Porlock Country Fair on Exmoor

Porlock Country Show Motor Bike Display Team

Melody and I are the official photographers this year, the job didn’t come with a high viz jacket or even a pass.  Sometimes it would be handy as people wonder why you are aiming your camera at them and may even be a bit put out.  But in truth I never wore my ID at work, in the early days people just knew you, in later days sharing office accommodation in a call centre meant I was challenged from time to time, I guess it was rebellious of me.

Porlock Country Fair Punch and Judy show
Porlock Country Fair Punch and Judy show

I arrived early before opening to get some quiet shots.  Probably a bit too quiet as the photos make it look like no one was there, lesson learned for next time.  Continued to lunch time by which time I was just too hot to continue, this must have been the hottest day I have known in Porlock, usually a sea breeze keeps us comfortable while the rest of the country struggles on, but on this Saturday, it was continuous sun from morning to evening.

Melody and I returned later to take more pictures, the numerous stalls:

The races, with young children being very competitive, is that allowed nowadays?  Even some adults being a little reckless, especially in the backward race where one young man hit the ground very hard.

Porlock Country Fair races
Porlock Country Fair races

The dog show, no Monet this year, we decided it was just too hot for him and I think others had made the same decision, but we had all the favourites; waggiest tail, one of Monet’s specialities; dog most like it’s owner; children with their dogs; and other things I can’t remember.

I enjoyed taking photos of the musicians, I always do and it’s something that surprises me, I don’t have a great love for the music it is something else, but I enjoy it and that’s that.

Porlock Country Fair Trombone Player
Porlock Country Fair Trombone Player

The other thing I enjoy is taking action photos and the motorbike display was great, contained within the main arena I was able to use a medium zoom lens to capture the action.  I think that having used a video camera in the early days of video, pre the ability to edit on the PC, taught me to watch the action while taking pictures.  Anyway, I enjoy all manner of action photography and I am pleased with the results of the day, my favourite being before the start when the two riders are on top of two upturned skips just having a chat, I like the interaction, the moment, perhaps it’s that we connect with the riders as people and not just their skill.

Porlock Country Fair Motorcycle display
Porlock Country Fair Motorcycle display

In conclusion, this was a great day, organised well, great weather if not a bit hot, and lots to do and see.  Porlock really does put on many and varied events throughout the year and one must remember the organisers who work very hard towards this.  Since this we have had flower shows an antiques fair, but the next major event on Saturday 1st September is the annual Porlock Carnival, the last carnival in Exmoor National Park, definitely worth a visit!

I have posted more photographs of the day on our Facebook Page

A Birthday Picnic In Exmoor National Park

Birthday Picnic Exmoor - Melody and Monet enjoying the view over Exmoor

I will try to be more specific about the location, but would it mean anything and so much of Exmoor is just open moorland with no specific name.

We travelled the 8 miles or so in our MG, a 2003 TF, roof down sun shining and the throaty sound of the exhaust breaking the silence as we made our way up the toll road from Porlock.  I must do a video of the toll road, going up or down the views are lovely.  Not the quickest road, unless you compete in the annual special stage rally up the hill, but not for me in my nearly classic MG.

Driving the road from Porlock to Lynmouth is so special, the views from the hill overlooking the Bristol Channel and across to Wales are lovely, on this evening the sun was shining on the Welsh coast but also there were low clouds forming because of the high pressure.  A photo would have been good, but in truth some things just don’t work, and it is better to appreciate the scene than miss the moment.

We arrived, turning into the road leading to Foreland Point Lighthouse and parking on the grass overlooking the channel.  The area is currently one of my favourite and I have taken and am planning more photos from this location.

