Thursday Evening in the Close

Cathedral Close, Exeter after a light meal at Cote, my current favourite brasserie. We crossed towards the cathedral, just because, and had a peep at this view.

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Then turned along the green.

cl2The lovely building on the left is Mols Coffee House, dated 1596.

cl3We were heading back to the car, but I lingered long enough for some pics in the early evening light.

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Then over the cobbles and away home.

cl7With the Royal Clarence Hotel, supposedly the oldest hotel in England, in the background.

The Daily Post, Landscape

For this week’s challenge, share a photo of a landscape: a wide establishing shot of a scene in nature or an urban setting. A simple theme you would think, but I don’t really do landscapes, I never feel that my lens is up to it. My entry is actually a phone shot, so doesn’t bear zooming in, but it’s quite pleasing nevertheless.

avon b and wYou can join in here, and see lots of really wonderful shots.

Perhaps mine is better in colour?

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Winter by the sea

I had a half day on Friday and was keen to see the sea, so Sidmouth it was. My friend and I found a free parking spot right on the sea front, and crossed the road to check out the waves.

IMG_2399_edited-aLooking west they were roaring and churning.

IMG_2403_edited-band to the east, just as rough and the distant cliffs of Lyme Bay were hidden in the sea mist.

IMG_2404_edited-cWe wandered down the slipway by the breakwater. The only shelter from the wind was up close to the wall.

IMG_2406_edited-dBut there was more to see on the pebbles, I liked the black and white one and was tempted to take it home, but didn’t.

IMG_2407_edited-eThe lifeboat man ;-) stood guard opposite the RNLI station, he’s been waiting there for a very long time.

IMG_2411_edited-fWe’ll come back and check the cliffs a bit later. For now we’re having a little respite from the wind, and heading for town.

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This beautiful and traditional shop,  Mountstephen, has been trading since 1902, but way out of my price range.

Trumps, a grocers for two hundred years closed down in 2014. It’s very sad to see this once wonderful shop go the way of so many local food shops. They sold fabulous food, but couldn’t make it pay any longer. It’s a Grade 2 listed building, and it looks like the upstairs isn’t going to be converted into apartments.

IMG_2427_edited-lThe Square will be elbow to elbow with people in six months time, for the folk festival, but all is quiet on the last Friday in January.

IMG_2428_edited-mThe Anchor is a lovely pub, all year round and they host live music and even story telling during the festival.

IMG_2434_edited-nWe had hot chocolate and rich, buttery shortbread in a favourite seafront café, Mocha, and then tempted by a bit of blue sky, stepped across the esplanade.

I wonder if my eyes deceive me, surely no one would be kite surfing in that sea, but yes and he must be crazy!

IMG_2443_edited-pWe watched for a while and I must say I was glad to see him safely back on the beach (excuse the photo, my i phone can’t manage the distance).

IMG_2435_edited-oThe empty esplanade is waiting for summer, just as I am.

IMG_2446_edited-qFor now we’ll head into the sea mist, towards the cliffs.

IMG_2455_edited-sAt the end of the promenade the river Sid trickles into the sea, and it’s no longer safe to walk on that part of the beach, because of the frequent landslides that are eroding the sandstone.

IMG_2453_edited-rCan you see the pieces of wood dangling down from the clifftop? It’s the remains of a fence that was previously beside the south West Coast Path, at the bottom of someone’s garden. Lots of Britain’s coastline is being reclaimed by the sea, gradually washing away. Sidmouth could look very different in a few generations from now.

I hope you enjoyed Sidmouth even if it was grey and damp, I’ll take you again in summer.

I’m joining Jo for her Monday walk – if I’m in time, but if not this week maybe in a couple of weeks time!

Weekly Photo Challenge Now

For this week’s challenge, take a moment to notice your now, and share a photo of it. Perhaps it is something imperfect, or mundane, or under-appreciated. Maybe it is a simple moment, or maybe it is something grand; we can’t wait to see!

