Tuesday, June 21, 2011

May in Manorbier

Well, it is now nearly the end of June- Midsummer Day as I start writing this- but I spent all May house/dog sitting for artist Philip Sutton and his wife Heather in Manorbier, in South West Wales. I have written of this Paradise previously- their house surrounded by wondrous trees, flowers, birds and even their own delectable meadow; a short walk through the small village, down a lane, past a castle and there is the sea! What more could you want? So I had a blissful time, drawing and painting the trees and meadow and photographing them all as well as the sea...

Having five weeks of rich experiences, I will divide this post into four parts:


Now, as I'm writing about May in Manorbier, it is only right that I should start with May blossom- so here it is, at the top of the meadow, first in the morning and then in the evening, lit with the sun's last "glow":

Here, we see the last of the sunset through a Sycamore tree...

And now we come to some of my very favourite Sycamore trees, that I am totally obsessed with, loving their strange, sculptural qualities:

And lurking under this last magnificent Sycamore, we find Le Maestro- artist Philip Sutton- at work!

This pretty little Apple tree was in blossom in the Allotment- behind it you see the meadow:

These Bay trees were recently pruned to give more light in the house, and now remind me of Italian paintings:


Now to see the wonders of Manorbier's beach :

I spoke of the Sycamores being sculptural, but what could be more sculptural than some of these extraordinary, ancient, folded and eroded Old Red Sandstone rocks, of layers of Devonian mudstone and thin sandstone (Click here for more details) :


Still on the beach, here the freshwater stream approaches the sea:

and then makes patterns in the sand:

And now patterns are formed by the sea water:

The excitement of walking down to the beach every day was that moment of anticipation, not knowing exactly what magical sights you would see. You were very rarely disappointed.


Walking back, away from the sea, there were many charming wild flowers; here are a few of them:

And the odd butterfly- here a Tortoiseshell enjoys a hawksweed flower:

Back in the garden, a Red Admiral rests on the bark of an Elm tree:

The Meadow was just beginning to bloom:

Plantains delighted me:

Leaving the meadow, in the garden are the aromatic flowers of a Myrtle tree:

In the Allotment, the Chard gives one another visual shock:

Poppy's are also always rewarding:

Though this next pink one was actually in a neighbour's garden:

but not this pink rose:

I have already mentioned how important the birds are there- they have an elaborate array of nut-baskets etc which are constantly fully occupied! As with the sea, it is always exciting to watch. While I was there, I was delighted to see this Greater Spotted Woodpecker (apologies for the poor photo- he caught me unawares!) :

This pair of Goldfinches were regularly there, later bringing their fledgelings to a nearby tree (I always love the fact that a flock of these brilliantly coloured birds is called a "charm"- they are undeniably charming! ):

I will end this post with a bird who forever both charms and moves me with his most melodious song- the Blackbird. It is always the Blackbird's song that I miss most when I am in Los Angeles and it was the Blackbird's song that contributed to my bliss as I stood in the Meadow painting the wildflowers and feeling I was in Paradise:

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