Liverpool. Sculptures on the beach

Sculpture on the beach

Antony Gormley’s sculptures on Crosby Beach are the main reason I wanted to go to Liverpool. “Another Place” is 100 life-sized cast iron figures looking out to sea. Some are on the beach and some submerged in the ocean, spanning 3km of the coast.

We turned up on a cool, sunny morning. The scene was peaceful. I reckon that on a dark and cloudy day, it would feel quite eerie. As it was, the motionless figures on the sand were a little bit spooky. The ones in the water looked like men wading out to drown.

Nevertheless, Crosby beach feels very local and the silent figures mingle with the township, their children and their pets. I’d love to go back for summer twilight.

~ Spotted Cow

Antony Gormley's Another Place

Crosby beach

Making sandcastles on Crosby beach

Sculpture tag

Sculpture with moss

 

 

 

British sunshine

At the beach

I was in Suffolk on the weekend and it was glorious weather for most of it.  Everyone was enjoying what might be the last of the British summer sunshine. The pebbly beach in Aldeburgh was relatively uncrowded, largely because the hoards flocked to the sandy beaches.  I have to say, the  benefits of a pebbly beach is that you don’t get sand in all your orifices !

When I look back, I smile and think “that was definitely a good day”.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today Was A Good Day

~ Spotted Cow

1. Misty day at the seaside

Making stones skip on the water

Juliann from Browsing The Atlas nominated me to do the Five Photos, Five Stories challenge. The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo (It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph) and then nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge. Accepting the challenge is entirely up to the person nominated, it is not a command. I nominate Wright Outta Nowhere because I love the tales that go with her expat-life images.

Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge

Picture 1/Story 1. 

I am consistently and wondrously surprised at the unflappability of English beachgoers. Not only do they have to contend with a pebbly beach. But one sunny Brighton day that turned misty, I noticed that everyone stayed on the beach while I started to make tracks to leave. There was no packing of the bags when the mist descended, not even when the temperature dropped. They stayed on with their picnics, carried on with their gossip and played at making pebbles skip in the sea. It’s hard core.

~ Spotted Cow

 

 

Pebbly beach

Brighton seafront

Did I mention that most English beaches are pebbly beaches? Brighton beaches are pebbly. It was one of the things that perplexed me when I came to live here because I didn’t think it was physically possible. My definition of beach – at the time – was sand and sea. Well, that has since shifted because my world is now broader, which is always a good thing.

~ Spotted Cow

Beach pebbles

View of Brighton Pier

Beach hut weather

Hove Huts

I was in Brighton for the Easter holidays and it was beach hut weather. England is a different country when the sun comes out and there was lots of glorious sunshine last week. The temperatures were still in the teens – or 50s & 60s in Fahrenheit – and those of hardier stock bared their limbs in t-shirts and shorts.

These beach huts are in Hove. The Hove Huts are on the seafront, but they sit on the promenade as opposed to on the beach, which is about 10 metres away. So, it’s a bit like sitting in a car park.

The English beach huts came about originally to preserve the modesty of Victorian ladies holidaying by the sea. These days they are luxuries that people aspire to, although you might wonder why. The Hove Huts are simple structures. They are the size of a small garden shed, with no electricity or amenities. All you can do in it is store your deck chairs and table, a Primus stove to make tea and your beach accessories. For this little piece of real estate, you would pay about £13,000 (or US$21,000) to own one. Amazing huh? More so, because they’re among the cheaper ones that you can find around the country.

~ Spotted Cow

Enjoying the sunshinePersonalising the beach hutSea view from Hove promenade

Cronulla

Cronulla ocean pool

I wanted to get in another “Greek swim” before coming back to London and so we got on the Illawarra train line all the way south to Cronulla. It’s a long way from where the folks live but we’d never been and thought we should get out of our comfort zone. Cronulla is the only one of Sydney’s beachside suburbs where the train runs all the way to the beach.

We were delighted to find a really lovely and local beach. It’s charm comes from it’s laid back-ness and there are few tourists. And there are two ocean pools! I love Sydney’s ocean pools because you can swim safely on the edge of the sea, with a wonderful view. I’ve never seen pools like these anywhere else.

When we had enough of the sun and sea, we went to get iced lattes at Grind, a quirky coffee shop that has been serving the area for over a decade … and a big wall of photos of their patrons saying “I’d rather be at Grind”.

~ Spotted Cow

Cronulla main beachCronulla sea view Girls on the edgeI'd rather be at Grindiced chai latte

“Greek” swim

Coogee beach

One of our favourite Sydney walks is the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk up the eastern city beaches. It’s an easy walk, the views are amazing, and there is a choice of beaches and cafes to stop off at along the way.

