Sunday, 27 December 2015

Heading towards the end of 2015

After all the patient waiting Christmas has come and gone for another year!

I hope everyone had a lovely time just like us. It was good to have the children home and we were all spoilt with some wonderful presents too, many with a sea theme! It has been a wet and windy Christmas here. The annual Boxing Day charity swim across the harbour in West Bay had to be cancelled because it was just too rough.

Waves heading towards Charmouth beach.

Over the Christmas period this blog celebrated it's fourth birthday. What was I thinking about starting a blog just before Christmas? I must have been well organised that year! I have made so many friends over the years from all around the world. I do appreciate your friendship and support, many of you over several years.

As we draw to the end of 2015 here are some reminders of images of the sea captured in the last year. The sea is such a large part of our lives now that we can see, smell and hear it every day!

We have also visited some wonderful gardens during the year and also filled our new garden with some of our favourite plants.....

Thank you to everyone who has visited me in 2015, I wish you all a happy and healthy 2016. We may not know what is around the next corner, but I will be concentrating on achieving my distant dreams!

Sarah x

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Is it beginning to feel a bit like Christmas

I think it is beginning to feel a bit like Christmas. My daughter and I have just returned from a few days away in Germany visiting the Christmas market and we are now full of the Christmas spirit! Does it almost feel like Christmas to you too?

Nine years ago while at secondary school my daughter did a weeks German exchange at this time of year and has always wanted to return there with me to enjoy the Christmas markets.Unfortunately it has taken a long time to realise this dream due to school, college, university and work commitments!

 I spent most of my childhood in Germany, but I don't remember many Christmas markets as a child, apart from one in the early 80's, which was the last year before we returned to the UK. Can any of my German or Dutch followers tell me if their popularity has really only spread from that time?

Our destination was Dortmund, which is not on the organised Christmas tourist trips. It was chosen as this is where my daughter had previously visited. They have the most enormous Christmas tree - it is 45 meters high and is made up of  1,700  individual Christmas trees and 13,000 lights. It was an amazing sight! The spicy smell of the food and the mulled wine and the twinkling lights added to the atmosphere.

 It was also nice to relive old memories and create new ones too. Germany will always hold a special place in my heart.

 On our way home we visited Dusseldorf too. It didn't take me long to be drawn to the river Rhine . My husband and I are looking forward to visiting Germany again next year and will be seeing more of this huge river on a cruise.

 This will the last chance I get to write a post before Christmas so I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very peaceful and happy Christmas with your family and friends.
 Sarah x

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Windy grey days

After finishing work for the weekend I went out to the shed to get the Christmas tree and the shed door was nearly blown off it's hinges with the strength of the wind! The greenhouse door blew open and one of the panes of glass slipped down. We were woken two night running as gusts of wind howled down the garden, shaking the windows. Part of the sea front looked as if it was covered in snow as particles of sea foam blew through the air. How has the weather been for you over the weekend ? It looks bad up in the north of England with storms and flooding.

Wind surfer off Exmouth beach

Yesterday we were attending a concert an hour's car journey away in Exmouth. Gusts of wind buffeted the car as we drove there, it was good to know we had treated ourselves to a night away and wouldn't have to make the return journey in the dark and the wind!

The concert by one of our favorite performers Show of Hands was as always superb, and we thought of those who 3 weeks ago in Paris had been enjoying a similar evening that ended in such tragic circumstances. We had a good night's sleep in a lovely hotel and just had to walk off the cooked English breakfast. The wind had fallen slightly during the night but the board and kite surfers were taking advantage of the conditions!

There were piles of sand that had blown on to the esplanade.

Exmouth is on the East Devon coast where the River Exe meets the sea. It is Devon's oldest holiday resort and has many lovely buildings built in the Georgian,Victorian and Edwardian era. It reminds me a little of  Weymouth (where we used to live) with the sandy beach and the Georgian buildings lining the front.

There are signs of Christmas- one of the trees in the large gardens of these houses was decorated for the season.


We took the coastal route home and stopped to admire the cottages in Otterton and buy a loaf of bread from the working mill and craft centre.


And take one last look at the sea before heading home.........

Ladram Bay

Thank you for lovely comments and welcome to my latest followers. Wishing you a happy and successful week!
Sarah x

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Contrasts of colours, textures and weather

On Friday morning we planned to go for a walk on the hills, but as we drove along the coast road the multiple colours of blue from the sea and the sky enticed us on to the beach instead.

Apart from a few dog walkers we had the beach all to ourselves, you can walk quite a distance without realising how far you have walked!

 Despite the colder temperatures there was someone who still wanted a paddle!

 The views of the sea here are such a contrast to Lucy's Post along the Chesil beach at the other end taken just two days later! 

Looking inland I love seeing the green fields, it's such a contrast against the shingle. On the top of the hill is the lookout hut I took you to here. 

Nestled in the valley beyond is the village of Shipton Gorge, where we walked last weekend, the ground was quite wet so we choose to walk around the lanes of the village of instead.

This lovely thatched cottage used to be the school house from 1862 - 1949. I am currently reading a book about memories of growing up in this village. It mentions the Christmas tree they used to have that was lit by candles. It's a shame this would never be allowed these days candles, children and thatch what a risk!!

