I had seen this beached ship wreck from afar, and planned to walk out to it one day, to take a closer look. Today I did so.
I waited patiently for low tide, but even then had to take great care. The foreshore bed is damp and sticky, and if you stay too long in the one position you will find your feet being sucked down into the wet, cloying sand. I could understand why this particular part of the sea bed came to be the ship’s final resting place.
Approaching it, the first thing that strikes you is how large it is. The wishbone shape of the timbers is still evident – just. Once carved by craftsmen with great care, they are now left to rot in the elements, jutting up towards the sky like the rib cage on the carcass of a long dead dinosaur. As the wood softens and contracts, the mighty cast iron nails are being pushed from their sockets, now protruding so far they will soon surely tumble out upon the seaweed below.
In this undignified state, it is hard to imagine that this was once a brand new vessel – state of the art, lovingly created and maintained – a home and workplace for its crew. Who were they, and what was life like aboard? What experiences did they have, and what jokes and stories did they tell while at sea?
And yet, if you stand here and close your eyes, you can just about picture the scene on that fateful night, when the storms gathered and the guiding moonlight disappeared. You can sometimes hear upon the whistle of the sea winds the anguished cries about the fog bank that has suddenly appeared, the desperate commands to turn the vessel around, and the painful sobs, as the realisation dawns that it is all to no avail.
The old and the new are reflected in the sheer glass walls of Sheffield’s Winter Gardens, the scene representing a proud city’s post-industrial and cultural rebirth for the 21st century.
In the early evening, passengers wait for details of trains to be posted on the electronic display screens at the busy concourse in Waterloo Station, London. I climbed the escalator to the newly constructed balcony to get the vantage point for this photo. The scene reminded me of the Ray Davies song inspired by the very same place:
“Millions of people swarming like flies round Waterloo Underground…..”
The Anglesey Hotel dates from the 1830′s, when there were plans to develop this part of the Gosport peninsula in Hampshire as a spa resort. Its many past distinguished guests include the young Princess (later Queen) Victoria. Still in use as a hotel, it is here looking particularly fine in the Mayday sunshine. I took this photo from the beautifully maintained, Regency era Crescent Gardens, opposite.
In the old keep at Arundel Castle, Sussex, the early summer sun streams through stained glass, illuminating the ancient stone.
And so, in these austere times, a high street shop closes, its windows boarded up. The chipboard panels become a blank canvas for local artists, and the next day something wondrous appears. The mystery girl has arrived for all the inner city shoppers and local bedsit residents to enjoy! Who is the mystery girl, they ask, and from where did she come? Make the most of her, a wise sage says – soon the economy will pick up, and she will be gone, replaced by yet another mobile phone shop. But then that will be a sign of progress…will it not?
The Mystery Girl can be viewed on Albert Road, Southsea, UK, aka the home of cool
Emerging from the breath-sapping, spiralling, stone staircase, I walked out along the tall ramparts of this medieval castle. There was a steady, warm breeze against my face and, all around, commanding views of the English countryside, stretching out to meet the blue of the spring afternoon sky at the horizon. Very calm, very serene.
I decided to lean out over the battlements and photograph whatever was there, way down on the ground below. Here’s what I found: three men and a gun.