Yesterday I was talking about rockets blasting off into space, (well, Lupins in the garden in all reality) but today’s image is one of a much more gentle lift off. This is the ‘Bournemouth Eye’, a tethered balloon that offers summer viewing rides, from the town’s lovely gardens, over Bournemouth and the surrounding sea and landscape. In a way, this balloon really bugs me. Summer walks along the local beaches, cliff tops or fields can provide some spectacular vistas, but those looking towards Bournemouth are invariably punctuated by this red, white and blue ‘blob’ on the horizon – a very small gripe on what are generally otherwise perfect days out. As an aside, some very odd weather here today – when I first saw the balloon from about 2 miles away it was floating above a very low lying cloud layer with the basket actually in the cloud. By the time I got here to take photos, the sun was coming out. On my drive home, the balloon had disappeared up into the cloud again…weird!
Have you ever seen photos taken from the top of the take-off gantry of the Space Shuttle or Saturn 5 Rocket launches? There’s this spectacular image of a central column lifting vertically up; out from clouds of billowing smoke below. Well, here’s my garden version of that event……OK, you have to use your imagination a bit!!
Regular readers of this blog might just be able to recognise the lone runner in this shot taken from Hengistbury Head in Christchurch at sunset this evening. The beginning of the 8 mile curve of Christchurch Bay can be seen at the top left of the picture.
There are a profusion of Rhododendrons in our area; they are a non-native species and are seen by many as invasive and destructive to native habitat. For many years there has been a concerted effort to clear them from the New Forest and surrounding heathland, but they are very difficult to clear effectively; bursting back into life despite the harshest of treatments.
My goodness though, when the conditions are right and they all bloom at once it is a very impressive sight; banks and terraces of these beautiful shades are all around at the moment. This particular shrub in our garden perfectly illustrates the issues. I cut it back virtually to the ground just a few years ago – it is now above head height and producing blooms like this. Provided we can keep them under control (easier said than done!) they are a positive addition to the garden environment.
How would you represent what the word ‘summer’ means to you in a photo? As an Englishman with a love of sports, this photo gets pretty close as far as I’m concerned. It evokes a village green, the smell of newly mown grass, the sound of leather on willow, hearty shouts of ‘Howzat?’ and the honourable acceptance of the umpire’s decision, Afternoon tea and cucumber sandwiches made by the ‘ladies’ of the club, later followed by friendly banter, beer, sausage and mash; and all played with an outwardly gentle spirit of competition harbouring, in the main, a fierce will to win.
This being England, you have to be very lucky to play the game for a full day under a gloriously clear blue sky – today was such a summer’s day.
I’ve been photographing the rooms in our house today to provide advertising material for our rental agents. This one won’t make it to the brochure, but I liked the light and shadows that were created by the sun being filtered by the trees in the front garden and the wind through the open fan-light windows stirring the net curtains.
The cracking sound of leather on willow, the smell of newly mown grass, afternoon tea and sandwiches – the epitome of an English summer’s day.