Doodling With Words

Pastoral Scene III
Pastoral Scene III

Hello everyone, just trying to get back and post here again. Sorry it’s been a bit sparse recently, life is like that sometimes. I have been writing, and taking pictures and learning more about the uses of Lightroom. I went back and reset it all, and have sorted out the catalogue.


So many changes from when I first picked up a camera, post production now is incredible and learning when to stop is getting to be a big thing for me, I love playing with the picture balances, I still though remember working in the darkroom at school watching a photo develop as the fluid washes over it. Now with the laptop on the table and the ability to reverse changes I wonder if the glamour has been taken away.

Some Writing, there is a new arts venue near us in Cheddar. Cafe Sketch I was there on Wednesday for the first poetry evening with a featured poet Melanie Branton reading some of her work. She’s only just started her blog so give her some time to get it set up. It was a good night and hopefully the first of many.


From ‘Kindling’

Inside the dead tree is dry wood,
ready wood waiting.
Patience and a spark.

From ‘History’

Voices outside the window,
late at night, in the clear air
after the rain.

Sounds in the dark fading away.

I will be trying to keep posting but will make no promises, I want to keep writing and taking pictures as a priority and must still get work done too. Hope you are all having a good summer, making hay and all that. Never worry though, seasons change and the world is relentless in that. It makes it interesting.

Sea Visits and Windswept Weekends.

Barricane Beach
Barricane Beach

We live by the sea, the tides, the prom, all the Victorian architecture that defines our town. Wide sands and views to the horizon and sunsets looking towards Wales and Brecon over the Severn Estuary. It may seem strange then to head away to Woolacombe to visit the sea. But the drawback for Weston is its position at the head of the Severn estuary, where the river drops sediment as it turns to the Atlantic. While we have a big open beach we also have mud flats and a massive tidal range, not so good for the swimming life.

This is where Woolacombe comes into its own. The sea, a surfers paradise on the coast of Devon. Didn’t stop it being bloody freezing, just above death by hypothermia, just the temperature my wife loves. We were the only people in the sea in bare flesh, I went in, stayed for long enough for my limbs to stop moving, then I left to stand in the sun, my wife stayed longer, she loved it.

Sea Views
Sea Views

The weather was good, the sun shone but the wind was vigorous, in sheltered spots it was almost Mediterranean. We enjoyed the time and had a pleasant drive back along the coast road. Names and places like Lynton and Lynmouth, Porlock, North of the Exmoor National Park and Dunkery Beacon. Drift past the Quantocks, past Coleridge’s stamping ground and home for tea. Very nice drive, I’d recommend it to anyone in the area.

The Sands
The Sands


What am I working on now, Integration and Conflagration.

Ideas and follow-ups, my idea for a topic so I should try to be creative.

All indications need to prove we are searching
for a peace that can only be protected by increased potential

harm, damage and multi-faceted surveillance to include
digital, physical, and inter-community.

2 Minutes Silence

Family histories linger and lines drawn
around people on a map do not close the circle.

People are fluids,
liquids flowing.
Mixing or not.

Have a swim soon, go out and walk in the woods, enjoy the long days and smell of summer.

Halos and Clouds

Sun Halo on Crook Peak
Sun Halo on Crook Peak

I went out on Crook Peak Saturday, I’d been late to meet with others at Cheddar. (Sorry Guys) It turned out OK though, a solitary striding walk helped clear my head, and seeing this halo around the sun on my way back to the car lifted my spirits.

I’ve got a few ideas lined up ready for posts, but as with everything, life and time gang up to change our plans. Trips abroad, visitors, building work, we all have these moments. Getting out into the open spaces always helps me and brings perspective to it all. Look to all that is good.

On the same day, I took this image of the view towards Cheddar, low clouds, wind, and clear air. The tapestry of fields running away across the levels. I come back to this place time after time and every trip up here is different, each outlook, the birds taking umbrage at my passing to close to hidden nests, the odd rabbit here and there, and a view out to sea all the way to Wales and Brecon on a good day.

Towards Cheddar, warm sun and wind.
Towards Cheddar, warm sun and wind.

