Bloomin’ Phaeocystis

I am thwarted with swims just recently!  decided to go for a swim on the Hoe yesterday evening – but there was a horrible brown slick of scum in the water.  I haven’t seen anything like this for yerrrs – not since South West Water spent zillions of pounds cleaning up the Sound.  I contacted the very helpful Environment Agency (hotline 0800 80 70 60) and reported it.  Within an hour Simon had phoned me back to say it was probably an algae bloom, but that it would be investigated.  This morning, I received a call from a Lovely Chap who said it was indeed phaeocystis, and was not toxic, although the depletion of oxygen caused by the build up could be harmful to marine creatures.  It can sometimes be whipped up into foam on windy days. So, if you go for a swim, you won’t catch anything, but it looks awful!

I sent off loads of invitations today – I suppose it’s till cheap at 50p per letter.  E-mail is free though!  I hope the sunshine keeps with us for Paul’s one-day exhibition on June 9th – the Hoe always looks stunning in the sun.  Paul is busy teaching today – two groups of lovely students, many of whom have become friends over the years. One or two have been coming to Paul’s classes since the eighties!  Paul certainly doesn’t have to worry about drop-outs.  Here is a picture of my efforts from Tuesday – great fun with minimum brush strokes.


Entertaining the lifeguards

I’ve cricked (sp? is this a word?) my neck, so today I shall be mostly looking forwards.

We watched the wonderful Eurovision Song Contest yesterday.  I was quite disappointed with the costumes – everyone seemed to be wearing a shade of grey, apart from the girl in an orange dress and the quirky doll dancers from Moldova at the very end.  I can’t fathom why Sweden won.  I was rooting for the Russian Nans, or France with her huge great train dress streaming  in the wind.  One of the bands did a funny little foot dance too – very charming!

I have been filming Paul sketching.  We decided to enjoy the sunshine on Thursday and went surfing at Bigbury.  When I say surfing, it was more like being dumped violently into the sea every 2 minutes.  Not a brilliant surf, but then, we probably entertained the lifeguards and we were in the sea, in the sunshine.  No complaints.  Anyway, the sketching went quite well!  Here’s a link to Paul  on YouTube:


Too new for a title

The sun has got his hat on!  Hip hip hip hooray!!

My Dad was very happy in the summer, when he could go to the beach and go swimming.  We used to spend quite a few days out at Jennycliff when I was little.  In fact I learnt to swim there when I was 7 and a quarter.  I had forgotten my blue and yellow rubber ring (the sort that needed a pin in the hole to stop the air getting out), became impatient with waiting to borrow my cousin Kathy’s red and yellow one and launched myself in.  I still remember the joy at being able to do it!  It was a lovely spot to swim when the tide was in – not so very lovely on a low tide with all the rocks to pick your way over.  It didn’t put my Dad off though!  He’d swim in just about anything.

Today my sister and I went swimming at Bovisand – she’s as nuts about the sea as me!  Here’s a painting Paul has just finished – a view of the Breakwater from Bovisand side.

My Aunty Glad said she used to swim from the first beach to the Breakwater – anyone out there ever done this?






Well… the weekend didn’t exactly go to plan.

Woke up on Saturday with The Gripes.  I tried to will myself better but by 2 o’clock I had made the decision that swimming across the Tamar and back would be a bad idea.  I was very disappointed.  I spent the day pining and taking slippery elm.

Sunday I managed to get up early and we both walked over to Laira Bridge to see the Olympic Torch Relay – I was lucky enough to actually touch the torch carried by Torchbearer Adam.  We watched a lot of the relay live on the internet.  I think it’s wonderful how close you can get to the flame.  I’m not comfortable with the big-name sponsors, but I guess the money has to come from somewhere!

Paul is busy at the Studio on the Barbican today, sorting out which pictures to send to the framers for the exhibition coming up.  We have posters to put up in various venues this week.  We both enjoy these exhibitions, even though the day can be a bit nerve-wracking as we have to set up the complete display in about two hours. Paul & I both enjoy a party and we love to see everyone coming in.  It’s a great encouragement to Paul when he sells work, and when he does, we know that our favourite charities are benefiting!

Win-win, as they say.

We could post you a card!

This week we have been drawing everything together and preparing for Paul’s one-day exhibition on Saturday June 9th.  This will be at the Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club on the Hoe and once again we will be supporting the Plymouth Branch of the RNLI.

This will be our third year at the Club – they are a very friendly and welcoming Club and it is a superb venue for displaying Paul’s work.  We will be sending out invitations by post and via e-mail very soon.  If you would like to receive an invitation via e-mail, please let us know – or we could post you a card!  Click on the  ’contact’ button on the website. Everyone is welcome, entry is free.

