Flying the Union Flag

Union FlagThere are two Union Flags on the seafront in front of the De La Warr Pavilion. They stand out as the contrast well with the white painted cuplolas they stand next to. They also stand out because I don’t think that we see enough of the Union Flag flying in the country. I’ve only visited the USA once, but one of my memories of the trip was seeing the Stars and Stripes flying everywhere. Literally everywhere.

Now there is probably a whole series of books that could be written about the politics and history of our flag, but it comes down to being proud of where you come from. This is Great Britain after all. It would be nice to see the flag more.Union Flag

Birds on a Wire

Birds on a WireI liked this view of birds on a wire. The telephone pole and wires created interesting angles in the frame. It was taken at Winchelsea Harbour.

But what does the phrase ‘bird on a wire’ actually refer to? The song written by Leonard Cohen seems to have coined the phrase first, or at least brought it to mainstream attention. There are two possible meanings – if the answers on a Google search can be considered definitive. The first is a method of trapping birds by applying glue to overhead wires. The second refers to a bird that has a wire attaching one if its legs to a perch. So whilst it might be able to fly, it can only go so far. I think the second is the more plausible definition, especially when considering the lyrics of Cohen’s song, which are below.

“Bird On The Wire”
Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.
If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.
Like a baby, stillborn,
like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me.
But I swear by this song
and by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee.
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, “You must not ask for so much.”
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”

Oh like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

There was of course the 1990 film starring Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson, but that is best forgotten!

Cloud Formations

Cloud FormationsSeveral hefty cloud formations moved across Sussex earlier this week. These were patchy however and blue skies appeared in between the showers. The sun shining on these great formations of cloud created interesting skyscapes. The one moving out over the Channel from Hastings had been delivering wintery showers. These were taken along Pett Level.

These clouds looked very dramatic. They had delivered wintry showers to Hastings during the day, so perhaps the cold and the wind and the heat from the sun affected how they formed. I think though that with a little imagination, you could imagine these photos depict a meteor striking the sea.

Both images can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.

Cloud Formations

Battle of Britain Memorial

Battle of Britain MemorialThe Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, Kent was built in 1993. The site is built on the White Cliffs and commands excellent views over the Channel and Folkestone. The memorial centre piece is a statue of a pilot, placed in the centre of a huge propeller created with paving stones. At the rear is a memorial wall with the names of all the ‘Few’ that were involved in the battle on the Allied side.Battle of Britain Memorial 3

A new visitor centre opened last year and offers an overview of the battle and a ‘Scramble’ experience to help people imagine what being a pilot was like during the battle, if a walk though and sound effects can ever achieve that.Battle of Britain Memorial 4

This photograph shows a great view of the area from above, and gives a good idea of the layout and design. Also on site are full size replicas of a Spitfire and Hurricane. The presence of the replica planes adds an important context to the memorial and provide a big impact on the children visiting the site.Battle of Britain Memorial

Each of these photos can be viewed full size on Flickr by clicking on them.

Storm Imogen

Storm Imogen

I didn’t have time to get down to the harbour arm to witness Storm Imogen smashing against it. Instead I briefly stopped down by Azure and took some photos down there. The tide was going out, which was fortunate as it was clear that the sea had been throwing shingle and other debris up onto the promenade at high tide.

The seagulls were on the shingle, keeping low to avoid the worst of the wind. They were reluctant to fly, but some noisy walking encouraged them to take off. I could only manage to take one photo at a time before the spray from the sea started to collect on my lens. So I had to bother the gulls several times before I had a shot I was happy with.

Storm Imogen

I’ve always like the contrast between the rigid and unyielding lines of Sidney Little’s concrete promenade and the sea. The straight lines and uniformity are at odds with the waves and the spray. Storm Imogen brought the two elements much closer together than usual.

Storm Imogen 3

These photos can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.

Storm Imogen


Emmanuel Boy Scouts

Emmanuel Church
Emmanuel Church

The original photograph used for this Now and Then was taken from the Hastings & St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser dated 12th October, 1916. It was accompanied by the following text.

“In the morning there was a large muster of the Emmanuel Boy Scouts, who attended a church parade at Emmanuel Church. At the conclusion of the service, at which the Rev Sholto officiated, ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ was very heartily sung, as well as the National Anthem. The Troop then formed up outside church under S. M. Rev C. E. Wheeler. The Emmanuel Boy Scouts received a new Troop Colour, presented by a Miss Fairweather. In making the presentation Miss Fairweather spoke very highly of the scouts, and made particular reference to their motto ‘be prepared’. A salute was smartly given and the scouts sang ‘God Save the King’ before marching back to headquarters, the new flag fluttering bravely in the wind.”

The two photographs used to create the image, and the final combined image are below. You can view the top image full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.

This image is part of a continuing series of Then and Now images I’ve created for East Sussex Council’s World War 1 commemoration website. The website is focussed on the contribution that the men and women of East Sussex made towards the war effort.
Emmanuel Church

Emmanuel Church

Emmanuel Church

The Flooded Rother

River RotherThe recent heavy rain has been too much for the river Rother, which has overflowed its banks. This flooding is not unusual, and happens every year. These photographs were taken near Wittersham, Kent.

River Rother

The morning was calm after the most recent rain moved off, leaving a patchy mist through which the sun struggled to shine. Of course these conditions are perfect for taking photographs.

River Rother

A family of swans were enjoying a morning swim, moving silently up the river and foraging for food. Looking up river, away from the rising sun, the scene looked much bleaker. The mist was thicker and made the landscape seem more mysterious. The grey mist made it appropriate for a black and white image.

River Rother

All of these images and more can be viewed on my Flicker page. Just click on them to go there.



Here are a couple of photos showing reflections of the clouds over St Leonard beach one calm evening. These were taken on the same day as the lugworming photos but have a different feel about them.

Both of these photos can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.Reflections

Sunset on the Sands

Camber Sands SunsetSunset at Camber Sands when the tide is out provides stunning views across towards Fairlight. There wasn’t any wind so the wet sand and standing water created lovely reflections. Rain was coming in from the west, and a bank of clouds were looming in the distance. This could be described as the calm before a storm, but that would be inaccurate as the weather that night couldn’t really be described as a storm. So it was the calm before the rain came.

Camber Sands Sunset

Hundreds of sea birds were wading at the water’s edge, enjoying the last few minutes of the day. There were several people on the beach too, walking their dogs or simply taking in the scenery.

These photographs of Camber Sands at sunset can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.

Camber Sands Sunset

A Walk on the Beach

West MarinaA walk on the beach is always nice but on certain days it can be magical. When this photo was taken the tide was at its lowest and there wasn’t a breath of wind. Usually there is the constant noise of the waves breaking on the shingle. The noise of the waves and shingle is one of dominant sensory inputs when you are on the beaches of Hastings and St Leonards. It is only because the sound is constant that no one that lives by the sea particularly notices it.

It was quiet on this day though. It’s strange how the absence of noise can make a familiar place seem different. You could hear the distant sound of traffic on the road and the occasional cry of a seagull. These sounds seemed muted though. The quiet emphasised the beauty of the scene with the clear reflections in the wet sand and still rock pools. The feeling of space. That’s why living by the sea is great.

The photo can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.