THE RAMBLINGS OF A STRUGGLING ARTIST ON LIFE WITH TWO TERRIERS, A PONY WITH ISSUES AND OTHER WILDLIFE AND BIRDS THAT CROSS OUR PATH

20 April 2014

LOVE IN A MIST AND WESTWARD HO!


The young mares are in season and this morning, in the cold, miserable mist, there was a lot of action and whinnying. Snippet spotted them first:







Snippet was in serious trouble by the end and had to go on the lead on the way home. Luckily most of the ponies know him and just ignore him:



The cows were behaving a bit more sedately:


This Blackbird too:


Trees can't really get up to much:


It's been tipping down all day which has been a real shock after almost the whole Easter holiday with brilliant weather.

On Thursday OB and I went to Westward Ho! in North Devon to meet some friends. My father (who I never knew) spent a lot of his childhood there with his Grandmother, so I had a romanticised view of it as we drove the hour and a half it takes to get there. The name 'Westward Ho!' comes from Charles Kingsley's novel of the same name, which was set in Bideford, just along the coast. The village was built by entrepreneurs, keen to develop tourism in the area. The beach is spectacular but, with limited time and frankly freezing conditions, we spent little time on it. A huge naturally formed pebble ridge runs the length of the beach. Here is OB taking pictures with his ipod. 



Look who I found resting on one of the beautiful grey sandstone pebbles:



How are OB and his friend not tripping up, as I nearly did walking, on the stones?



Wastward Ho! is not the beautiful town I had hoped, but I just liked being in a place where my Dad had been in the late 1920's and early 1930's. Apparently he used to cycle around Dartmoor in his teens, so living here has another familial aspect to it. As a 17 year old, he worked at Bletchley Park in the last year of the war but never spoke of it. We had rather disappointing coffee and cake before we left:


It's been so busy this week - I'm sorry I haven't been posting very much. There just hasn't been time but in a good way if you see what I mean. Today we've had a brief respite before two Easter egg hunts tomorrow. Here are a few more pictures from the sunny week. Firstly, Trigger through what was originally a Beech hedge but which is now a run of immense trees:


Looking through the branches of the same trees in the early morning light:


Meadow Pipit:


Jack on the rocks:


One of a pair of Pied Wagtails nesting on Kestor. I've watched them vying for space with the Wheatear pair that are also nesting there again this year:


I hope you're all having a great Easter and thanks so much for all your positive comments on the Landscape post. Once OB is back at school, I'm going to bite the pen and watercolour bullet and see what occurs. Disaster or not, I promise to publish the results. I think I'm going to try and sell the other one. So until next time, here are the dogs after a long, hot walk, one of whom thinks rolling in wood shavings will cool him down............hmmm. 



56 comments:

  1. Once again I have to say what a wonderful place you live in.

    The 'wheatear' is - I believe - the Saxon name meaning 'white ear', but I'm sure you know better than me. Anyway, I love the way your one marches.

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    1. I think it actually means 'white arse' which should appeal to you more; it certainly does me!

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  2. Those first pics of the moor in the mist are very atmospheric. I've been glad of the rain today as it meant we stayed at home, although as always we were still busy!

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    1. Funny weather today.....big plops of summer rain occasionally and then some sun....then back to grey. At least I've got some washing out!

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  3. I have many memories of Westward Ho! Oh the cream teas! xxx

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    1. I fear the cream teas are not what they were....

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  4. Is that Pied Wagtail going off in a huff?
    Clotted cream ice cream is the must have treat along that stretch of coast.. on a warmer day perhaps!

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    1. From the ice cream vans? We had one and it was very delicious.

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  5. Lovely post....is that wagtail goose stepping?

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    1. I think it night be John and welcome to Dartmoor Ramblings!

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  6. I always love your pony photos...and with the mist,very magical!
    That beach is amazing.....and the wee ladybug! How did you spot her?
    Hope you had a great weekend....
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. I spotted her amongst the sea of grey!

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  7. I agree with the comment above mine, your photos of the ponies are both mystical and magical. I'm just sorry that the weather wasn't the best for your visit to Westward Ho and wasn't made better by a good coffee and cake, which always works for me when it is. Take care, and I hope you have a good week, Em!

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    1. Always disappointing when you feel you could have had better cake at home!

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  8. The photos taken in the mist are very evocative--scenes for a gothic tale, but I have the sense that it may have been the kind of damp day that makes me want to hurry inside for a mug of tea.
    Our long-haired boy-cats like to roll in dried leaves or wallow in tall grass just before coming in the house and pulling the bits out on a chair or sofa. When we had a dog [a Border Collie] he was very uncooperative about having foreign matter combed out of his hair.

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    1. Much tea was drunk when I got home....cake eaten too!

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  9. Oh dear, I did laugh at the outline of a woolly dog capering amongst the ponies. I know it so well with my own when they were younger.
    Great pics as always, lovely to see OB following in his Mums footsteps.

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    1. I think he still misses that first lot of foals, particularly Lizzie, with whom he played all summer. He's not the only one who misses them!

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  10. It must have been a strange feeling to walk through the town your father knew as a boy. One of our older villagers, a lady in her nineties who died this winter, worked at Bletchley Park during the war. I wonder if she knew your Dad? She never talked about it. So many of the secrets have gone with them.

    I love Jack on the Rocks and the goose-stepping wagtail!

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    1. My Dad was there because his uncle Joss (who was referred to as 'Josh', who threw his mugs in the lake in one of those programmes) got him the job. I'm sure she would have known him, if not my dad. I'll do a post about his pottery one day....

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  11. Em, your photographs just give me a constant feeling of Dartmoor in all its moods.
    I went to Westward Ho once, just because its name sounded so exciting - had much the same experience as you.
    Lovely to see OB on the pebbles with his friend.

