At low tide the Deben estuary exposes mud flats comprised of London Clay. The flats are a favourite haunt for fossil hunters. Sieving through the clay will regularly produce bird and fish remains, vertebrae, small sharks’ teeth and also fossil wood.
From the flats shingle banks rise steeply, the top representing the high water mark. Along this tide line there is a belt, often several metres wide, containing an abundance of seashells – as can be seen below.
A glance at the sky indicates the time of year as heavy shower clouds are being rushed along by a strong breeze, creating characteristic ‘sunshine and showers’ weather. Beyond the reeds the rape seed is coming into flower. On the right, the track leads round to the Martello tower.
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I take many pictures of trees – perhaps too many! – but the birch takes pride of place.
Please can someone tell me what this is? It is certainly not the usual star fish which has only five limbs, but I have been unable to identify it through Google. It was found on the shore at low tide on the Deben estuary in Suffolk at the point where the river joins the North Sea. It measures approximately 11cms in diameter.
There is something strangely attractive about the decaying posts of groynes, finally defeated by the ravages of the sea. For me, their shapes, colours and textures are irresistible. Their gnarled turrets and towers often suggest a land of myths and legends – especially so when they are nestled in dark grey/brown seaweed.
Taken on a showery April afternoon, the scurrying clouds adding their own reflections to those of the reeds.
Reeds, Reflections and Ripples
Lakes have formed behind the sea defences described in yesterday’s post.
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Click to enlarge.
This picture contains far more information than is immediately apparent. In the sea are remnants of groynes,used as a defence against a constant threat from the force of the sea. The shore leading to the distant tower has been reinforced, also as a defence against erosion. But the sea has not been the only enemy. The tower is a Martello Tower, one of 103 built in 1803 and placed strategically along the coasts of Suffolk and Sussex as protection against possible attacks from Napoleon. During World War II this bay had an ‘Admiralty Scaffold’, a defence structure against enemy invasion, and this photo is taken within 10 yards of a gun battery and lookout tower – further reminders of World War II. Radar was first developed less than 2 miles from this point. About 8 miles away, at Sutton Hoo, is an important Saxon burial site, thought to be the resting place of the first East Anglian king, Raedwald, who died in AD624 – a reminder that invasions are not a latter day phenomenon.
‘”HOW INTELLIGENT ARE YOU?” The real answer is that the question itself is the wrong one to ask. The right question is “HOW ARE YOU INTELLIGENT?” The difference in these questions is profound. The first suggests that there’s a finite way of gauging intelligence and that one can reduce the value of each individual’s intelligence to a figure or quotient of some sort. The latter suggests a truth that we somehow don’t acknowledge as much as we should – that there are a variety of ways to express intelligence and that no one scale could ever measure this.’ Ken Robinson
If you’ve not already done so, watch Sir Ken Robinson’s 20 minute address to the TED Conference (http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html?quote=88). It is highly entertaining whilst including several profound thoughts on creativity and education.
I came across this piece of driftwood on the shore just below where we were near Agadir in Morocco. It seemed to me to have all the attributes of a prehistoric creature, especially the head, neck and foreleg. Since the hotel where we were staying was the Ksar Massa I decided a suitable identity for this strange ‘animal’ would be the Ksarmathaurus. The image has not been manipulated in any way other than the removal of the background. The original was approximately two feet (60cm) in length.
Ksarmathaurus of Agadir
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Another abstract inspired by a flower. If the title helps, make the connection. But I hope that the abstract pattern in itself will evoke a response.
I have a fondness for pebble beaches. Sun-bathing on a sandy beach is not my scene and I happen to find pebble beaches more interesting and varied. These pictures were taken on a day when the sea was beautifully calm and quiet – just gently lapping the shore. The first of the group is obviously taken above the tide line and the others through the shallow waters, softening slightly the shapes and colours. I was particularly attracted by the range of shapes, sizes and the variety of colours deposited naturally in such a small area.
That’s one heck of a leap! Here’s wishing you a happy landing!
Gugh is a small island in the Isles of Scilly off the south west tip of England. It is one km long and 0.5km wide and is joined to the larger island of St Agnes by a sand bar. As a consequence it is accessible only at low tide. There are just two houses on Gugh. The island has several entrance graves, cairns and burial mounds dating from the Bronze Age. The Old Man of Gugh is a menhir 2.7metres tall and belongs to that period.
I always see in this picture a tall old man with white beard, bracing himself against the strong Atlantic winds.
There is more background information in my post The Isles of Scilly.
Old Man of Gugh
Some will see the picture below as a ‘portrait’, of a young girl dropping a pebble into the sea. Yes, on one level it is. But for me it encapsulates the concept of childhood innocence, and that is the essence of the image. I am sure that had the intention been to create a portrait, I could have done better! (See also About My Photographs).
Not only plants seem to have benefitted from the recent mild winter. During yesterday’s walk down the lane I saw at least half a dozen baby squirrels at various times, like fledgling chicks barely old enough to leave the nest. One of these I recorded in silhouette in the photo below.
Just three days ago we were delighting in the beauty of the ‘humble’ dandelion. Now the earliest flowers have had their season and the golden glow has been replaced by the familiar, feathery globe-shaped seedhead – the one o’clock. Far from fading into oblivion, the plant displays a different kind of beauty. Examine carefully the perfect design and pattern of the hundreds of florets, each with its own parachute. The wonders of Nature!
This abstract pattern is derived from floral origins, but I hope it will evoke a response to its own incarnation and form rather than to its previous existence.
What happens when boy meets girl in Seville? They make music, of course!
The Guitarists. Seville
Pause for a moment and enjoy the sheer beauty of the flower below – the soft elegance of its petals, the gentle clasp at the heart, the uplifting glow of its numerous shades of yellow and gold …..
But what is it? Is it a chrysanthemum, or an aster or, perhaps, a dahlia?
It’s a Taraxacum Officinale.
A what? I hear you ask.
A dens lionis, a pis en lis ….. you know, a dandelion.
Because it is regarded as an aggressive weed by gardeners the dandelion’s true beauty often passes unseen. What a shame! Do take another look.