Chasing the light
Before we had children, Spence and I took a l-o-n-g trip out to Long Island. We headed out of New York in a rental car, Billy Idol on the stereo, past Coney Island and on until the city was far behind us. We were headed out in search of the light.
We didn’t stay long, but the light we found there truly is amazing. It’s difficult to describe but you know it when you see it. It’s fresh and soft and calm and blue and vibrant and clear all at once. It has a quality to it that only comes from uninterrupted big skies and rolling oceans. It’s no wonder so many artists thrive there.
And it’s no wonder that St Ives has a similar artistic community, because the light there is just as enthralling, just as magnificent and is one of the reasons why I love it there so much.
Chasing the light. That’s what photography is all about at the end of the day.
Our base for a week of sun, sea and surfing
We’ve just returned from a wonderfully relaxing week in St Ives where we stayed in a pretty little four-storey cottage right in the heart of the town and about 150 paces from three (yes three!) beaches.
This was our seventh year of holidaying in St Ives - even as I write that, I can’t believe it, but every year, and usually on the motorway journey home, we all decide we want to go back again. It’s a wonderful place and the first time we went, I completely lost my heart to the light, the laid-back feel and the slower pace of life down there. I have a feeling we’ll still be going back in our dotage.
We’ve stayed in here and here in previous years. We’ve been with family and friends - one year there were 13 of us - but this year we were just a little foursome so we stayed in this cottage.
It was a beautiful place, although a bit rickety in parts. The plumbing and electrics were ‘interesting’ and the windows rattled like crazy, but all of this added the charm of the place to be honest. The styling and decorative touches were gorgeous and the free-standing roll top bath was ace. On one galey afternoon, we lit the wood burner and curled up on the comfy sofas with books and comics - it really was a homely cottage and the boys loved it.
We preferred the top floor of the house to the master bedroom, pushing the twin beds together in proper teenage fashion, and fell asleep each evening to the sound of nesting seagulls, a familiar sound in the attics of houses in the Downalong area of St Ives.
The kitchen was very well stocked with everything you’d need to make a decent meal and on our arrival, we were greeted with the most lovely little gifts, including wine, Cornish cheese and butter, olives, local bread and this fine fella.
All in all, it was a lovely place to stay for a week of total relaxation. Its quirkiness and slightly faded interior structure added to the character of the place - the boys had great fun slipping notes to each other through the floorboards in the sitting room down into the kitchen!
* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013 *
Xavi - in his element having found exactly the right consistency of sand to make castles.
Louis - proud parent doesn’t come close, I was jumping up and down like a mad woman as he surfed his way to the beach. Go Surfer Lou!
As ever, I’m joining in with Jodi and everyone else taking part in the weekly portrait series.
* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013 *
Xavi - digging holes, throwing shovel-loads of sand into the waves, humming happily to himself and getting frecklier by the hour.
Louis - climbing rocks like a mini mountain goat and rocking his new green trousers.
Joining in with Jodi and everyone else taking part in the weekly portrait series. Apologies for the quality of these photographs - my iPhone was my only tool this weekend. But grainy is atmospheric isn’t it?
The looong summer holidays
Oh to be on Porthmeor beach in St Ives right now. As well as being a perfect place for photography, St Ives is ace for holidays with kids, with the surf school, beaches round every corner and Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth children’s trail to keep them amused.
Instead, today we have sampled the delights of Ikea MK and whilst I’m a sucker for a flatpack and can happily spend hours in there convincing myself we need a new range oven and brand new work tops (even though we rent our house), the boys weren’t so keen. They survived until the toy department, then went berserk.
The trip ended shortly after restorative Swedish meatballs to equip us for the long drive home and here I now find myself, staring blankly at our opened-but-not-yet-assembled flat pack, as the boys attempt full-on wrestling on the kitchen table and I am wondering if it is too early for a gin…
Just under three weeks until school’s out for the summer and time to give some serious thought to how to keep two energetic boys occupied on our ‘non-worky days’. For the first time ever, I’ve been organised enough to book the fellas in to a holiday club for one day per week in August so I can keep juggling the work ball and we’ve got circus trips, festivals and weddings to fill some of the weekends but I think we’ll need to add some days out as well to stop us all going mad, particularly if this rain continues.
We do love a museum - the shot above is from our most recent trip to the Barbara Hepworth Museum in St Ives which has added a great children’s trail to its many charms since our last visit. The boys got to search out their favourite sculpture and write a postcard to Barbara telling her which they loved and why. In their packs they also had a notebook, pencil and some modelling clay. It’s a lovely place to spend a morning and with something interesting to occupy the fellas, we got to see even more than ever.
A recent find closer to home is The Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock which has a great outdoor dinosaur trail and dino costumes and interactive displays inside. With another gallery dedicated to inventions and science experiments of all kinds, it’s well worth a trip.
Our old favourite, Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History will definitely be on the list (although we’re starting to hyperventilate a bit as its shutting in 2013 for a whole year so we’ll have to find some suitable alternatives soon..).
Any suggestions for other places to check out this summer?
The sun and the moon…
It’s taken me a while to upload any photos from our recent trip to St Ives, but here are a couple.
I’m never going to trouble the world of landscape photography with my efforts - I am far too impatient and I much prefer people to views - but when in St Ives and faced with a beautiful sunset one evening and a chink of moonlight over a purpling sky the next, it was worth a go…
PS: I’m not sure who ‘Tommy’ is in the first photograph, but I am sure he appreciated the sentiment…
The May Instagram Challenge draws to a close…
Today is the last day of this little project, which has been good fun. This image is ‘pink’ which was the theme for May 22nd. Some of the themes have been easy and some have required a little bit of thought to create something a little out of the norm. I’m still in catch-up mode after our lovely break in St Ives last week, but all of the last images (from May 21st to May 31st) will be over on my Pinterest board by the end of the day.
This weekend is going to be a busy one with a wedding to photograph on Sunday, taking place here, our brand new bell tent to pitch, a few village Jubilee celebrations to fit in along the way and if all goes well, a new addition to the family to accommodate (more on that next week).
I hope the weather stays fine…
May 17th - May 20th photo a day
These are my latest shots for the Instagram May Photo a Day challenge. Choosing a favourite place for yesterday’s photograph was easy as we’re in one of my most favourite places in the country, but I must confess, my ‘snack’ and ‘something you made’ shots are tiny cheats as I took them both a couple of weeks back. My excuse though is that I’m on holiday and unless I shake it up a bit, all of the remaining shots for the challenge will be either beach, child or sunset-related…
As always, you can find the full set of shots over on my Pinterest board, as well as all the other boards I have put together as part of my rapidly growing Pinterest obsession.
The view from here…
Not a bad way to start the day eh? Breakfast this morning was at the rather lush Porthmeor Beach Cafe with Tate St Ives behind us and the stunning Porthmeor beach in front. I do love St Ives.