I had an exciting evening – I met triple jump gold medallist, Jonathan Edwards!  He is currently filming for the Olympic Torch Relay and happened upon our ‘just for fun’ event, which takes place on Saturday – swimming across the Tamar ahead of the Olympic flame!  So we all met for a dummy run on Thursday.  A couple of swimmers swam across and back, but most of us decided to leave that treat until Saturday.  I’m really not looking forward to battling the tide…….Here we are in all our glory:


I love Plymouth

Had a great weekend, beginning with a first class dinner on Friday at The Fisherman’s Arms.  It’s a cosy little pub tucked away beyond Lambhay Hill on the Barbican – not many people know it’s there.  They have good beer and a real fire.  We don’t often go out to eat, but we decided to spoil ourselves. 

On Saturday we drove out in the van to see some friends near Newton Ferrers.  The hedges near Puslinch Bridge are crammed with ramsons – the smell of them hits you as you drive along.  The flowers taste really peppery.

Sunday we took our bikes to the Hoe, along with a few thousand others.  No cars anywhere!  I swam out to the buoy and back and met channel swimmer Harriet in the water. I was surprised at how much warmer the sea is now. Then the ferry took us and our bikes to Royal William Yard – a jolly, 25 minute boat trip across the Sound for 3 quid!  I love Plymouth.

We dropped some paintings off at the Studio over the weekend.  We were quite excited for a while because a couple saw one of Paul’s paintings which he was carrying along New Street and loved it!  Here it is:

Sadly, it turned out to be too big for their new house. I hope they change their minds and come back.

Eiderdowns and Hot Water Bottles

I wish the weather would warm up a bit, said everyone.  We were the coldest we’ve ever been at the chalet and had to resort to eiderdowns and hot water bottles.  Just like I had the Sixties! Still it was worth it to be in such a beautiful place.  There were newts in the pond, fulmars in the cliffs, gannets out to sea and whitethroats in the brambles.  We saw a fleet of yachts racing down to Fowey and Falmouth, and then racing back again a couple of days later.  The bluebells and red campions were out on the paths and seapinks bursting everywhere.

I sowed some courgettes and runner beans the other day – they are finally bursting through in their little pots.  If I was a bean seed, I wouldn’t come out in this weather.

I enjoyed Paul’s class yesterday morning.  I was working in acrylics and painted a postcard sized picture of a bluebell from one of my photos. I expect I’m biased, but Paul is a gifted teacher and encourages us all.  We receive some sweet messages from his students, thanking him for his patient tuition.

And sometimes WINE!



Off to the cliff this evening!  We shall be soon perched there like  nesting fulmars.  Hoping for clear skies as there is a full moon this weekend.    Have bought loads of food, wine,  & whiskey – that’s all we need really!  I would love to see dolphins again.  A basking shark would be very special as I have never seen one.  We saw two seals playing just off Penlee Point once.  I expect there will be fulmars, and gannets and black backed gulls.  I wonder if the peregrines are back?  There could even be SWIFTS!

Things didn’t go quite according to plan at the allotment, although I did manage to make a cup of pepperminttea with my stove and new decorative kettle.   Instead of sowing beetroot & carrots I found myself sowing a wild flower meadow – all 1m² of it! There are also hundreds of forget-me-nots. I  hunted down some more escaping strawberry plants and dug up scores more of the dreaded dandelions. You could clean them of all the mud, roast them, grind them and turn them into coffee.

I’m not going to do that, though.



The water’s getting warmer

Paul is at the studio all day today.  I’ve seen some paintings of the Breakwater which are looking very fine.  One in particular has a beautiful sky.  These will probably go on display at Paul’s next exhibition on June 9th at the Corinthian Yacht Club.  We’re looking into ways of accepting cards for easier payment over the internet.

Off to the allotment in a minute!  I was on the waiting list for about 4 years before I finally was given one just down the road.  It is evolving in a very random manner. I could sit down and plan, but I go off at tangents very easily and literally get led down the garden path!  Today I shall sow carrots and beetroot and try and dig up some more dandelions, if my aches from Tuesday’s swim training allow.

I started swimming lessons years ago to get fit for surfing.  Now I’m also aiming to do more open water swimming.  Last October I swam round Burgh Island with a bunch of Wild Swimmers. I’ve a shiny new wetsuit to try out for the first time soon.  The water’s getting warmer – it’s official!

The Invasion of the Chickens

All four chickens were in the house today!  Paul will go bananas!  I think I’ve managed to persuade Pearl off her nest, with the help of an old cabbage stump.  She’s been out and about all afternoon, and hasn’t seemed interested in sitting at all.  Chickens don’t eat whilst they are broody, so the slug population in the garden has grown a bit over the last few weeks!

All of this sunny day the little voice has been calling to me, summoning me to the seaside.  I had to ignore it today as the house needs a bit of a spruce up after the invasion – not of the chickens – but of the Children at Easter.  It’s always great fun having them around, along with their friends and girlfriend/boyfriend.  The house is too quiet now. Time to pack up the Dreamcast games, wash all the bedding and tidy up a little.  Not too much though!

Had a great time at Paul’s art class yesterday, playing with acrylics.  Below is a photo of my painting – not too bad an effort I thought.  I enjoyed blending the colours of the sky and sea.  Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine, Dioxazine Purple – wonderful sounding names.  Another of my favourites is Alizirin Crimson.  And there is a Rose Madder….but we won’t go there…..