Sunrise, Penarth Pier

Sunrise Penarth PierI took this a couple of weeks ago, on a day when the spectacular sunrise coincided with me being out early to take Ronan to his childminder’s house. I’m using it as a bit of a test post: WordPress seems to be doing some funny things in terms of sharing posts on social media, and I wanted to try to find out what is happening. Although I’ve shared this around the place before, I thought that it was at least prettier to look at than a page full of Lorem Ipsum text.

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Chris Capus, Penarth

The best shopfront in Penarth, hands down. I particularly love the way the terrier and budgie on the adverts have been made out of the word “Spratt”. I’m so glad that buildings like this have survived for so long.


I’ve already tweeted a version of this picture, but I decided to post it here too, as I’m really rather pleased with it. It’s only an iPhone image, but the setting is so splendidly spooky that I think it’s worth a post.

This morning, we woke up to quite spectacular mist and fog. We live on the coast, so this isn’t unusual, but it is unusual for me to be scarcely able to see a few metres down the road when I come out of the house. On my way back from dropping Eoin at his childminder, I stopped on the Esplanade to see how the Pier was looking under the unusual weather conditions. Well-nigh invisible, it turns out, at least until you were right on top of it. I only had my phone with me, but I took some pictures while clambering precariously on top of one of the seafront benches in search of some much-needed extra height.

I enthusiastically shared my misty photographs online, but I felt that I could improve on them with a little bit of digital tweaking. A couple of filters later, and I feel I have an image which is closer to the eerie scene by the Pier.


Gratuitous photo post: St Augustine’s, Penarth, with lots of lens flare.

Winter sun, and all that jazzSorry: I know this isn’t a proper post as such. I’m really tired, and trying to work short rows out is making my head hurt. The photo itself is a bit better if you click to embiggen.

Mind you, it was a lovely day, and the church is a gorgeous one. John Betjeman gave it top marks out the churches in the local area, don’tcha know? The interior is beautiful: you can see more here.

With that, I’m heading off to bed, clutching a copy of Little Red in the City. I’m going to work this bust shaping out if it’s the last thing I do.

Spotted: possibly the best thing ever.

I dropped Eoin off at the childminder’s house this morning, and, before I went home and started work, I went for a walk. It was a beautiful morning, I had got my good camera back over the weekend… Surely there would be a few good opportunities for photographs?

I wasn’t wrong. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present: Penarth Dalek!

Exterminate! He (I’m making the massive assumption here that Daleks are male, largely based on the voice) is in somebody’s front garden up near Belle Vue Park, and he’s pretty spectacular. I’m not sure if he’s left over from Halloween, or if he’s some sort of scarecrow, designed to deter the real thing. Either way: he’s a Dalek in the front garden of a regular terraced house, and that’s something to celebrate.

I think he’s mostly made out of a compost bin, with quite a lot of plastic cups for his various nodules and lights. The only small design flaw is that his plunger attachment appears, inexplicably, to have been replaced with a small mop, but I suppose we can allow this to slide. After all, you can see that his egg-whisk-style laser is made from an actual egg whisk. Happy day!

If you will not be exterminated, you will be whisked!Well done, Dalek builder: I am sure you have made a lot of people very happy.

PS: I’ve just realised this is my 200th post: hurrah! I didn’t think I’d get this far. Clearly, I owe it all to Daleks,

Photomarathon 2013

I’m a bit late to the party on this one, as the Photomarathon was over two weeks ago, but I wanted to record my first attempt at a proper photography challenge. Having admired the results of previous Photomarathons on Emma’s lovely blog, and having tried unsuccessfully to enter last year (boy, those 400 spaces fill up quickly: don’t hang about, prospective 2014 marathoners!), I was pretty amazed that, this year, I not only managed to bag a place in the challenge, but also to take the requisite twelve photos in twelve hours. All this with a husband and toddler in tow, and with a minimum of fuss: there was only one very small tantrum from Eoin (who was tired) somewhere around photo number ten, and one from me (final photo: my plan to hang out under the pier and take cool perspective shots was scuppered by the fecking tide coming in).

I have no illusions about my chances: I’ve seen the winning photos for the last few years, and they’re all excellent. Also, I realised a few days after the challenge (why do I always suffer from this sort of esprit de l’escalier?) that all the highly-rated entries had a common theme linking all twelve photos, and weren’t just a series of random pictures of stuff in their house, their toddler, or, in one case, a seriously creepy plastic Krusty the Klown (coulrophobes, beware).

For what it’s worth, though, here are my entries: the gallery format crops them a bit, so click to embiggen if you’d like to see the whole entry.

For “A bit on the side”, I really have Eoin to thank: I was going to take a pedestrian-enough picture of a piece of cake perched on a saucer next to a cup of coffee, so we all trolled off to Barker, and Stephen and Eoin waited at a table while I queued up to get the goods. As I was doing so, I glanced out of the window, and spotted two ladies in orange Photomarathon wristbands taking – you’ve guessed it – exactly the same picture. Returning disconsolately to the table, and entirely out of ideas, I decided to take the photo anyway. After all, I could always delete it if something better came along. Eoin, however, had clocked the slice of millionaire’s shortbread: he persistently photobombed my every attempt to take the darned picture, desperate to get at the cake which, for some inexplicable reason, I was photographing while he was trying to get down to the serious business of eating it. In the end, I gave up: you can probably see the teethmarks in the chocolate in this picture (it was several tries in), but at least there’s some humour instead of a just boring old shot of a cake on a saucer.

Incidentally, that’s a proper Vesper Martini in the penultimate shot, and, if you’re reading this Paul, yes, that is one of the cocktail glasses you gave us! I did not get to drink it, though: Stephen polished it off while I was on the seafront, swearing impotently at the incoming tide, and desperately trying to think of an alternative subject for “A different perspective”. Mind you, he did make me another one when I got home from dropping my entries off, proudly clutching my certificate of completion. I suspect that a rather lovely cocktail will be my only prize in the Photomarathon, but it was great fun nonetheless: I can’t wait to try again next year.

Stormy: Literally, not Metaphorically

Yesterday’s was a bit of a venty post: I’m sorry to have offloaded on the world in general like that. I find that, if I don’t articulate things which have been preying on my mind, they just fester away and I feel worse. Getting things out in the open really seems to help, although I appreciate that, to an outsider, it may look very much the opposite. Regularly-scheduled nonsense will be back soon. In the meantime, this is how the beach was looking this morning:


Stormy sea 1All drama today is, thankfully,  courtesy of Mother Nature.

Winter morning light

Gulls looking a bit worried: did they leave the gas on? Steps down to the beachPassing boatBeautiful winter sunlightA beautiful crisp morning on the beach, for which I fortuitously remembered to bring the DSLR. The light was gorgeous: I haven’t tweaked these pictures at all, so you can see just how lovely the beach was looking. The gulls seem a little worried, though: the one the in the middle, in particular, looks as if he is wondering whether he left the gas on.