Wednesday, 31 July 2013

A little bit of really good news....................I have been accepted for the summer exhibition ( in Rye, not the Royal Academy)

My entries have been accepted for the Rye Society of Artists Summer Exhibition 2013.

I have been waiting all week for the letter, wondering what my fate will be, and also wondering why I put a second class stamp on the envelope.

I am delighted.

Come and find out what I entered...........there will be a really great collection of work by the likes of photographer Peter Greenhalf and his brother Robert, oil paintings of Camber Sands and other local scenes by Fred Cuming RA, beautiful abstracted ladscape prints by print maker Davida Smith and many more.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Undercover at Camber Sands

Welcome to Pontins

It had to be done.

My good friend LP and I had been planning this for a year................we had discussed our outfits, and decided what cameras to use. I wanted to wear a lovely elasticated topped dress like everyone in Camber wears , but let myself down by failing to find time to buy one. LP did much better, in her pink jeans, colourful top and matching pink bag.

what I should have been wearing

A cloudy Saturday in late July was our nominated day for exploring what goes on behind the hedge at Pontins, Camber Sands. The hedge is high, and long.  Starlings like to flit in and out of it.

I have walked beside it many times, wondering what goes on behind.

As a child I longed to get behind the fancy railings of Butlins, in Bognor Regis.

A  dream unfulfilled.

No high hedges there. Just a tempting display of fun and games.

So whilst not necessarily fulfilling a dream, I was at last going to see what goes on behind closed doors.

Security on the gate at Pontins is tight. We spent the grand sum of £5 each for a day pass, left £10 deposit against the possibility that we might trash the place, and in we went.

It was quiet; uncannily so. Our  desire was to experience the place and take some photos, without getting thrown out. We certainly didn't look the part, being about 30 years too old, and without any kids in tow.

closed curtains means someone in residence

lonely chairs

We saw endless quadrants of apartments arranged in blocks with a shared central lawn.

We saw chairs; abandoned randomly. No sun loungers here.

pontins seagull

We saw seagulls standing , waiting for action, and rabbits hiding in the electricity substation.

And the staff quarters with a randomly fenced area of grass.

the main building in blue

We saw blue, and pink.

What we didn't see was much sign of any action. And the staff whom we asked about the bingo and quiz advertised on the days' activity programme were completely clueless about whether and where they might be taking place.

So we had a cup of coffee in the pub, and watched a young man win £70 on a slot machine in £1 coins. He was down on the morning, as we were too after spending a happy ten minutes on the penny falls.

We discovered the games room; upstairs and resembling a sauna.

We had a game of table tennis , and enjoyed the decor.

I shocked LP with my lack of ability to play chess ( years of being really stubborn to achieve that one)

but did win at table tennis ( years of playing in our garage and garden).

the games room

Suitably sweaty, we headed downstairs for some lunch.

Healthy eating not really an option. We weren't in the mood for pie or burger and chips, so headed back to the supermarket on site to find a sandwich.

meal deal?

We asked about the meal deal...............  no answers on that one. Just more blank faces.

We browsed the pound shop; some delightful Christmas earrings on sale, and the most amazing jewel encrusted emery boards took our fancy.

Back to the big blue building for Bingo.

Not a soul in the hall, and no-one to tell us anything at all.

A man did come in and turn the screen on and off............

And then left us alone in the empty room.

the 2.30 bingo session 

So we plodded off to the beach.

Where people were having fun, and we had a cup of tea or two and watched a seagull wait nonchalantly for chips at the Kit-Kat cafe..

We pondered over the safety regulations on the inflatables that were for sale at the beach. So many instructions, most of which completely fail  to be self explanatory ( bottom right).

'no protection from drowning'

We returned to camp, and realised that the punters were beginning to arrive. But by that time we were tired and our batteries had run out.

Time to escape................

looking out 

Back past the front gate

front entrance

and home for more tea.

We need to go back on a day when all the visitors are settled in and doing their thing. Saturday morning is change over day........... we at least know that now, which would probably explain why the place felt like a ghost town. We have worked out how to take pictures without getting arrested.

At this point LS had to wend her way home, so OH and I got to return later for what turned out to be a really fun evening of entertainment and magic for all the family, fantastically well run by the previously invisible 'blue - coats' . We had to laugh at the prize for the children's talent contest; a free holiday for all winners and runners-up at Pontins in Wales  in November !

OH wanted to stay up late for the Miss Pontins talent show, but I spoiled his fun and dragged him home for bed. 

Next time then. 

Thursday, 18 July 2013

you can take a horse to water.............

border detail at Sussex Prairie Garden

This weekend has been a prime example of how making images has to come from the good feelings that lie within.

On Saturday I made my first, long anticipated visit to the  Sussex Prairie Garden. As one who is addicted to grass, this was something I had been looking forward to for months. It is a truly beautiful garden created with passion by Paul and Pauline McBride, and inspired by the work of Piet Oudolf.

Piet is a well known Dutch garden designer, and some beautiful images of his style can be seen here. Paul and Pauline have created their own garden over six acres in the 'naturalistic' style that Piet champions.

Mostly the colours are very subtle, but there were occasional splashes of bright colour hiding amongst the swathes of grass and herbaceous perennials. One of the lovely things about the garden are the wood chip paths encouraging visitors to stray deep into the plantings of the wide beds.

What a shame then, that our visit was on a scorching hot, blue sky day, when the light was harsh and the heat was challenging.

bison on the prairie

I took some photos, but I know that I can do better. I will return when the conditions are more conducive to capturing the softness of the planting, when the light is lower in the sky, and the grasses are turning to silver and gold from their current shades of green.


So different from the mood that caught me later  the following day; a day when half of the world came to Camber Sands to enjoy the beach. After they had all gone home I took myself down to Rye Harbour for a stroll, where a welcome breeze broke the heat, and I set myself a little project of seeing how many different views I could make of the golf clubhouse in the distance, across the dunes. Golfers have money.............maybe they would spend some of it on my images?

rye golf club from rye harbour

Maybe not; I don't think they would appreciate my take on their clubhouse, but by experimenting I got into that zone ..........the one that was missing at the Prairie Gardens............

An old railway carriage at Rye harbour

new tarmac caught my eye

At high tide the fishing boats went off to sea

gone fishing

And the red hut popped up wherever I went

down low amongst the wild flowers

shooting the breeze

Two hours passed in blissful oblivion to the rest of the world, and I returned home with my spirits lifted by the sheer pleasure of having being out making images.