This trip, I did the walk with my beautiful Greek-Australian friend, M. We had a lot to catch up on and we started from the Coogee end – first with a mid-morning coffee and juice – with a view to finishing with a drink from the bar at the Bondi Icebergs at the other end.

The walk takes about 2 hours, and we broke it up with a stop at Bronte beach where I notched up my first swim of 2015. When I say swim, I mean a “Greek” swim, as M calls it. I wade into the sea up to my waist and when the waves come, I jump with them. There is no actual swimming in the technical sense!

~ Spotted Cow

Boats on the beach Bondi to Coogee walk Swimming coveBondi Icebergs and Bondi Beach

Dead Sea mud

Did you know that the Dead Sea is landlocked? It is a lake, and also the deepest hypersaline lake in the world.  On the shoreline, you’re sub-sea at 393m below sea level.

We did what you would expect, which is jump in the sea and try to swim … but the salinity makes you just bob along.  Don’t fight it. Get one of your friends to pose for the classic picture where they’re floating about reading the newspaper.  We forgot to do that and the beach was steep and a bit of a faff to get out again.  I took my one floaty picture of a random swimmer and jumped in.

Afterward we smeared our bodies with handfuls of therapeutic Dead Sea mud from large buckets sitting on the beach.  I’m sure it was someone’s idea of a joke. It’s a demon and a half washing the dried mud off !

~ Spotted Cow

Dead Sea mud Dead Sea shores Dead Sea floater  Dead Sea salt

In the slipstream of the President

President Obama was in Hawaii at the same time as us. Alright, so we didn’t hang out with America’s most famous Hawaiian, but we did visit Hanauma Bay several days after he and his family snorkelled there.

The reef is in shallow water and you can see the marine life easily. It was like watching an underwater circus, with shoals of fish weaving back and forth. The offset is that you have to be very careful about not destroying the coral. There is an information hut with snorkel hire.  It also had several big boards with pictures of sea life so that we could identify the sea slugs and the butterflyfish underwater. Or even the humuhumunukunukuapua’a, the reef triggerfish which is Hawaii’s state fish. Bit of a mouthful.

~ Spotted Cow

 Hanauma BaysnorkellingFish chartView of Koko Crater from Hanauma Bay

Front row seats at the surf

The biggest waves we saw in Hawaii were on Oahu’s North Shore at the Ehukai Beach Park, home of the Banzai Pipeline, supposedly the world’s deadliest wave.  The waves are biggest in the winter. They swell up and roll onto a shallow reef close to the water’s edge.

So, you can grab a coconut, make yourself a front row seat on the beach and watch the surfers do their thing. I held my breath every time one of them disappeared under the waves … until he re-surfaced again. You can feel the power of the surf standing ankle-deep in the water.  It’s difficult to believe that the sea is flat enough for snorkelling in the summer months.

If you’re hungry, stop by one of the string of shrimp shacks on the Kamehameha Highway through Kahuku. We went to Fumi’s. I had salt and pepper shrimp which was spicy and delicious … although it would’ve felt more like an authentic experience if it hadn’t been served in a white polystyrene box.

~ Spotted Cow

Surf Surfer Ehukai Beach Park

Ice cold coconut

Fumi's Shrimp Shack Salt & Pepper Shrimp

Hawaiiana. Surf & Hula.

We’ve just come back from Hawaii and found it deliciously exotic.

Two images typify Hawaii of the travel ads – beautiful beaches and hula girls.  Both of these are iconic and we even found their images on boxes of mints.

The ocean is everywhere and the waves were always big. But what we wanted to see were the barrel waves like those in the Hawaii Five-0 intro. We saw them on Oahu’s north shore.  They weren’t the giant 50 footers, but they were impressively awesome enough not to want to get in the water with the surfers. I know it sounds crazy, but we’ve not seen waves like this where we live in Sydney.

On Christmas Eve we went to a luau. It was touristy but so much fun. The girls in their vegetal finery – including coconut cup bikinis – fluttering their hips like brandishing birds of paradise. Buff men in sarongs and leaf anklets. The fire dancers were astounding – no burn marks ! Do they start out practising with full fire suits? The luau finished the evening with the Hawaiian Twelve Days of Christmas.

Numbah 12 Day of Christmas my tutu gave to me : 12 televisions, 11 missionaries, 10 cans of beer, 9 pounds of poi, 8 ukuleles, 7 shrimps a swimming, 6 hula lessons, 5 big fat pigs, 4 flower leis, 3 dried squid, 2 coconuts and one mynah bird in one papaya tree. Were you humming along?

Aloha. We’ll be back with a fair few more Hawaiian postcards. If you don’t want to miss out, make sure you leave your your email address on the front page.

 ~ Spotted Cow

Hula mints

Hawaii wavesHawaii surf

Hula