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    1. Glad I'm not alone in being underwhelmed Pat!

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  12. Not a good day to visit Westward Ho!, although it is a mix of time zones. The 50's holiday camps to the modern apartment buildings (most of which have not been sold btw). Hope you are having a good Easter :-)

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    1. Those new developments are such a depressing sight. One had a low wall which was meant to be attractively planted by either its residents or the management company.....it contained one sad looking weed. I'm not sure they've sold any at all.

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  13. The ponies and dogs running through the mist is just lovely! I like the series of shots of the ladybug too, as it gives me an idea of the camera you are working with for the beautiful photos you get.

    The past is so easy to romanticise - hope reality wasn't deflating! :)

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    1. I was able to laugh about it thank goodness!

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  14. That mist/fog is so thick! We rarely get fog here, so it's fascinating to see...although not if you live in it, I'm sure.
    Jane x

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    1. That's really interesting that you do't get fog and mist. It's a part of life here!

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  15. The mist is always so magical and I loved the photos of the ponies running through them. Also the trees reaching to the sky was a wonderful photo!

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    1. It's much clearer today and I'm trying to catch up with stuff after the holiday. The house is such a mess!

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  16. The pictures of the ponies are stunning! I thought Westward Ho would be pretty too…. alas I was disappointed, but then I think we're spoiled by all of the other places?

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    1. It could do without having Bideford down the road!

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  17. Wonderful misty images Em, it was the same here yesterday, rained all day. It's good to go off and visit the places your dad passed through. Had the same feeling about Westward Ho! I look forward to seeing your paintings. Love the moss covered beech trees and the sun shining through the branches.

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    1. That moss on the trees is SO thick. I often just lean against it when it's been dry for a while and it's like a lovely cushion.

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  18. All your pictures are fabulous - but I especially like the four beach shots with your son, the beach and the 'beach bug' ladybird! Hope you and your son had a wonderful Easter!

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    1. I like they grey of those beach shots. I love that kind of light for photography as opposed to bright sun. Hope you had a lovely Easter too Mark.

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  19. Your photos of the mares through the mist are very atmospheric. I've heard of Westward Ho! but don't know anything else about it so it was interesting to get a glimpse of it here and to read about your impression of it. I love Jack on the rocks!

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    1. I doubt you'll be visiting after my assessment Wendy! The beach is worth it though I suppose.....on a sunny day.

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  20. Your mare photos in the mist are wonderfully atmospheric and I do like the beech tree photos.

    I didn't think I'd ever been to Westward Ho! but on checking where it is I have a vague memory of a holiday when I was little in Appledore which is fairly close so we may have visited - but it was an awful long time ago!!

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    1. I think it's changed enormously recently. I was last there in the early 1980's and all I recognised was the pebble ridge!

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  21. Sorry to be late on parade - we've had a really hectic and busy Easter. Now I'm washed out and croaking/coughing. Half the people at the Antiques fair had colds or worse . . . I enjoyed your photos as always. Is the grey the stallion?

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    1. I'm so behind too. I'm so sorry you're feeling bad again. We've been spared illness over winter but OB has a cold and feeling distinctly dicky this evening!

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  22. Thanks for your comment on my blog. Yes, it is Tess - she has just been cut. Because she is more black than the usual brown of Border Terriers, not all of her coat is really rough-haired, so it is necessary to have her cut regularly, otherwise it gets shaggy. I like the look of her best about six weeks after her Spring cut. Then it grows again and I have her cut in early Autumn. Terrible weather here today.

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    1. I think this was meant for someone else Pat.....x

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  23. Those pictures in the fog are so atmospheric! I loved the contrast of the ladybird on the pebbles. What a shame Westward Ho didn't meet your expectations. A seaside town never looks very inviting surrounded by grey skies! Sarah x

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    1. Nothing ever beats Weymouth Sarah! x

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  24. Em I so enjoy that you share all of this with us. The ponies and scenery out there on the moors is just such a treat to see . I think if I lived there , I would rarely get anything done as I would be out there all day. I am sure I would also never come in out of the rain ! I did have the pleasure of riding ponies on the moors in elementary school when my father was working in the U.K. for three years, long ago . Living there were some of my best childhood memories. I have always wanted to return .

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    1. Perhaps you will one day.....do come and visit if you do.

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  25. those horses seem to be having a great time kicking it up... so glad you were able to visit a town where your dad had a life. sorry it wasn't the greatest in other venues such as your coffee. so many wonderful photos. hope all is well. have a great day~

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    1. You too! All those ponies have disappeared now so the marsh is quiet again.

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  26. Hi Em, those are lovely misty photos on the moors. Isn't it interesting how we have one picture in our heads about a place, and then once we see it it's nothing like what we expected. My sister had this very romantic image of Los Angels and when we finally took her there she was majorly disappointed. Yes, how does OB and his friend run over that beach with all the large pebbles? I only have to look at one and I would be falling out of my shoes! Great post and also loved that landscape below this one. Marvelous to be able to paint like that.

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    1. Thanks Denise. I have a feeling I might feel like that about NYC where I've always wanted to go but never have. Maybe one day....

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  27. Westward Ho is a terrible place, I have been several times to look at care homes for my son and hated it every time. It has two redeeming features and they are that is quite close to Exemoor and the Quantocks. Great pictures of Dartmoor, very evocative and makes me homesick!

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    1. So pleased I'm not alone with the feelings about Westward Ho! It's really interesting that so few of the holiday flats right on the front have sold. If they were in any other town they'd be worth a mint!

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  28. Wondrous, mystic photos of the horses in the mist!

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    1. I'm amazed the photos came out at all!

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