I’m going back to basics and learning Lightroom from the beginning, to get away from the bad habits I have formed by just leaping into the middle and pressing buttons to see how it reacts. (I’m an engineer, what can I say.) I need to start cataloguing my pictures, and I need help, I’ve started scanning negatives as well so the disk space is cluttering fast.

Brecon Snow.
Brecon Snow.

This time I’m looking at why and where as well as how it can be used. Knowing how things are it will probably not end as it begins. This quote from the Your Messages blog in 2007 says a lot about how it could end.

I am the Anti-list, chaos incarnate, fear me. I will come to you in the night and disorder your life. Those best laid plans of mice and men, are mine. Put your list out of sight for only a second and I will appropriate it, and only relinquish it back to you when it is too late to do anything about the most important thing on your list.

Do not think for a minute there is the possibility of order in your life, I am the butterfly on the far side of the world, setting in motion a chain of events so tortuous you will not plan for the consequences. There is only me and fate to control your destiny. Faith and prior planning will not avail you anything.

I will wake you in the night, with a forgotten list, with that one thing you must not forget, the date not in your diary. A single obscured digit in the phone number to save your world. Do not take me lightly, I will reduce your itemised shopping list to dust, lost in the sands of time. The wedding planner despairs when my cold hand rests on their shoulder. That one simple thing you went into the shop for, the one you forgot when you saw the glossy magazine, it is all in my domain and I am a demon of details.

My list is not of order but of random acts. Murphy knew me personally, he just didn’t know my name, how could he? I am everyone and no one, the lost pen, the unwashed shirt and the washed out address in your shirt pocket. Everyone is prey to my whims and I know no mercy. I have toyed with kings and queens, magi and masters. Be Afraid.

Your Messages

I wrote this piece so It’s not stolen, on other topics, we had a good time at the Poetry Café last month, the subject of Escape brought forth some good work, and was followed by a wide-ranging discussion around poetry. Very interesting to hear Peoples ideas, the where and why-fore of somebody and their words. I seem to be de-facto in control at the moment, worryingly(?) sending team emails and the like, I’m running at maybe a C- for organisation at the moment I think.

Fragments. Next month we are working on Integration and Conflagration, my own topic so I can’t complain.

News Report –
Momentary words carrying knives,
an idea cut apart and drawn across
the space between us.

From here, we can see how civilisation infiltrates
how fingers reach out and landscape changes with time
sometimes so slow as to fool the eye into believing

nothing happened

and a spark, nurtured in a calm quiet place.
twigs, dry tinder in a lattice, and patience,
don’t feel the rush.

Let the flame grow, your task is the spark,
the branches will catch when the heat rises,
so slow, let the flame work through.

Let the heat build, add more wood to the pyre,
soon it will be strong enough to burn bone,
all we need is a spark and a patient man.

Must be time for a BBQ soon, the Met Office declared summer this morning, so shorts and t-shirts, beach life and sunshine all round. Have Fun whatever the weather.

Clouds, Cameras, and Poetry.

Cloudy Skyline.
Cloudy Skyline.

There’s been lots happening over the last few weeks, the usual work stuff keeping us busy. There has though, still been a chance to get some pictures with my new camera. Shots taken in the back garden of clouds bubbling over the coastline and bunching in the valley. It has also meant I am trying out Lightroom CS4, to see how far things can be pushed in editing. The Pentax K50 saves images as both JPEG and Raw, and I can view images quickly as JPEG to decide which ones I want to import to edit. Sometime soon I will start a new file system for my pictures, to separate out my own images and walking group or family shots. For the moment I am learning the quirks of the camera, how it works and what it sees, button combinations and positions, all the things that make taking pictures fast when you know where everything is; nothing worse than fumbling for a button when you are in a hurry and don’t want to miss something.

Storm Cloud II
Storm Cloud II

To be able to edit save and not make irretrievable changes is a new thing, no more save as or damaged files from random button presses. I was good at saving copies but sometimes things went awry and using raw will help stop that.

Changing tack, last week was World Book Night, and a group of poets gathered in Weston-super-Mare library to read as part of the celebration. Free books were available and the event went really well, good reading by everyone who took part, some really interesting work.

Poetry Fragments.

This weeks fragments are from an older notebook, things to bring back memories, trips and images.

Paris Promenade.

