21 April 2017

one day in dorset


Beyond,(Beyond) the Back Garden  

When you get the chance to explore some new territory, it's very hard to turn the offer down, even if it's a day trip. I didn't turn the offer down and glad I went. Although in hindsight, it would have been better to spend at least the night away, unfortunately, we didn't have that choice. So we endured over six hours of sitting on a coach to Dorset. At least two hours of which was being stuck in London traffic. Boy, it's awful. How a taxi driver has the tolerance to drive around the capital's clogged up streets amazes me. They are either amazingly patient or just plain stupid! 


dorset

Searching for Dinosaurs


The Jurassic coast, our destination, is a 96 mile stretch of coastline that starts close to Swanage, at Old Harry Rocks and weaves its way down to Exmouth, or more precisely Orcombe Point. During the Jurassic period, this part of the world was part of a tropical sea! You certainly can't say that now! Strangely or stupidly I've swum in the sea here, on a number of occasions, and it's bloody cold! Even in summer. Sea swimming is actually quite enjoyable and liberating until you get a mouthful of salty sea water, and then you curse and get out.  This trip thankfully didn't involve taking a dip in the sea, this was purely tourism at it's most basic. See a place, take photos, walk a bit, jump back on the bus and then repeat the process. Welcome to our day in Dorset.


Poole to Corfe Castle 


We started in Poole, and soon left! A quick glance out the coach window across the harbour was enough for the driver and the group. I actually quite like Poole, although I've never really had the chance to explore it properly. One day, one day. We moved on to take the chain ferry across Poole Harbour to the Purbeck Peninsula. I once got caught up at this ferry crossing by a traditional gipsy caravan, who had been refused entry onto the ferry. They decided to have a sit-down protest until the police arrived, who after an hour or two eventually managed to move them away. It's not often these days you can boast that you got delayed because of a horse and carriage! 


dorset


This time we got on the ferry without any fuss and weaved our way towards the majestic Corfe Castle. I may have mentioned this place before on these pages, it's worth mentioning again. Perched on a steep hill the remains of the castle dominate the landscape. It's worth investigating if you can. Climbing to it's highest point you get a real sense of its once splendid grandeur and what a fortress it must have been. The village is rather pleasant too, especially in the off-season. You can find a tiny museum that's worth a look. It's tucked away beneath the church and is a mini historical treasure trove. We didn't have much time, so a quick explore, some photos and back to the coach for the main event. 


Durdle Door

Head down the coastline a further 10 miles or so from Corfe, you'll come to Durdle Door arch. As far as I can remember, I've never visited this natural wonder before. I'm glad I have now. This archway in the cliffs is one of the UK's great works of natural art. The cliff tops to access it are just as spectacular, as was the sunset. 

Durdle Door is part of the Lulworth Estate and can be accessed from Lulworth Cove. We were dropped off at the other starting point, Durdle Door Holiday Park. This is closer and slightly easier to access the attraction. Whichever drop off point you choose, have your walking boots and be prepared to scale steep ascending and descending paths to get there. We walked back across the cliff tops to Lulworth Cove and found it an exhilarating experience. 

Sitting on top of the steep cliffs looking down on Durdle Door, you can only marvel at the beauty of the landscape and the English Channel. Helped by fine weather and unseasonably warm temperatures. It really is an inspiring place to visit and was the perfect finale to our day. Little did we know at the time that another 3-hour coach journey awaited!  


dorset

One Day in Dorset

The UK has countless wonderful places to visit, Durdle Door should be high on anyone's wanderlust list. Visiting the Jurassic coast may require a bit more thought and planning, but it won't disappoint. It's a magical place, where nature is the ruler and you can only sit and admire its beauty.  Whether it's one day in Dorset or three you will come away in wonder at just how pretty this part of the world is. 
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Have you been to Durdle Door or Corfe Castle? I'd love to know what you think.  
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7 April 2017

catching up with sidney

Sidney Takes Shape

'Did you know that squirrels can sneeze? Sidney’s a squirrel and he sneezes. He’s snivelling and sneezing all day, every day, and he just doesn’t know why.'
artwork
Sketch courtesy of Jess Distill
I wonder how many of you can remember last year? I know it's already April, time is flying by like a tent in a hurricane! Last year now seems just a hazy memory. I ask the question because towards the end of last year I wrote an article introducing you to a new friend, Sidney. (If you didn't read that article you can here - Proudly Introducing you to Next Years Project 

Since then we've had a few upheavals. Changes in the storyline and most importantly of all, loss of illustrator! Unfortunately, Emma (see the post I mentioned above,) had to pull out due to commissions and commitments. I honestly thought that was the end. Fear not, as everything is now on the up, and I'm very, very excited about how the project is moving forward. 

