Dog on the Beach, West Sussex

Dog on the Beach, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex December 2020

After what has seemed like weeks of rain, yesterday, we had a few hours of sunshine, so I went to the beach. It was warm enough to sit on the pebbles and watch the waves for a couple of hours, so pretty mild for mid-December.

In the photo, the sea looks much flatter than it was, every so often there would be some quite large waves which arrived with a crash.

And then, large clouds formed and the sunshine stopped. Time to return to the car and drive home.

Thanksgiving, Shoreham Beach

Swimmers, Shoreham Beach November 2020

I was going to write about life on the beach – but then I noticed the date – and decided that I would write about Thanksgiving instead.

In the UK we tend to slowly take on things from the US – liablity lawyers, Adam Sandler – all the good stuff. But I do think we should get the British Museum to borrow Thanksgiving from the US and forget to return it – or take molds from it so we can cast our own.

I think in the UK we do lots of things well, but if we had this holiday, it would help us to recognise them too and then maybe when New Year’s Day comes around we wouldn’t feel quite so down.

In a moment I will go for a late night walk and think about things I should be grateful for – what would you choose?

Trees in Moonlight, West Sussex

Trees in Moonlight, Southwater, West Sussex November 2020

My first post of the second lockdown!

I’m back to walking in the park either early in the morning, or late at night, when sensible people are snug in bed.

I missed the full moon (which was smothered by thick cloud anyway), but I’m still pleased with the amount you can see. In reality, it was a really dark night, but in the photo, I think it almost feels like twilight. In the latest update, all you have to do is hold the phone up for a count of five – and hey presto! No need to blend photos because the Moon is so bright. I love it, but the ease makes me uneasy. A bit like satnav, rice cookers and booking flights – making something which required skill and judgement, fairly routine.

The Causeway, Horsham

View down The Causeway, Horsham, West Sussex October 2020

The Causeway is a street in the old town of Horsham. The Causeway runs from Carfax (which is the old centre of the town) to St Mary’s church. As I took this picture, a passerby stopped and commented that it was a view which hadn’t changed in hundreds of years. And he was probably right. On the left-hand side are a row of – probably Georgian – houses, where some of the town notables (Neville Duke – who set a flying world speed record and Hamond Innes – an author) lived.

Morning Walk, Shoreham Beach

Walking along the Beach, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex October 2020
Further Down the Beach, Shoreham Beach 2020

How do you feel about mornings?

When I was a student, there were mornings when I didn’t get up until almost lunchtime and being particularly self-aware, I didn’t think this was particularly strange. Then I joined the working world and waking at 6 o’clock for a commute to work. Then in later years, rising at 5 o’clock for an even longer commute to work, watching the Sun rise by the time I got there.

Yesterday, I had some business in Shoreham, so I got up extra early so I could go for a walk on the beach before my meeting. There was a clear sky and the air felt cool. In front of me I could see a couple who had come bundled up, apparently fresh from bed. If I were a little more social (and the times were a little more social too), would have liked to know a little more about them. But I didn’t, so they wandered off to the water’s edge and I walked along the beach to take some longshots of the waves breaking onto the shore.

Technical Details

I have taken photos of Shoreham Beach for a few weeks, trying different cameras to see which work best. For these photos I was using a Sony RX10. I used this because I wanted to be able to use a telephoto lens to “compress” the beach, which tends to make the waves look a little larger and more dramatic. Another benefit, is that it has the longest lens I own, so i could take photos of ships and yachts a little way out to sea. And lastly, because the camera is an all-in-one, I don’t have to change lenses, which on a beach is inviting trouble with sand and salt water. My only disappointment, is the flare on the second photo, which I am trying to convince myself adds atmosphere.

Kite Surfers, Shoreham Beach

Waves, Shreham Beach, West Sussex September 2020

As you can see, the weather has changed on Shoreham Beach, where before it was calm and inviting, now it is much stormier, with quite powerful waves.

In the 1970s, surfing and skateboarding were very popular and whever I came to the beach, I hoped to see young people carving up the waves – but I never did. The problem is, the beach, it is quite steep – so the waves break onto the shore, rather than further out – which is what you need for surfing!

Kite Surfers, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex September 2020

As you can see here though, the beach does get used for kite surfing.

Kite Surfer, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex September 2020

Shoreham Beach, West Sussex

Shoreham Beach, West Sussex September 2020

Shoreham Beach is a pedestrian bridge away from Shoreham-by-Sea and I suspect during storms, parts of it get a bit closer.

After a few glorious, almost July-like days, the weather has finally turned and begun to cool down. On this occasion, the tide was out, so I got to walk on sand for a change. Here, the tide makes a huge difference to the beach, the sea being 40m further up the beach at high tide (maybe higher). On this occasion, there were still plenty of paddleboarders cruising along the coast, but fewer bathers.

Paddle Boarders and Bathers, Shoreham Beach, West Sussex September 2020

Worthing Pier, West Sussex

Fishermen, Worthing Pier, West Sussex September 2020
View of Worthing Pier, West Sussex September 2020
Worthing Pier, West Sussex September 2020

It is strange how seasons change from the edges, the mornings and evenings are much cooler than they were mid-summer and obviously it gets darker much earlier. But as you can see, during the day it is still warm and might even be mistaken for a summer’s day.

Piers were a Victorian fad, with seaside towns competing to have the longest. As the years have passed, most have fallen into disrepair, but a few, such as Worthing Pier have remained. Given that they stand in the sea and are subject to storms, they require fairly continuous maintenance.

Worthing Beach from pier, West Sussex September 2020

Yachts, Shoreham Beach

Yachts, Shoreham Beach September 2020

After 6 months of staying at home, I have started exploring further afield. In this case, about 20 miles away – so not that far! I used to live in Shoreham-by-Sea 40 years ago and whenever I go back I am reminded of what it was like as a child. The church at the end of my road, remains pretty much as I remember it, but the whole place looks neater than I remember it, perhaps everywhere was a bit scruffier in the 1970s.

The weather in the morning has turned much cooler in the morning, so I can definitely tell that Autumn is coming. But for now the outdoor cafes are open, people are still going for morning swims in the sea, and as you can see, people are sailing!

Shoreham Beach, West Sussex

Early Morning, Shoreham Beach September 2020

In a change to my usual routine, this morning I drove to the beach, which is about half an hour from where I live. It was still quite cool, but the Sun was very bright, making it hard to take photos. As you can see, some people were in the water although it looked quite cold.

Shoreham’s beaches are quite steep pebble beaches, which give a distinctive sound as waves break quite close to the shore. It also makes it quite easy for waves to catch you unexpectedly if you are paddling in the shallows.