tourists see it. It’s possibly a little jaded and worn around the edges, a bucket and spade beach with lots of ice cream stalls and chippies. There is a funny little paddle boat pond and a cafe made from an old railway carriage that were there when I was tiny and haven’t changed a bit. Magical it is though and last night it was fish and chips and ice cream, if it isn’t broke then don’t fix it.
There’s always something to see down there and here are some pics from last night.
Two of these canoes went out quite a distance last night.
Paddle boarding has become really popular, I don’t know how this water walking lady steered her way through the little kayaks.
A hopeful fisherman on the breakwater. To the left the tide is closing in on the sandstone rock pools.
The Tudor Rose is a colourful, bucket of a a boat that sails along the Jurassic coast and up the river as far as the Turf Lock where the canal ends. It offers bird watching cruises and parties with live music all year round.
The Tudor Rose is heading back and we had walked off our fish and chips. Time to head to the Grove, a seafront pub with a lovely view from the balcony and a Pimms! I hope you like what I’ve shown you of Exmouth, it’s very dear to my heart.
An Australian blogging friend Lynne, over at http://2011onthebench.wordpress.com/ spotted that I am from Devon, in the south west of England and asked if I knew Kenton. Well, it’s one of those places that you drive through to reach the coast and is just six miles from home. Can you believe that apart from one visit to a pub I have never stopped to look around the village? So I promised Lynne I would go and take some photos, because it’s where her ancestors came from.
On the look out for the oldest parts of the village we saw lots of sweet cottages some probably two hundred years old. The church was very special. We had a look for any Sanders graves in the churchyard but couldn’t find any. One of the church ladies working on the flowers thought there could be a Mrs Sanders ‘Up near Castle Gate’ but we found a post lady and she didn’t know of her. There has been a place of worship on this spot for 1500 years and the current building is 650 years old. There are some views from inside including the rood screen, a lucky survivor of Cromwell’s armies. Also look out for St Michael with satan under his feet and angels on each side.
There are some photos taken around the village and on the Earl of Devon’s Powderham estate. The houses in the background of the deer photo are right across the Exe estuary, at Exmouth. My friend and I had a really good time wandering around this morning, it would have been even better with some more sun, but never mind. Thank you Lynne and the Sanders family for giving me reason for the trip!
I’ve decided it’s time to post more about where I live, a really beautiful part of the world, so these are a few photos of the river that runs through my home town. It begins north of here in the depths of the countryside but I’m beginning just down the road and ending ten miles away at the estuary.
So first of all, Exeter’s historic quay
Trew’s weir, a mile down river
Of course there are always mute swans
Kriz’s photo here http://kardzbykris.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/leap-year-additional-february-day-21-2/ inspired this post, because it reminded me of one of my favourite paths, along the mill leat that begins just after the weir.
The leat rejoins the river
The old mill
Looking up river, with the canal on the left .
Another lovely path
The canal, one of the oldest in the country, begins at the quay and runs about five miles to the Turf lock and parallel to the river. This is about half way down.
Topsham quay, the river’s half way point between Exeter and Exmouth
Topsham, looking down river.
Lympstone, eight miles down and the river is quite wide
and finally, the estuary looking west towards Dawlish Warren.
I hope you enjoyed your brief meander down stream!
A mini adventure today! On the beach at Dawlish Warren where the waves were fierce, the sun bright, and the sharp wind made it barely tolerable. We had scrambled past the fifth groin when we saw some green things, one flapping on the next groin and another being taken in and out by the waves.
It soon became clear that it was kite related and I hurried to get a closer look and found that someone was trying to untangle it, and getting wet in the process. He managed to get it onto the sand but it was being blown in all directions and wanted to take him along for the ride.
The two pieces were tangled together with a cobweb of line that wanted to weave around our legs so I helped to drag it up the beach. It fought back. The section I tried to control was about eighteen feet wide and I could distinguish it from a power kite by the air-filled sausage that wanted to render me horizontal.
Rescue man, being a lot stronger than me managed to locate the pully-outy thing to let the air out on his, which was bigger, then we restrained mine and I strangled it with its own lines. He hadn’t really worked out what sort of beast he’d subdued so I pointed a few miles across the estuary where a few kite surfers were still on the water out of Cockle Sands. We discussed what to do with it, he mentioned the words ‘salvage’ and ‘ebay’, I think he was joking, because he turned it round quickly when I said that I knew a tiny bit about the kiting community, because my daughter has power kites. I told him that I was fairly certain the owner could be found and hoped to God he was also in one piece.
Carrying our loads we headed back to the car park, deciding on the way that he would take it home for safekeeping. Because of his first reaction and knowing the kite’s value, part of me wanted to take it but he had got it out of the water so it didn’t feel right to take over. Instead I took his email address and said that I would do some detective work.
Back home I checked the internet forums, that I knew were out there, again because of my daughter, registered on a local site and posted a message to say it was found. Within an hour I got a reply from someone who knew the owner, a guy who had had to release his kit today while trying to help someone else who was in trouble. I’m really not surprised by that – it was very rough out there and the channel is known for its treacherous currents. Anyway the guy is okay and he will be reunited with his gear so all is well.