People, coffee and tourists,
street hawkers, beggars and fashionistas
running wild.

and from London,

Stop go streetflow
at the junctions of the city.
Morning smokers
taking some time to die.

The days are getting longer, sunrise earlier and sunset later, that means you can get out more. I’d recommend a high place to watch the sun rise, to see the colour spill across the land, to feel the first warmth as the light hits you. Watch the world wake up as you sit and watch. Wonderful, can’t beat it and you will smile all day.

New Camera. New Lines.

Orion over Brent Knoll
Orion over Brent Knoll

After many years I have finally gone back to an SLR, digital this time so I am learning a new way of working. I’ve saved and with the help of Ebay got a nearly new Pentax K50, I have been searching for one at the right price and this came through at the right time. It’s had good reviews and is weather sealed, a must for when I am out in the mountains, I only have the standard lens at the moment, maybe later I’ll get a wide-angle one to use in landscape pictures.

Hopefully, once I know what I’m doing I’ll get better shots to use on my blog. I’m going to be using RAW a lot more, something which is pretty new to me, I have not done much with this format in terms of storing, adjusting etc, another part of the DSLR learning curve for me. I’m pleased so far with what I have got, like the night shot above, but I need to get better at focusing in the dark, lot of fuzzy edges in this batch, not good enough.

Sunset from Crook Peak
Sunset from Crook Peak

I’ve been here many times, but sunset, and a clear dark sky was too much to resist. The air was warm, the sky clear with a few stray clouds. The Mendips were deserted as is usual at this time, everyone at home watching tv or some such. I love being out as the sun falls away, the birds settling. Quiet and peaceful, except for all the bank holiday traffic heading Northwards and home. Such a mass of people all lost on the journey, I hope they had a good Easter Break, the traffic was slow and probably didn’t get better all night.

Traffic and stars over Brent Knoll
Traffic and stars over Brent Knoll

This month is NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Writing Month. Something I have done for the last two years so this time I’m taking a break and letting others pound out the verse. I’m still writing, our monthly poetry Café is next week and we have an interesting topic. Blood Oranges and Other Bus Trips. Maybe you think you can come up with something, post it in the reply box. My ideas, some parts of them are below, for your consideration.


In reply to blood oranges, posted on FB.

You offered me your Oranges,
blood-red, scented and ripe.

    after taking the flesh,
the honeyed juice running 
across the palm of my hands
down fingers to mark
    the tablecloth.



We looked over at the four uniformed officers
of two bordering countries. We waited.
Looking , as only the British can, expectant.

They looked at us, confused, looked back
at each other and shrugged in pure European.
Before returning to us with questioning eyes.

Easter is gone, The blossom has left the cherry tree and the leaves are turning green, watch the world turn and enjoy it every day. There is always something new to see, no matter how many times you go back to the same places. Travel as a tourist through your own back yard.

Fragments of a Journey Through Space.

How to watch the eclipse.
How to watch the eclipse.

Just over a week ago, we were treated to a partial eclipse here in the UK. I took the chance to drag out the telescope and watch as it passed us. I never cease to be wonderstruck by these events, the darkening skies, the eerie light and birds preparing to roost. This time we even had perfect clear blue skies, just a bit of high level haze that didn’t really stop us watching.

The Sun's Image.
The Sun’s Image.

I have no sun filters for my telescope, or my camera so I used this set-up to watch, joined by a couple of neighbours and some workmen. Everyone enjoying the spectacle. Seeing these events, solar system happenings, always makes me think in two directions. About the earliest people, looking up, not knowing if the sun was coming back, learning to predict the coming and going of the solar system. Yet also about the future, about how we will I am sure, spread out further into the universe. Who will we find, and how will those epic journeys happen. I grew up on pulp sci-fi books, adventure in space. I still want to go up there, have a look back at the Earth from above. Maybe one day I’ll get my wish.

Back here on the ground, I have a new camera, a Pentax K-50. I’m still getting to grips with the widgets and buttons but will do a post about it soon as I can. in the meantime I’ve been out on Crook Peak again, ambling about and enjoying the fresh spring air.

Crook Peak View
Crook Peak View

No matter where I go, there is nothing like walking out of your front door and being quickly into the countryside, enjoying the high views, the wildlife and woodlands near by. This time of year, everything is coming alive, the birds are frantic, the green is returning, and all is proceeding as it should.

