Winter visit to the beach

windy-weather-waxham

It’s been a hectic few weeks and it’s nearly the end of January and Christmas has faded into a hazy memory!! Finally, in a quiet moment I eventually uploaded photos from our visit to the beach on Christmas Day which is now a family tradition. This year we ignored the weather forecast of heavy grey skies with the odd shower and drove over to Waxham.

waxham-beach-sand

Naturally, as is often the way, the coast has its own weather and although it was very, very windy it was sunny skies and racing white clouds. It was delightfully refreshing. However, there was a downside and that was the occasional slap in the face from sand whipping along the shore. And, boy did it sting!

It seems each time I visit there are additions to and deletions from the sea wall graffiti. These new, free form ‘faces’?? may yet be filled with colour before the images are either painted over by the authorities or worn away by the winter waves.

update-waxham-graffiti

One poor little seal pup had missed the receding tide and was stranded on its own between the rocks at the top of the beach. I used a telephoto lens for this photo. The pup didn’t look too happy and I didn’t want to disturb it further by getting closer. We hoped all the dog walkers would keep their pets away too.

lost-seal

Immediately the other side of the sea defences, on this part of Norfolk’s east coast, farmland runs along the dunes. It looks a little odd to see sheep grazing on muddy earth, but they are actually grazing the brassica crop, which looks like it’s turnips.

sheep-waxham

Time to leave. Interestingly, and I’m not sure why but there were far fewer walkers this year than in previous years. Maybe the WRONG weather forecast had put people off!

leaving-waxham

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A dog day at the beach

Terrier-inquisitive

Sometimes you just need to get away from everything for a couple hours and let the wind blow away all the cobwebs in your head. The exposed east coast of Norfolk often has a ‘brisk’ breeze and I usually come back from a walk at Waxham feeling as though I’ve been somewhat sandblasted.

Doggie-friends

Most of the dogs at the beach seemed to thoroughly enjoy running around off the lead.

However, not all of them appreciated a soaking by an unexpectedly, energetic wave catching them off guard.

Not-enjoying-being-wet

For me, I’m re-energized and feel ready to carry on with the wall hanging and now have a clearer idea how to achieve the finished piece – eventually!

silk and mixed fibre wall hanging
Detail of work in progress. ‘The Disintegration of Hilarion’ – wall hanging made with painted silk, silk taffeta, cotton velvet and wool.

It was windy at the beach this Christmas

It-was-windy-at-the-beach-Christmas

It was misty too with sea spray, but not really, really cold. Ending 2015 with unseasonal warmth.

Walking-into-the-wind-Waxham

The weather may have been grey, but there was plenty of new colour!

Go-on-convince-me

And, finally, end of the year brings parties and celebrations and – a very Happy New Year to all.

Cheery-Happy-New-Year.jpg

Beside the seaside – sunny, but still surprisingly chilly

Bright-but-chilly

A quick drive over to a quiet place on the east coast of Norfolk for a little product photography didn’t go according to plan. Quite often the final week of May feels like summer, but last weekend we had a surprisingly chilly east wind. Growing up on this side of England you’d think I’d be used to it. Actually one year in my teens I remember being on the Suffolk coast when it snowed on the 3rd of June! So I should have known better,
but we were caught out.

Disappointingly, only got one useful image.

hand painted silk
Modelling hand painted silk scarf – Thistil Gold.
Waxham, Norfolk.
2015

Walking along Waxham Beach, Norfolk

Christmas-Waxham-dogsChristmas morning, it was clear skies and a light wind on the East Norfolk Coast, but when we crested the brow of the dunes the sea was unexpectedly rough.

Unexpectedly-rough

Rare-rollers

No Christmas swimmers, but plenty of dogs ran backwards and forwards into the retreating surf.

Playing-in-surf

Storm Surge & Local Sea Defences

Waxham Norfolk
Beautiful Waxham Beach
Just 7 miles up the coast from Hemsby
I have lived in East Anglia on and off since I was five years old and spent most of my childhood holidays on the coast not far from Aldeburgh and so it was with great anxiety I listened to the local radio last Thursday night as the predicted North Sea storm surge battered the coastline.

Hemsby collapsing house
House falls down into sea as cliff collapses – Hemsby, Norfolk
Photograph: Jeremy Durkin/www.photo-features.co.uk
The North Sea storm surge turned out to be the biggest for 60 years, but unlike the surge in 1953 when over 300 people died and 24,000 properties were flooded in this region, this time there was no loss of life. It wasn’t all good news though, about 1,000 properties were flooded and for a handful of people they had to endure the sight of their homes falling into the sea as the soft, sandy cliff at Hemsby collapsed.

wooden groynes Waxham
Wooden groynes and granite boulders extend out into the sea at Waxham.

Hemsby in Norfolk is a small coastal village just north of Great Yarmouth. The eastern coastline of East Anglia is a gentle undulating mixture of sand dunes, shingle beach and salt marshes. Every now and then the coast rises into low cliffs 10-15 metres above the sea. These cliffs are soft sandstone and easily eroded. Coastal erosion along East Anglia has been a constant problem for hundreds of years. The Suffolk town of Dunwich is now almost gone, disappearing by chunks into the sea. In the 11th century it was a town of over 3000 inhabitants but is now a small village of less 100 residents. The loss of property at Hemsby is just part of this ongoing process.

sea defences
Granite boulders (brought in – not local) wooden groynes and a concrete sea wall.

However, there is good news, after this most recent surge, it appears that the sea defences put in place since the 1953 disaster have mostly held and were effective. Seven miles up the coast from Hemsby is Waxham where some of these defences can be clearly seen.