15th July 2020

Citizan Seminar and a little boat story

We used this little boat as a reference image in a mini film for the Citizan seminar on Facebook and Instagram and all that. The boat has been with me for a long time now. It was found on a beach on the island of North Uist in the Western Isles. It was probably made locally as there are plenty of people who understand and often make full-sized boat. The design is very good and shows an understanding of boat balance and has a vertical prow which is a particular type of boat I think like a Brixham trawler or a Fifie, a type of boat made on the islands by a family called Stewarts (Grimsay) as well as others although the name suggests they have an origin on the East coast of Scotland in Fife. We did not get good weather from this outing from the East coast of the estuary!

A recording was made of the Citizan seminar and it can be found here: https://youtu.be/UWPO8zQPDYQ
Many thanks to Citizan for inviting us.

15th July 2020

Richard Hayley Lever and the raging Exe


I came across this painting by Richard Hayley Lever (Australian American 1875 – 1958) who painted in Exmouth in the early part of the 20th century. He has a lovely way with paint and his work would have been on trend at the time as he is quite a wild impressionist leaning towards expressionist at times. 

But what caught my eye in this picture was the raging currents tossing the boats on their moorings I think opposite Shelley beach (Shelly to some!). I think this is one of the Exe’s most awesome sites: The tide in full flow racing towards and across Bull Hill as the tide reaches it’s height possibly in a contrasting Westerley wind. You can experience the raw power of the sea from the quayside or Marina where Hayley Lever did the same many years ago.

He paints Exmouth quite a lot so must have lived in the town for a while. And his pictures are also a time-capsule showing a busy fishing town and lots more besides.

26th June 2020

Tidal carpet

Meditating on different perceptions of the estuary: sand and mud, east and west, upstream and downstream. It is true that a lot of the upper estuary is inaccessible unless you are a wading bird. It’s inaccessibility gives rise to caution and so is less popular, less visited and less well-known. I would have this picture as my screensaver but a Caribbean beach will be more popular and common. With it’s reflections and textures the muddier estuary is at least as stunning. That would be mud versus sand.

Then there is East/West: Would you rather have the sunset or the sunrise? Do those living in the west get up earlier than the East?

Then there is the railway which has the best view from the West side, one of the best train routes in the country, but the pay off is that the walker, cyclist or driver simply cannot see the estuary with all its reflections because of the enormous barrier that runs along from Dawlish Warren to Exminster: the railway itself. The railway may well be the major factor that has reduced housing on the West side. But there are other factors. Sun, land management (protection) and the railway. Things would certainly have been very different if Brunel’s bridge from Exmouth to Dawlish Warren had been built.

Send in your ruminationsobservations and questions! How do we feel about the vast estuary? Wasteland? Gloomy? Unique? Paradise?

26th May 2020

Tide Speed Caught!

On a very still dry day I recorded the speed of the tide. It looks like 5mm a minute from this clip. 

The surface tension for split seconds holds back the tide, bending the water. Resisting.

There is a book about this called: How to Read Water by Tristan Gooley. Fascinating, subtle, detailed. Good read while the fish aren’t biting!

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