 These cottages may look picturesque now, but in the 1940's there was  still no electricity or running water in these homes, unlike in the towns. It was a harder but a simpler life. I wonder what life will be like here in another 70 years. We took part in one of the climate change matches today down in Exmouth. The strong wind blowing the banners reminded us of how adverse weather is more frequent. It was heartening to see so many people all around the world attend climate change rallies today. Hopefully the Climate Conference in Paris will allow our grandchildren and their children to live in stable surroundings.

 Thank you for all your comments , I enjoyed reading about your signature dishes too.
Sarah x

NB I'm sorry I have lost some comments again apologies to Anne, Teresa,Sigrun and Cathy.
Cathy the orange thing on the beach was a ships buoy.

Monday, 23 November 2015

On the beach

This week there has once again been reports of palm oil being washed up on the beaches of Dorset and Hampshire. It is so frustrating that the ships that discard this oil at sea can't be identified and prosecuted. Dogs have eaten the lumps of oil (which looks like lard) causing them to become very ill. Birds have previously been discovered coated with oil and many have sadly died. Although the sightings of oil were in the east of the County, we have been more vigilant while walking on the beach.

In the winter months the  majority of boats apart from the working fishing boats are taken out of the water and moored on the harbour side. The wooden boats are always my favourites, and the one below I have been admiring all summer. It is good to see it at closer quarters. My father-in-law who was carpenter, worked on building wooden boats in Weymouth . When the company moved over to creating fibreglass ones, he hated working with the new material and left.

We are lucky in Dorset that the wooden boat-building craft is still alive, thanks to the Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis. They train students over a 38 week period and the end of the course is celebrated by launching the boats they have created.

There is no river boat hire during the winter either!

Fans of Broadchurch will recognise this beach hut from the first series - it has been announced this week that the hut will be knocked down and a similar one rebuilt further inland. It will be sad to see it go, but it is so frighteningly close to the edge of the cliff.

We had friends around for a meal this weekend and one of my easy signature dishes is pavlova. I usually make it using raspberries but this is the first time we tried it with pears and chocolate. It made a nice change and was more appropriate for this time of year. What are your easy signature dishes?

Wishing you a good week!
Sarah x

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Living by the sea

Would one of your dreams be to live by the sea?  I still pause on our doorstep and take in the distant sea views as I leave the house, or every time I hear the waves crashing on the shore  I appreciate how lucky I am! It was very interesting this week, therefore to be reminded that living by the sea was not such a popular choice in days gone by....

There was the fear of stormy seas, ship wrecks, invaders and pirates and fearful stories about the sea. Even within 10 miles of here the coast has in the distant past been invaded by Greeks and Vikings. Only those people making a living from the sea lived close to the sea shore.

This all changed in the 18th century when paintings showing the beauty of the coast were produced by artists such as J W Turner.  For many it was the first time that they had seen glimpses of the sea. Doctors started praising the health benefits of drinking sea water and sea bathing. Suddenly living and visiting the sea became fashionable. Many resorts including Weymouth began to appear along the coast and with the introduction of the railways in the 19th century and more leisure time people  had the opportunity to visit the sea. Nowhere in the UK is more than 70 miles (113km) from the sea.

 After the first and second World Wars the land along the coast began to be developed, and planning laws were tightened.

The National Trust concerned about  the damage to the natural environment  launched the Neptune Coastline campaign 50 years ago. The aim of it was to protect the coastline and allow us and future generations to enjoy the dramatic, beautiful and diverse landscape. They now own 775 miles of coastline.

The coastline of the British isles is 19,491 miles, (31,368 km) this is longer than the coastline of India! There are also over 1,000 islands in the UK, the majority of which are in Scottish waters and the majority of them are uninhabited.

Briport Literary Festival
Bridport Literary festival
Coastlines The story of our shore
We learnt all of these facts at Bridport literary festival, when we attended a talk by Patrick Barkham the natural history writer for the Guardian newspaper, who was talking about his latest book Coastlines The Story of Our Shore. It was a very entertaining talk and we didn't come away empty handed, although I will have to wait until after Christmas to enjoy reading it! Do you have a literary festival in your area too? The one in Bridport has been going now for 11 years and always invites many interesting authors.

Different branches of our family have lived by the sea since the 1700's and their lives reflect the changing story of the shore too, most of their stories are still to be told here. 

The weather has been mixed this week. This sunrise greeted me one morning as I put Tavi and Twinkle out into the garden. It was lovely too for a few minutes just to stand and watch and listen to the flocks of seagulls overhead, heading out to sea for their breakfast.

We were surprised on a walk around Abbotsbury sub-tropical gardens to discover still so much autumn colour. The mild weather and sheltered position seem to have delayed the inevitable.

It has been very blustery here too - it almost felt we were been pushed down the hill on our walk this afternoon, we took the more sheltered way home, rather than struggle against the wind!  The wind is howling outside the window as I write, how lucky we are to have the benefits of modern life to endure these conditions.

Wishing you a happy week ahead, thank you for all your lovely comments about Tavi, in the last post.

Sarah x


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