Opportunities for snap-happiness

There are few things I like more than taking photos.  There are plenty of things I like equally, like drinking tea, having friends round, washing the car and so on, but on a sliding scale they are all pretty near the top.  And recently I have had a plethora of occasions to dust off my camera and capture the passing moments, each one with its own shade of significance.

The week before Easter we went to Torquay to visit my family.  My little brother was in the annual school musical – an adaptation of Guys And Dolls – and it was superb.  That was on the Friday evening.  We left Samuel with my parents while we went to the theatre, figuring that neither audience nor cast would appreciate the addition of his vocals to the performance.  It was only the second time we’d left him with someone else while we went out, so it was at the same time exciting and worrisome.  Thankfully my Mum has had plenty of experience of looking after children, with three of her own children and a career in childcare, so all was well!  And all of that is by way of introduction really, because I didn’t take any photos that whole day.  That started the next day.

Saturday was beautiful and sunny, so I requested a trip out to Cockington, a picturesque little village just off the coast with a manor house and gardens.  Many a happy Sunday afternoon had been spent their in my youth, and it was wonderful to be able to revisit the place as a family.  The sun shone, and I took lots of photos, some of which you can take a gander at if you happen to be a friend of mine on Facebook.  The photos I’m most pleased with include a couple taken on my phone of Ellie and Peter in a tree, a gnarled old tree next to a little church (which curiously didn’t make it into my Facebook album), some daffodils, and four people pushing a pram up a hill.  That day also saw my first experience of The Drum Inn, where we all had a scrummy late lunch.  It was also the day Samuel held a bottle all by himself.  Okay, so it was a little staged and it didn’t last long, but he held it long enough for me to grab my camera and capture the moment.

Whizzing forward a week, and we get the next instalment of family fun.  After the Good Friday service at church we loaded up the car and drove to Gloucester to see Ellie’s family and friends.  It was great to see people again, and everyone was enthralled to see how quickly Samuel is growing and developing.  In fact, at one point we went for a walk round Highnam to get Samuel to sleep (which he usually does in the pram), but that plan failed when Ellie’s Dad started knocking on doors to show off his grandson.  Later in the day some of Ellie’s school friends came to visit, and they all had a cuddle.  And yes, photos were taken there too.

Then, on Sunday, we hopped in the car again and drove down to Torquay to see my parents again.  Well, actually it was more to see my little brother Peter, who is not very little at all any more, but who was being baptised that evening.  It was such a joyous occasion, and I’m so proud of Peter.  It was wonderful to hear his testimony and learn about his journey of faith to this point, and it was such a special evening.  Photos, both dry and soggy, are now on Facebook.

Monday, being a bank holiday, found us all still in Torquay, surrounded by great grandchildren, grandchildren, children, siblings, other halves, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents (depending on your perspective and family relationship).  And what better way to enjoy being together than to pile into a couple of cars and head off to Dartmoor.  My Dad led the way to Hound Tor, where we wrapped up against the wind (thankfully it wasn’t raining or particularly cold) and climbed to the peak.  The more energetic of us, and me, even did some rock clambering.  Peter and his friend were the first to the very top I think, while the old folks wusses wiser generations stayed on firmer ground and enjoyed the view.  I took a rather nice series of photos from one elevation which I later turned into a stunning panorama (courtesy of Photoshop), and that’s viewable in full resolution on Flickr if you’re interested.  Back at the bottom of the tor we enjoyed some cups of tea and an assortment of cakes before heading back home for another cup of tea and a sit down.

And if that wasn’t enough excitement, our friends Phill and Phil came to visit us Thursday to Saturday of this week.  It was lovely to see them and catch up on news and suchlike.  On Friday, it being such a beautifully sunny day again, we took the opportunity to see the great outdoors, and found ourselves at King Alfred’s Tower.  It’s a ‘folly’, which basically means the guy who commissioned it did it for a laugh.  It’s a tower in the middle of a wood.  It serves no purpose whatsoever.  It’s not a lookout, it has no rooms, just a spiral staircase up to the top.  A status symbol of the rich of yesteryear, if you will.  But besides its being utterly unnecessary, and triangular, and being a tiresome 205 steps to the top, the view is incredible.  On a good day – and that it was on Friday – you can see three counties from the top.  Admittedly, this being the middle of the Somerset countryside, there isn’t much variety in the view, most of it being farmland and woodland, but it was stunning nonetheless.  Again, photos were taken, and the resulting panoramas are also on Flickr.

I have spent some time today going through this sudden influx of photographic memories, uploading the good stuff to the web.  If you’re lucky enough to be a friend of mine on Facebook, you may already have seen the albums.  If not, you’ll find a few in my Flickr photostream.  My camera may be a few years old now, but I’m pleased with the results of my happy-snapping.

In other news, I took advantage of the continued good weather and did a little gardening.  The first job was to try to remove the tree that fell over in high(ish) winds a few weeks ago.  Technically the landlord should be getting someone to deal with it, but we’ve not heard anything so far, so I set about it with a saw myself.  I chopped three small branches off, before realising the whole tree could be just lifted out of the ground.  As far as I can tell, there are no roots.  No wonder it fell over.  So today I plucked a whole tree out of the ground and put it on the patio.  I took a photo on my phone, and that’s now on Flickr too.

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