Sidney Reborn

The reason for this? Step up our new illustrator, Jess Distill, whose enthusiasm for the project and brilliant artwork feels a perfect fit and is bringing the story alive. Sidney is Reborn

Jess is one-third of folk group Said the Maiden (I may have mentioned them here before! Many times in fact. I will do again in time, watch this space!)  Jess is also an artist (multi-talented these musician folk), has a unique style and was willing, (not forced, I promise) to help me take this project forward, bringing her style and touch to the project. 

artwork
Sketch courtesy of Jess Distill

That's why we wanted to once again give you a sneaky peek at the sketches. Only a sneaky peek, though! At the top of the page, we have the latest incarnation of Sidney with his snotty rag. Integral to the story. Above we have the first image of one of the characters from the story Janice. Do you like them? It's going to be very exciting to see how these and the other characters develop. 



Moving Forward

At the moment Jess is playing around with colours, types of pen etc. Early results are amazing and it's great to see the characters I had in my head now coming to life. Janice is one of a number of key characters to the story. She's a wise squirrel, but can she help Sidney? I'll say no more at the moment. Don't want to spoil it for you. 



With the story more or less complete, it's all about the images, like what you see above, fonts, layout and making the decision on how to 'put it out there!' This is where Jess and myself need you!

Are you a self-published author or expert on getting books onto the shelves? Then we would greatly appreciate your advice, tips and do's and don'ts. Anything in fact. So please let's connect through the various social media channels. We, oh and Sidney would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for reading and supporting us. It's appreciated.

Keep a look out for more updates soon



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31 March 2017

supermoon

Supermoon 

Once in a Blue Moon, you'll get a Supermoon! An event that in 2017 will only take place in April, May, June and December. On the face of it, relatively rare. A couple of weeks back I witnessed a Supermoon of a different kind, one that will hopefully be less rare than the natural event, and become a part of your life as much as it has mine. Before we come to the main subject of this post, let's tidy up exactly what a supermoon is. 

The term 'Supermoon' was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle and is named as such when a new or full moon occurs and it's at its nearest orbit to the Earth. Did you know that these supermoons can cause some real physical effects? For example higher than usual tides. So is the Supermoon we're discussing here a perfect metaphor? Can this Supermoon cause a tidal wave of musical emotion? Quite possibly! 


So please, for our new post lets welcome - Supermoon the duo.

Picture courtesy of Oliver Cross Photography

At the Blue Moon

Before we get into the logistics let's firstly go back to a chilly Saturday night in The Blue Moon, Cambridge. The venue where Supermoon plied their musical chops and introduced themselves into the musical landscape, officially.  

The stage was set, neon lights adding to the ambience. The room filled with guests, expectant at the launch night of their first EP. Cambridge may have never seen two moons collide in such a way before! Or will again for that matter. 

With their vocal harmonies mixing beautifully among a set list of their own self-penned numbers and cover versions, the evening was a delightful musical mash-up of genres. Guitars and violin, with added beatbox sounds and double bass. Midway through there was even time for a bit of a folk hoedown! It's not often you'll see that and then a Guns & Roses cover on the same bill! It was a splendid event, a great way to launch their EP. 


Who is Supermoon?

Griff and Hannah make up the group. The project originally started out as a solo effort for Griff but clearly, Hannah's talents caught Griff's eyes and the project soon changed course. The duo is one-third of Said the Maiden, that's (Hannah Elizabeth) and one part of Freds House, that would be (Griff Jameson), of Freds House. With Hannah's folk background and Griff's quirky mix of pop and rock, it's a collaboration that's certainly an interesting mix. 

Picture courtesy of Oliver Cross Photography

Hit that Perfect Beat!

Their first batch of songs have just been released as an EP, so to give you a little taster, here's their first video (below). The other numbers follow in a similar laid back, acoustic way. It's simple but pleasantly sweet. Don't believe me?  Well, if you would like to purchase their EP you can go to Freds House website fredshousemusic.co.uk. and purchase it yourself. I'm sure they would like that very much!




Supporting Fresh Talent 

As you know, there is an abundance of fresh musical talent out there to discover. Whether it's from the folk world or the pop sphere. It's collaborations like this that help to show the depth of this talent. People are trying to make thoughtful music that isn't just bland pop music. That should be celebrated, shouldn't it? I do hope you will take a look, and hopefully, you'll carry on discovering other talented musicians and bands. If so then please tell me. Oh, and if you want to give Griff and Hannah a kind message, then you can always let them know on their facebook page! Supermoonduo

Thanks as always and keep a lookout for another collaboration group very soon. 
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