Friday, 6 December 2013

Isles of Scilly November 2013

Its a little ironic that one of the most recent post on this blog was about another trip to the Isles of Scilly as that was a little over two years ago, another stark reminder of how remiss I have been in updating this site, or indeed, of writing anything original any where. I am calling this the tumblr effect. However, I thought that my most recent trip was worth reporting.
I recently spent three weeks working on the islands on a farm developing a new enterprise in duck production. This meant moving and installing a pre-fab unit to contain a slaughter house made from shipping containers and then the clearing of a some overgrown land to put up fencing for pens. As 'Farmer Dave' was away for some of the time I was working there we also had charge of the farms livestock, including a rather barrel like cow due to 'drop' her calf at any moment.

It was great to visit the Isles during the late autumn/winter. I was able to meet some of the locals who take on a much steadier pace of life in the winter. Most being employed, in the season, in the islands booming tourist trade. While I was there, with the exception of some reasonably hard core 'twitchers' tourists seemed to be largely in absence, so I felt that perhaps I was seeing behind the curtain of island life a little. Though the flower crop was just coming in to season it was not quite as 'sub tropical' as I had hoped, I can't complain, however, as we were blessed in the fact that after the first few days the weather went dry and continued to get better and better until the day we left, we were even seen working in shirt sleeves on the last few days, which I suppose is pretty good for November.

The crossing out was rough, I haven't experienced sea sickness since I was a small child but I am by no means confident about never having it again so as we lost sight of lands end and the boat began to roll me and my compatriots decided to descend below decks and get our heads down. I noted with some trepidation the green hue of the children sitting next to us but thankfully managed to get to sleep(isn) and our voyage, though extend to 3 hours (instead of the usual two and half) by the weather, passed largely un-eventfully. We disembarked on a fog bound St Marys around midday and it was straight to work.
I am using instagram for some of the pictures for this post. You can follow my Instagram account here

The Scillonian III in a foggy Hugh Town Harbour. Some what less 'bright' then when I was last here. I believe the guy in the blue IOS shirt is employed by the tourist board to 'photo bomb'.

The tractors on Scilly are mostly of this type which are, shall we say, a little smaller and more exposed than what I am used too (not the lack of windscreen, or any cab at all) but they suit to narrow lanes and tiny, ancient stone walled fields on the islands. She surly earned her keep over the next few weeks though.

Island Herefords at brunch.

Still wet, she did calf without assistance in less than an hour from showing first signs. But only after keeping us all thinking it was 'imminent' for more than a week.

Heading out for an evening feed up for the cattle.

Jack clearing brush with the tractor

Out of season tourist accommodation.

Top kit!
Straight(isn) lines by Jack and I

We had some really good fires which is one of my favourite sports.

I was on this project with my friend, Jack, who lives on one of the 'Off Islands'; Bryher and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit him and his girlfriend Kim, who is an amazing cook, while I was there.

The view across The Channel to a ruined fort on Tresco, taken standing on Kim and Jacks front door step. What a place to live!

Kims cookin'

This is Percy. He is wild.

Not a bad view on the boat back to work.

 Sight of lands end on the return voyage. A calmer trip!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Adder-ssing my long silence.

In an effort to overcome my year of silence on this blog I though I would see if I can get instagram to post pictures here. It seems to have worked so here is a picture of an adder, the first I have ever come across, which I almost jumped on.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Some Things I Have Done (2012)

I thought I would (should) make a post here. It is simply a pictographic record of some of the things I have seen and done since the last time I posted.

A few months ago I finally quit my bar job and accepted an offer of a full time farming position. These are pictures of my new 'office' and some of the creatures I share it with.

 Blackthorn Winter.

 This is Bill.

I have also been..
 Exploring the upper reaches of our estuary.

Learning to cook.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Autumn Tree Climbing.

Myself and a few others spent two days last weekend making the most of the exceptionally mild November we are having to make a couple of tree climbing expeditions. The trees having lost most of their leaves allowed rays of the low sun to pierce the canopy and cast a beautiful light on the carpet of crisp dry leaves.
 Jenny in the sun.



 Fury Feet.

Myself at the picnic spot.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

49° 55'N - 6° 19'W

In the last week of August as the summer came to an end, just before Helen went back to Med school for the Michaelmas term, we decided to take a few days to visit our friends, who have been pestering us for months (years) to visit them at their island home on The Scillys.
Leaving Devon at 4 am we arrived in Penzance early on a calm, clear, bright morning, the sea was flat, and having heard what an uncomfortable, sickness enduing crossing it can be on the Scillonian, we were thankful. Given that is have somewhat neglected to update this blog with any of my activities this summer I thought I would publish a few photos here.

Cloud bank over a flat calm Mounts Bay, Penzance.

The Scillonian in berth, Penzance Harbour. 

Rations from the excellent galley on the Scillonian.

As we drew in to The Islands, we stood on deck, the sun shone and a pod of porpoise made a brief appearance as they headed out in to the Channel. It was going to be a good day.

St Marys Harbour

Helen on Tresco.

Obligatory couple shot.

Helen and Kylie keep warm and dry (unlike poor Dave) on the crossing back from St Agnes after a visit to Britains most South Westerly Pub.

Kylie and Lily on 'Firethorn' on the way to see Jack and Kim on Bryher.

 Kylie and Dave in Scillonian Nation Dress (Wellies with anything/everything)

Jacko on a 'Dark 'n' Stormy' Night

We had a brilliant time, it's a truly amazing place, a rugged, weather beaten lump of granite stuck a few meter out of sea the turbulent spot where Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel mix. It was great to get a glimpse of island life, fishing and farming and wildlife and we are very thankful to have had knowledgeable, local hosts and guides.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Along the Enchanted Way

Along the Enchanted Way - William Blacker
 I am compelled by this book and others to sling on a pack, a pair of boots and set forth to a place where I can occupy myself simply with the cutting of hay, collection of apples and tending of livestock. Perhaps one day I will do it but until then I would heartily recommend this book to anyone who feels likewise.

Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor 11 February 1915 – 10 June 2011

Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor DSO OBE 11 February 1915 – 10 June 2011
I have just been reading, with great sadness, some of the many obituaries to Patrick ‘Paddy’ Leigh Fermor, perhaps my all time hero. Indeed this blog takes it name from the title of my favourite of his books: Between the Woods and the Water. Despite my great esteem for the man few of my peers or contemporaries seem ever to have heard of him. Having been expelled from public school and aged 18 Paddy decided to walk across Europe from The Hook of Holland through a number of countries along the Rhine and the Danube and over mountain ranges to Constantinople in Turkey. During WWII as a SOE officer he lead the mission which successfully pulled off the only successful kidnapping of a German general by ailed forces during the war and was subsequently was played by Dirk Bogarde in a Hollywood film about the event. Later in life he started his career as a writer documenting his many travels and adventures, he has been called Britains greatest travel writer by many critics and his books are writen in the most wonderful form of English I have ever come across, a real joy to read.
I’ll raise a glass to him tonight.