I went for a walk under a grey sky yesterday and had just driven off towards home, when I spotted something that told me when now was. I though it was quite a good fit for Jen’s challenge at the Daily Post.
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I case you can’t make it out, the clock commemorates Queen Victoria’s 60th Jubilee in 1897. Then I scrolled through my reader and came across this post from Bossymama, showing a much more sophisticated version, what a coincidence!

A Boxing Day stroll

It was no good, the clouds would not lift today, so I either had to wallow at home with chocolate or go for some fresh but grey air. The fresh air won and the chocolate wasn’t going anywhere😉 so a stroll in theTaddiforde Valley that runs along the university campus was the choice.

The campus is very quiet out of term and being Boxing Day the car parks were empty. We headed out from the lowest entrance, just off Prince of Wales road.

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It’s a popular spot with local walkers, and in summer the odd student has been spotted relaxing on the grass.

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Water is present throughout this short walk, the ponds through the valley were created in the 60’s and 70’s to look like natural watercourses, the ponds being fed from the Taddiforde  Brook. There are several varieties of water bird, but they heard Dido and Daisy coming and made themselves scarce.

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The Gunnera have given up for this year, but usually this late in the year they would have totally died back.

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We walk past a small stand of Silver Birch.

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The path meanders gently upwards, it’s a place for slowing down and being mindful.

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Sometimes the water rushes down in narrow gaps and sometimes it stagnates. In spring this area will be alive with tadpoles, frogs, toads and newts. The area is managed well to provide habitats for wildlife.

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The girls would like to know who lives there.

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We’ll cross this little bridge in a moment,

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and look back the way we came.

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Keeping our eyes open for little treasures.

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Grand eucalyptus with leaves draping and bark shedding in harmony. Do you see the tree fern in the background?

 

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The path swoops around, with lots of places for inquisitive dogs to disappear. uni16

The benches are a bit functional, but there are plenty and adequate for dog waiting!

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It looks a bit murky, hope they didn’t jump in.

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There’s some interesting growth.

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I do like a good fungi.

uni17 I don’t know if this is a blue hydrangea losing it’s colour very slowly or a variety that I’ve never seen, but it was a subtle beauty.

We’re going back down towards the first pond now, the wind is gusting quite loudly in the trees, and judging by the bird activity, they’re battening down the hatches in preparation for a storm.

Exeter University is one of the top ten in the country, attracting students from all over the world.The campus and the valley is an arboretum and botanical garden, of some 300 acres, and described by the Independent as ‘sublime’.  There are around 21,000 students in a city with a population of just 125,000, sometimes it feels as if they are taking over. They are certainly contributing to housing shortages, especially affordable ones, and an increase in multiple occupancy properties that are landlord owned. I hope the students appreciate their surroundings and I’d like to see more local people enjoying the grounds. It’s a place where the woods and countryside meets the city, and part of Exeter Green Circle.

I’m sharing my Boxing Day walk with Jo, last Monday she was walking the Algarve hills, I wonder where she’ll be this week.

 

A City Stroll at Christmas

Exeter has gone to town on the Christmas lights, they look really pretty, so as two of the G-babies are staying we popped down to see them late yesterday afternoon.

We started near Bedford Square.

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I knew there was a surprise for the children,

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The polar bears even let you share their space for a photo.

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I had to make a quick stop at Carlucchio’s, just along here,

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then we walked up the path beside the Roman wall , where every year local charities put up Christmas trees, stretching for about a hundred metres.

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Around the corner at the top finds us at the end of the shopping centre, I love the lights projected on the wall.

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I walked you down the mall a couple of weeks ago. So this time we went towards High Street past St Stephens.

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And a last view of Waterbeer Street before we took the tired girls home!
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I haven’t caught up with Jo since she returned form the sun, so I’m not sure if she’s walking this week.