A Dismal Autumn Day in Charlton Down

Everyone likes crisp autumn days with sun shining and vibrant colours of changing leaves and ripening fruits everywhere. Often it is just not like that. Damp and muggy. Dull overcast skies. Dead, diseased, and dying reminders of the passage of time. It can be difficult to find something to brighten the scene, lighten the mood, a reason to be cheerful. It was like that yesterday as I walked around the village with my camera. This is what I recorded before completing my circuit, feeling better for the exercise and fresh air regardless of the dull and dismal day.

Worked Stone – Veltha by Emily Young

I am overwhelmed by the beauty of the Emily Young sculptures that are periodically exhibited in London locations for all to appreciate. Not only is the working of the stone exquisite but the selection of the stone for the work itself is amazing. As an amateur geologist I am fascinated by the range of colours, patterns, and textures naturally occurring in rocks, and to see them used to such great advantage is a privilege. I discovered an exhibition of Emily Young’s sculpted heads in the Southwood Garden attached to St James’ Church near Piccadilly on my last visit to London. They will be on display until January 2018. These pictures show aspects of a sculpted head called Veltha which is created in brecciated onyx, and it is displayed by courtesy of Bowman Sculpture.

Shallow Water Tidal Ripple Patterns 8-10

Natural patterns in rippled water

Shallow Water Tidal Ripple Patterns 8-10 Photographs of natural patterns created by reflected sunlight on the crests of minor ripples in clear shallow seawater lapping with the incoming tide around the island of Burry Holms at the tip of the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. Here shown in negative format to highlight the intricacies of the natural designs.

Natural patterns in rippled water

Natural patterns in rippled water

The Beach Below The Spittles 2

Pieces of shale on the beach with holes made by piddocks

After the beach boulders and scattered rusty metal debris, there is sequence of flat rock platforms exposed by the retreating water. They are riddled with holes made by the boring bivalves known as piddocks, some burrows just have empty shells in them but others are still occupied by the living molluscs that squirt water a foot or more into the air at frequent intervals. A velvet swimming crab mooches around the edges of the platforms, and sand tube and mud tube dwelling worms abound on all the surfaces.

The Beach Below The Spittles

Rusty painted metal junk on the seashore with rocks

I discovered an interesting stretch of shoreline when I visited Lyme Regis yesterday. The cliff location is known as The Spittles and it is situated immediately east of the new sea wall. The tide was going out but not as far as in March 2010. Enough to disclose an array of boulders with scattered fossils, broken coloured glass, and rusting metal. The man-made junk resulted from a major landslide in 2008 when the contents of an old town rubbish tip (which had been in existence from 1920 to 1973) cascaded shore-wards with the rocks and mud. The junk continues to wear out of the cliff face to the present time.

There are some interesting items to be found. The rusting metal components, often with remnants of paint, provide intriguing contrasts with the natural environment in which they are lodged. There is a striking similarity between the metal colours and textures and those of the dead and dying autumnal colours of seaweed. As the water receded, it left intricate patterns in the sand around the rocks and even in fine sediments of smoother rock surfaces.

Low Tide at Lyme Regis

View from Lyme Regis over low-tide beds of seaweed towards the Cobb

The tide went out a long way on 10th March 2012. A very long way. For the first time ever I was able to see the glory of the hitherto hidden acres of golden-fronded kelps, brown fucoids, and red seaweeds carpeting the rocks at Lyme Regis. Usually when I visit the water is high on the shingle beach but on this occasion I could follow the water as it went out over the sand and rocks to get an entirely new perspective by looking up the shore, to the Cobb, the town, the fossiliferous cliffs of Black Ven and Charmouth to the east, including sight of Golden Cap. I didn’t know it at the time but this was the last time I was going to see the old breakwaters at Church Cliff.

Beds of seaweed exposed at low tide in Lyme Regis

Low-tide expanse of sandy shore at Lyme Regis in Dorset, UK.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweeds at Lyme Regis in Dorset, UK, along the Jurassic coast.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweed beds at low tide in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

Seaweed-filled rock pools at Lyme Regis in Dorset, UK.

The Old Sea Wall at Church Cliff February 2011

Concrete sea wall and steps for climbing over the breakwaters

Concrete sea wall and breakwater at high tideThis was almost the last time that I saw the old sea wall and breakwaters at Church Cliff in Lyme Regis. As part of a scheme to improve the sea defences in Lyme Regis, the breakwaters were demolished a few years later and the old sea wall,  as it was seen in these images, disappeared from sight and was replaced by a stronger structure more fit for purpose and providing additional amenity value. I was surprised how different these shots were from the earlier ones from 2010. The tide was in and covering seaweed and cobbles, the light was different and had a big impact on the colours observed, and it was a different camera and that had an effect too.