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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Odds and Sods February 2021

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas MARCH. 02, 2021

Odds and Sods, or "an assortment of small, miscellaneous items, especially those that are not especially important or valuable".

Because I am doing the 365 project I grab a camera whenever I go out each day. I never plan what I will photograph, so I choose a photo for my 365 post, but others get overlooked and potentially forgotten.

I take so many odds and sods of photos I decided to do an actual post each month for the odds and sods that are left over, thus encouraging me to go back and see what I missed.

I was going to say that I'll start close to home but close to home pretty much sums up the whole of February due to lockdown. I bought my mirrorless camera last year and I am really pleased with it, however I had begun to notice a lot of debris on the photos which I was increasingly having to "blemish remove". So I researched sensor cleaning.

I had cleaned my old SLR a couple of times over the years but always found it stressful and my natural reaction is don't fix it if it isn't broken so I tend not to mess with things. This needed action though and I am assuming because the sensor is not covered by a mirror it does lead to more dust getting on the surface.

I bought some cleaning swabs on Amazon and I already had the Eclipse optical cleaning fluid left over from before. The swabs have to be the right width for your sensor. They are sealed and single use.

Wow, they were easy to use and so successful. I now have no fear about cleaning the sensor and because it is mirrorless it is much easier to access, so there is a minus point and a plus point to having mirrorless. It is literally one wipe with fluid and one wipe dry, so I used two swabs. That's it.

Below is the extremely loud Robin that has colonised the garden opposite and is singing away to prove it.

These are all shots in and around the village, including the pub below. We have a provisional date for 12th April for pubs and restaurants to be allowed to serve food and drink outdoors. If all goes well Monday May 17th is indoor dining and I already have a table booked for our favourite restaurant.

8th March the schools reopen, and two people from different households can meet outside for recreation, which can include "a coffee on a bench".

29th March, people will be allowed to meet outside, either with one other household or within the "rule of six", including in private gardens.

The next batch of photos are in and around Kingsbridge the nearest town, where we have been walking regularly. This one is an old shop front of an agricultural supplies company.

This is an old doorway in a very narrow alleyway, filled in with some ill fitting stonework which I actually quite like because it is a reminder of what was there, with no attempt to hide it.

If the fish shop does not have enough fresh fish to display these glass ones will do the job. Lockdown and storms have meant that the fishing boats have not been going out as much, with all restaurants shut, demand has plummeted locally. They have always had fresh Salcombe Smokies though which are caught locally and smoked on the premises.

This mural below came as a real surprise because I have been down this road so many times but normally walking on the same side as the mural. For some reason we came the other way this time and there it was. I think it is really clever, but unfortunately the signature is a bit small so I cannot make out the artist's name.

These window murals have appeared in all the vacant shops in the High street, an effort by the local traders to keep the place looking alive and vibrant and to make the empty windows less depressing. There is a lot of building activity though and several shop fronts are covered in scaffolding having renovations done, so there are positive signs.

For the last two months of lockdown Devon and Cornwall have been heavily featured on TV on many different programmes showing the delights of holidaying here. If we thought last summer was busy it's going to be nothing compared to this one. It has been predicted that there will be more Staycations in Britain this year than ever, what with quarantines and limits on destinations and flights abroad. Rumours locally are that all accommodation starting in May, in this whole area, is already fully booked for the whole summer.

In our many enforced local walks I have been on the lookout for new things to photograph. Below I spotted this old lettering on the quayside that looks like it was written back in 1969 when this concrete was laid. I have enhanced it because it was quite faint. L J HILL ENGINEERING with a couple of signatures, I leave you to try and decipher them.

Below is a view of Salcombe from the other side of the water in Mill Bay. Salcombe is a property hotspot possibly the second most expensive town in the UK. I estimate you are looking at possibly 300 million pounds worth of property in this shot alone and this is just the edge of town.

Salcombe was a fishing village and the oldest houses in the town are miniscule fishermen's cottages built in rows joined to each other, that we call terraces. They were usually described as "two up two downs", which means exactly what it suggests, four rooms. An outside toilet, possibly a small yard at the back and usually no space at the front. These sell for anywhere up to a million depending on position. An apartment averages at a million and a detached house averages at 3.2 million, with larger properties going for up to 5 million. Building work and renovation has not stopped for the last year and some of the developments literally involve moving hillsides. When one major development stops another starts. These places have their own elevators, underground car parks and boat houses, carved out of the rock. It is what I call blank cheque property. Lockdown is a very profitable business.

On the beach at Mill Bay is a large ruined structure which I had noticed previously but never really thought much about. It looked like some sort of disused slipway, I thought maybe there was a lifeboat here once, but no, it is yet another of the alterations left behind by the US armed forces and relates to D-day.

On 29th September 1943 the American Navy arrived in Salcombe to establish a USN Advanced Amphibious Base, part of which involved the construction of a landing craft repair slipway in Mill Bay. By 1944, nearly 2000 Americans were based in the town, outnumbering it's depleted wartime population. They took over and occupied 60 properties. Landing craft were equipped and repaired here for later use in the D-day landings.

When you may have just paid £5 million for your holiday home you certainly don't want hawkers or pedlars on your doorstep.

Two local specialities.

The view of Burgh Island below, from Bolberry Down. You can clearly see the large white Art Deco hotel on the tip of the island, where Agatha Christie stayed and wrote some of her books. You can also see white breakers in a line between the island and the shore as the tide is about to reveal the causeway which accesses the island at low tide.

This is the beach at Strete Gate.

This is storm battered Beesands.

The freshwater ley at Beesands below, set back from the beach.

And we end up back at the creek.

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