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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Odds and Sods June 2021

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas JULY. 05, 2021

May was a bit of a washout and June much better so I have manged to complete a few projects that I had set. Some minor outing and abouting, with relatives visiting, and us acting as tour guides, and then some specific photo trips. I managed two trips a couple of weeks apart to the nearby flower beach and a photo walk to Torquay. This means there are four flower beach posts in total and six parts to the Torquay trip.

Below on one of our sightseeing trips we got the small passenger ferry over to Salcombe, this was actually one of the less good days when we had to take refuge from the rain and curtail our walk, but the low cloud made for a moody view of the beach. This ferry is run by the local council and considered part of the public transport network. It runs 365 days a year weather permitting. Weather permitted on this occasion. It is an open boat so you take the rough with the smooth.

This doorway, below, caught my eye. It is an old warehouse in a back street of Salcombe. It was only after I took this warts and all photo that I realised there was a dead bird on the step.

"Warts and all" - Including features or qualities that are not appealing or attractive. The origin of this idiom is often attributed to Oliver Cromwell, who was Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland in the 1600s. It is said that when it came time for the artist Sir Peter Lely to paint his portrait, Cromwell told him to render his likeness “warts and all“.

Cromwell was controversial, so controversial in fact that he divided opinions fairly radically. He killed a king, ruled England as a dictator and got buried in Westminster Abbey. When the king's son returned to the throne Cromwell was dug up, as, even in death he was controversial. They hung his body in chains and beheaded his corpse, just to have the last laugh. He'd been in the ground two years, they were a messy bunch back then and definitely held grudges, they didn't even have hand sanitiser.

The last laugh- The satisfaction of ultimate triumph or success especially after being scorned or regarded as a failure. To finally get an advantage from an argument or disagreement, when it seemed that you would not.

The idiom have the last laugh is derived from a proverb: He who laughs last, last best (or loudest). This proverb may be found in a play known as The Christmas Prince, performed at Oxford College in 1608:

“Laugh on laugh on my freind / Hee laugheth best that laugheth to the end.”

As you can see, they couldn't spell for toffee back in 1608.

In my garden I have various succulents growing, I have never seen a flower until this year, and what an amazing flower it is. I love the word succulent and it is worth growing a few just to give you a reason to say it from time to time. A steak can be succulent and the word succulent makes your mouth water, which gives a clue to the naming of the plants. Succulents which often look a bit cabbage like, have very thick leaves which store water. They are plants highly evolved to survive in arid climates just like people in California. Californians have evolved to survive an arid climate by using dams to store water during dry periods, succulents have leaves. Succulents don't have lawns to water though, or golf courses to maintain. Water is something we're not short of around here so the succulents in my garden are a bit spoilt and now they are showing off.

The storage of water often gives succulent plants a more swollen or fleshy appearance than other plants, a characteristic known as succulence. Succulence is almost better than Succulent because it both starts and finishes with a hiss of water sprinkler. This all brings to mind one of the most evocative musical album titles of all time, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, by Joni Mitchell, an album title wholly dependent on the highly evolved drought resistant folk of California where she lived.

This is a Thalictrum and strangely after I took this photo one appeared on Photo Blog posted by Steven Seidell. I didn't realise that the common name is Meadow Rue. I grew this one from seed three years ago. From the same packet of seeds I have plants from white through pale pink to strong lavender in colour.

This is one of my favourites, Verbena. It grows quite tall on stick like stems that wave about in the breeze and have small bunches of miniature flowers on the ends. Insects love it.

Because the weather improved in June I had a couple of evenings when the high tide coincided with some lovely sunsets. In mid June the sun is at it's extreme journey north, so when looking out down the creek the sun sets behind the village on the right. In winter it sets more over the water. So I have several sunset images for June which are a bit unusual for being lit off to one side.

This is the view down the creek and in this shot there is a bit of light catching the clouds.

We also had several days of quite dramatic cloud patterns.

While waiting for the sun to set this Pied Wagtail landed on the slipway at the water's edge. It didn't stay still for long, hopping up and around but not taking off properly for a few minutes. So I had a go in very poor light to get a shot and this was the best of a bad lot.

This one was on my flower beach outing and was the view of the sea from the car park.

This is a hidden away little beach next to a golf club. Our neighbours are a font of all knowledge for the area and told us about it. At the back of the beach there is some erosion and a building and a road have collapsed onto the beach. This makes it a bit more visually exciting and it is still a lovely beach which hardly anyone knows about. There were only four other people and a dog there. I think the dog was with the people, I don't think it was on holiday or anything, going on some sort of canine package tour of South Devon beaches. Scenic spots to bury bones, 10 day special, with accommodation included, all the cats you can chase.

There were also some great rock formations.

This is future archaeology below, if it doesn't get washed away completely. There is a whole road layer in there complete with yellow "no parking" lines. You can just see yellow glimpses on the right of the tarmac layer.

I imagine some archaeologist in 2221 lying on their belly looking into a hole brushing sand away with a small paint brush and hearing them exclaim loudly, "look it's yellow". They would continue "We always find yellow and we believe yellow was a very special colour, we see it every time when revealing these black surfaces. Experts think it was related to religious offerings and these black surfaces were probably altars where sacrifices were offered to the deities of the time." They would probably reckon the millions of cigarette ends dug up were the burnt offerings too.

Just a few Torquay shots that escaped my Torquay posts, all six of them. You are probably a bit over Torquayed this month. But I couldn't let this one disappear into oblivion.

I end June appropriately, with a tribute to those who died in June 1944, thousands of whom used this concrete slipway in Torquay, built especially for the event, to join the largest sea going invasion force in history.

A total of 129,400 Allied infantry troops landed in Normandy.

The United States included 54,000 infantry troops and had 2,700 casualties.

Britain included 54,000 infantry troops and had 1,030 casualties.

Canada included 21,400 infantry troops and had 1,200 casualties.

Allied Airborne troops, including 4,000 glider troops, totalled 23,400 troops and had 3,999 casualties.

Approximate number of vehicles used included 3,000 landing craft, 2,500 other ships, 500 naval vessels, 20,000 land vehicles, and 13,000 aircraft.

By June 11 approximately 326,000 troops, 54,000 vehicles, 104,000 tons of supplies had landed.

By the end of June approximately 858,000 troops and 150,000 vehicles had landed.

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