Free personal sand blasting at Weston Super Mare

This is my wife. You cannot see her face due to the automatic exposure control of my phone but I can assure you she is smiling and trying to stop herself being blown over by the wind.

For those of you unfamiliar with the UK, Weston-super-Mare (literally Weston on the sea) is a fairly nondescript seaside resort south of the mouth of the Bristol Channel. We decided to go there on the spur of the moment because the westerly winds were forecast to blow at 50 miles an hour. I love wind. This is a mere breeze compared with the 1200 miles an hour winds of frozen methane across Neptune but as we discovered when we arrived, even 50 miles an hour wind is something to experience.

On arrival we parked our car in a side road and noticed that there was no one on the promenade. Such was the force of the wind that it blew the petrol cap cover off time and time again so I had to re-park the car facing the other way. It required all my strength to push the door open to get out of the car. I had to get my feet on the ground and push the door at the same time.  Quite a feat. ha ha

We approached a restaurant on the promenade itself and on the way had the pleasure of our whole body being blasted by the fine sand which was being lifted off the beach. The only way I could proceed, and I was wearing glasses, was close my eyes, walk a few yards, and half open one eye to make sure I wasn’t going to bang into an obstruction. The sand went everywhere particularly in the hair and the ears. It piled up in the car parks. Goodness knows what it did to the innards of the cars. The sand  also made dunes along the pavements.

We finally made it into the establishment we found it was completely empty with the staff chatting to each other. I had a large latte and a freshly cooked scone with jam and cream. Françoise had a large nutty bar with a decaf tea all for £6.45. As a bonus we had a long chat with the waitress who was born and bred in Western and very proud of it.

When I am on a beach especially with the tide out I transform myself into a child very quickly probably due to association with many happy memories spent playing with sandcastles, making channels for water etc.  Today I made a mark  on the sand about 3 m from the rising tide and make a note how quickly the mark was inundated. I did this with great pleasure as did Françoise.  I think everyone should  become a child periodically.

I cannot recommend this resort for a holiday destination as the atmosphere is rather downbeat due to the large number of unemployed people who live there. I have nothing against unemployed people as such  but it is a bit tacky. Having said that, the Winter Gardens put on good shows not to mention business conferences. These buildings are currently  being upgraded. There are one or two good museums. Clevedon is nearby and worth a visit. You could regard it as a centre for visiting North Devon and you will find the prices of the bed and breakfasts reasonable and homely. I suggest you take a day trip there and see how you feel about it

The rest of this page is a pictorial illustration. My main point is to respect the power of the sea, the wind was blowing off the sea making the whole thing very spectacular. Also as a general point when traveling look out for notable items which are unusual and can be used for photographic purposes. The first example is just below.

an umbrella stand made out of cross sections of branches
a completely empty main promenade. The sand blasting area is beyond the building on the right. Alas, my camera did not capture the fine airborne sand
deceptively beautiful eh?  We could scarcely stand up straight with this lot
the line was drawn at 16.07 with the water 3 m away. It took 4 min to inundate these marks. The Bristol Channel by the way has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world.
This is a substantial movable barrier to keep the tides out
Stormy activity at high tide
this swimming pool on the right is designed to be inundated at high tide so the water is refreshed twice a day
now here is some clever design. Nature has weathered and hand carved this soft stone which they have put on hard stone blocks as part of the promenade defenses
quite difficult to walk along this pavement !
is that a Georgian postbox?
finally a photograph that I put in just because I’m proud of it. I am not making any particular point. You can see a long promontory to your left at the end of which is a  fort used 1871-1901 and 1940-1945



Do we care for our loved ones?


5 June 1664

(Lord’s day). About one in the morning I was knocked up by my mayds to come to my wife who is very ill. I rose, and from some cold she got to-day, or from something else, she is taken with great gripings, a looseness, and vomiting. I lay a while by her upon the bed, she being in great pain, poor wretch, but that being a little over I to bed again, and lay, and then up and to my office all the morning, setting matters to rights in some accounts and papers, and then to dinner, whither Mr. Shepley, late come to town, came to me, and after dinner and some pleasant discourse he went his way, being to go out of town to Huntington again to-morrow. So all the afternoon with my wife discoursing and talking, and in the evening to my office doing business, and then home to supper and to bed.

I have recently taken delivery via the omnipresent 24/7 “bookshop in the sky”Amazon of a book entitled “Samuel Pepys, the Unequalled Self”. It received the Whitbread book of the year prize and the author is Claire Tomalin. She has more or less absorbed the whole of Pepys’s life and presents it in an entertaining summary form in 450 pages or so. I’m getting a more and more accurate impression of this man, warts and all. Incidentally, this saying is supposed to have originated with Oliver Cromwell who was against any form of vanity and gave such instructions to his painter Sir Peter Lely when commissioning his portrait. Sir Peter was appointed as Charles II Principal Painter in Ordinary – how’s that for an arcane title?

I think it’s safe to say that Pepys would not have originated women’s liberation (actually a Rothschild idea) and it is clear that he sees it as almost his right to be intimate with various females single or married . It takes an extreme illness of his wife for him to condescend to join her in her bedroom. Here was I thinking that most people would actually sleep in the same bed but clearly not in this case. On this particular day he was dividing his time between his wife and his work.

This causes me to ponder whether in the dreadful phrase familiarity breeds contempt. I don’t think we really mean contempt I think we are talking about  taking someone for granted. Do we notice the subtle signs that they are not happy. I disagree with interview techniques asking them how they feel and so on. It is better to be the sort of person that the partner or colleague feels free to talk to and this is something not achieved by a single act of will by something built up over the years. It involves the T word ….trust, and knowing that someone cares. If you have to tell someone you care for them then you are a loser because you have not demonstrated it subliminally and continually.

passing clouds amidst a blue sky

My wife awoke this morning to feel a sense of frustration or shall we say a sense of everything not being well. Both of us are able to pick up the thoughts of other people but sometimes we get signals mixed up as you do where personal needs are involved. After 10 min constructive introspection we could find nothing out of order. I think sometimes we have what I call passing clouds where for no particular reason we feel down or dissociated and in my experience these feelings pass when we get on with something and focus on something outside ourselves. The human spirit is a tough old thing but we help it to function at its best by giving it something to do, a person to be involved with, a practical task, perhaps even just going for a walk. This is often sufficient to clear the air.