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Sunday, 28 May 2017

A trip to Skomer Island

Barry took us down to Pembrokeshire straight from work Thursday afternoon so that we would be at Martins Haven early to get tickets to Skomer Island.  It's always a worry as tickets can't be pre booked and there is always the chance that boats may be cancelled at the last minute.  We were lucky though and it turned out to be a glorious day on Skomer!  We were hoping to see the leucistic puffin that we had heard about and were thrilled that it made an appearance soon after we arrived and put on an amazing show, flying around the cliffs and landing for a while right in front of our hours so Gary was able to get some beautiful photographs.

I'm not sure if this leucism (if that's a word) affects his attractiveness to the females and whether he has bred successfully - for that matter I don't even know if he is a he!! He could be a she! If anyone knows let me know please.

As well as the unique white puffin there were of course thousands of puffins in regular plumage!  Most eggs haven't yet hatched so not many birds were seen with beakfulls of sand eels but we did spot a few.

Some lovely behaviour seen too - I love witnessing these special moments between a bonded pair.

All the above photos are taken by Gary - if you're on facebook just click the link to see more.

I love the landscape on Skomer and always take time to have a walk around the island - my favourite spot on the island being Skomer Head where the sea thrift makes for a spectacular sight.

Over the past few months I've been leaving my artwork in public places for someone to find and take home in the hope of spreading a little joy in this crazy world we live in.  After getting the boat back to the mainland I left this puffin watercolour in the car park for someone to find and take home as a souvenir of their day. Hopefully it is being enjoyed somewhere

This trip to Pembrokeshire was our second outing in Barry and I'm loving my little home from home.  Next trip will be to Rutland Water next week and then after that the Isle of Arran for my birthday weekend!  So much to look forward to!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Meet Barry!

Having a camper van is something I've dreamed of for years and I took the plunge this month and got one!  I've called the camper Barry which was my dad's name and I see it as a tribute to him and a way of doing something positive with what he left us. It felt the right thing to do and I know he would have approved. I've now got the freedom of being able to drop everything and escape to all sorts of wonderful places whenever I can and I intend on making the most of this new found freedom. We took our first trip in it at the weekend and drove up to Aviemore - a long journey from North Wales! Here's Barry parked up at the Uath Lochans car park in the Inshriach Forest, a beautiful spot.

We took a walk from here up to Farleitter Crag where we came across this stunning view over the lochans.

The next day it rained most of the day but this didn't stop us! We drove up to Chanonry Point where bottlenose dolphins come to feed on salmon on the rising tide.  I went for a walk down the beach and came across a delightful little path alongside the coastline which was lined with bluebells.  When I returned to Chanonry point the dolphins were in full flow feeding on the salmon and breaching.

Bottlenose dolphins at Chanonry point (photo taken by Gary Jones)

I had forgotten my waterproof trousers and was rather wet with all the rain so it was wonderful to just go back to the van, put the heating on, get changed and sit with my feet up with a cup of coffee listening to the rain splashing against the roof.

The next day was sunny and warm again and I went for a very early morning walk from Aviemore up Craigellachie which has stunning views over to the Cairngorm mountains.  Here is Holly on the way up - she's loving the new van too!

This week we are planning a trip down to Skomer Island, driving down after work and staying in the van so that we are ready for the morning boat over to Skomer Island so I'm sure there will be lots of puffin photos to show you after the trip!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Back to painting and blogging!

I've had a long break from the blog so I hope there are still people out there! I will get round to catching up with you all in blogland at some point and see what you've all been up to!  

I've only recently started painting regularly again and it feels good so I'd like to share some of what I've done with you all.  Birds are still my favourite thing to paint but I'm planning on painting more landscapes based on all the wonderful places I visit when out and about!  If you don't see any landscape paintings from me within a couple of months you have my permission to give me a  kick up the bum!

Something I've been meaning to try for a long time is painting in old books and I came across an old children's book when I was sorting out my dad's house after he passed away last year.  I kept hold of it with the view of painting on the printed pages and recently tried it out. Here are a few examples of what I've done so far....

They are great fun to do.  I also came across a lovely old organ book in a charity shop and have been painting in that too.  My daughters play the piano so I must get them to play the music to me while I'm painting to add another dimension to it!  

I've also had some lovely commisions to paint recently - butterflies, birds and bears which will be the subject of my next post. Enjoy the rest of the weekend whatever you are doing :-)