This weeks fragments are from ideas used in the Poetry Cafe last Thursday, a great evening of reading poetry on the theme of Pan, God or Gods.

The God of the Little Things.

It doesn't matter who you think he is,
God, Jehovah, Allah, Jesus.
So long as you believe,
because belief isolates
each from the other.

The Wind in the Cherry Tree.

The wind is in the West and salt is in the air,
He's set the ball rolling and now,
it's as if he was never there.

Who knows how far they could get if left alone.


I’m navigating through, but following a single strand is not an option, ever. Life is about many tracks and many turns, we need to embrace them all.

Tidal Flow.

Beach Mist
Beach Mist

Some days you go to the sea and there is nothing there, mist hangs along the promenade and covers everything with a cold sweat. The sun doesn’t even bother to try, just drips light slowly into the grey.

Other days, the cold wind sweeps everyone along yet the wide horizon can stop you in its tracks as the sun dips below the horizon, clouds bubble across to add depth while the colours range far and wide through the spectrum of visibility. Despite the cold there are many of us who stand and watch, trying to catch the changing image in our mind.

Sunset, gone but dragging the colour slowly behind.
Sunset, gone but dragging the colour slowly behind.
Bird Watching, go for a walk at anytime, and see what's out there.
Bird Watching, go for a walk at anytime, and see what’s out there.

When the tide goes out here, the sea leaves the country, Weston-super-Mare has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world. The open expanse draws you out towards the edge, not really the sea perhaps, who knows where the Severn river ends and Atlantic begins. You could almost walk to sunset, get pulled over the horizon like the colours and the light. But be wary, the mud is deep and unforgiving.


Who You Are.

It’s about your eyes,
the smile that lingers long after the moment,
I carry each one with me.

The Seaside.

You could walk all the way out from here,
let the tide take you,
but don’t chase the sunset, always one step away.

This morning the Cherry tree broke out in white blossom, we’ve been watching it, waiting for the buds to break, yet they still catch us out and arrive en mass, snow blossom in the rain this morning. In the hills and valleys, covering damp verges, the Snowdrops are out. Soon other flowers will follow the blossom and the Snowdrops, go out and look for them, lift your spirits with the return of long days and wild flowers.


Flowering Cherry
Flowering Cherry

It was a weather spread bet this morning. Rain, chunky hail, wind and sunshine, the only disappointment was the lack of snow. We’re starting work on a major revamp of our kitchen this week, never underestimate how much soil a hole can set free. I think two bags appear for every one we fill.

I’m working on spring, hence the fist view of the flowering cherry in our garden. I noticed the fist blossom high in the tree a few days ago, and these have joined the party. I’m trying to catch the sunrise gold over this tree, glorious as we sit with morning coffee and look out of the window, it always raises the spirits to see it lit up with amazing colour.

I am dipping into some old work and starting re-writing, I bumped into this and like the opening though it obviously needs a lot of work, things like this remind me how far I have come, this first saw the light of day sometime in 2001 –

Untouched blue sky, white cloud on the horizon,
cherry blossom makes an impromptu showing.
Testing the air for spring and the flowers that
will soon follow.

I had the first reminder for NaPoWriMo today, but I think this year I’ll relax and take the month off, watch other people bashing out the poems and enjoy myself with all the reading I can do that month. Have fun as winter turns into spring this month, I will mark its passing somehow, a little snow item to remind us of the journey we are all taking, every day of our lives.

Woods, Line Drawing.

In The Woods
In The Woods

Picture taken last year on the Mendips, played with in Lightroom and using Luminance HDR. I like the way this has turned out.

Green-wood Diffraction

I see you at this the critical angle,
that slight bending of the light
as it passes around you.

I watch the light embrace your shape,
at the boundary layer light shatters
as it passes through the gap

created by our proximity,
this is where wavelength is a factor.
Interference patterns of light

and dark emerge, spreading
into the space between us.
Highs and lows multiply in the air,

the angles merge, refraction bigger
than the angle of incidence and light
travels on unable to change medium.

All we are left with are circles of light and dark,
rainbow shadows and light pooling in the air.

Spring is on the way, the days are getting longer, green shoots and new life.