Visited by an Exmoor pony during my Birthday Picnic Exmoor -
Visited by an Exmoor pony during my Birthday Picnic Exmoor –

Greeted by the sound of seven Greyhounds, what a noise, our own Cockapoo, Monet, ignored them taking on an almost superior air as he raced around, pleased to be in the open.  Melody meanwhile looked nervously, expecting that any second seven Greyhounds would cover the 100 metres in record time to catch Monet, she is very protective and rightly so, Monet is a cheerful little dog, a bundle of fluff and not cut out for high speed pursuits.  But all was well, the dogs remained tethered and eventually left leaving us to walk and enjoy the peace and quiet and a solitary stallion that would have been worth a photo.  I tend to plan photos, which means I missed the spontaneous chance to photograph this lovely animal with a foreground of long bleached grasses and dark menacing sky behind, oh well, Melody reached for her iPhone and I look on horrified that it isn’t fitted with at least a 300mm lens and other essential camera adjustments.   As I sit here writing this Melody tells me she thinks the stallion may have been pregnant, I think she understands, but that is the thing with Melody she is always saying things to make me laugh.

Enjoying my Birthday Picnic Exmoor and being spoilt by Melody
Enjoying my Birthday Picnic Exmoor and being spoilt by Melody

Our evening meal was great, only forgot half of it this time, a few occasional flies visiting and being a nuisance, I think I upset them as just as we were finishing our meal millions, if not more, flying ants descended.  The car was covered, Melody and I were covered and that really brought our evening to an end, packing quickly we jumped in the car pursued across the moor by flying ants.  No match for an MG we return to Porlock having enjoyed another special evening in the best restaurant in the world.

 

Life of an Artist and Photographer in Exmoor National Park

Melody and David

Melody Hawtin B.A.Hons  – Artist

David Hawtin – Photographer

So here we go, Melody and David with some subjects to get started on.

  • Poetry
  • Art History
  • Exmoor National Park
  • The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Poetry

Melody has always written poems, something she inherited from her father, and something that goes hand in hand with her paintings and her whole connection with art.  One could say of Melody that she is an holistic artist, everything she does relates to her love and connection with art, so whether she is painting, taking photographs, decorating the home or even cooking a meal, all of these things and more involve her love of art and creativity.

Often, when Melody returns from her morning walk, she will have a few lines or verses of how the light, sky, sea or land has captured her imagination and it is in this that a painting may be forming within.

Melody has and underlying theme in her paintings of Hope and Restoration and this can also be seen within her poems, a heart for humanity and individuals, a message that the journey isn’t yet complete.

This is a growing selection of Melody’s poems and thoughts, just something more, another glimpse into Melody’s heart.  She hopes you enjoy the poems and her art.

Art History

Melody studied art at Winchester School of Art where she received her degree in studio and art history.  For Melody Art History is as important as painting, she has an extensive library which she reads and adds to regularly.  Art History is a major influence on Melody’s work and she will often spend weeks reading and studying before a new painting emerges.

Melody has several projects on the go and will be adding articles about various artists as the mood takes her.

Exmoor National Park

It’s where we live, the landscape and coastline are stunning, we have the second highest tide swings in the world and the sea cliffs are the tallest in England, combine that with the light and the colours of Exmoor and you have an idyllic home for any artist or photographer.

Come With Us To Exmoor - I just love the grouping of the red deer in this photo, it could not have been better posed
Come With Us To Exmoor – I just love the grouping of the red deer in this photo, it could not have been better posed
Purple Headed Mountain - landscape painting in oil on canvas
Purple Headed Mountain – landscape painting in oil on canvas

So, between us we have so much to share and enthuse about and as we embark on this we look forward to the journey.

The Lost Gardens Of Heligan

Set in Cornwall between St Austell and Mevagissey this is a lost and forgotten garden first established during the Victorian era.  We both love it, the restoration has opened a garden of interest, with walled kitchen garden and all the Victorian skill to grow fruit that just didn’t belong in this country.  Artistically there is so much to enjoy, wandering around, getting lost, finding yourself somewhere unexpected.

Finding A Friend - Melody finds a lost friend at Heligan
Finding A Friend – Melody finds a lost friend at Heligan
The Gardeners Tool Shed in The Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Gardeners Tool Shed in The Lost Gardens of Heligan

It is probably one of our favourite locations helped in that there is so much in the area, Charlestown that features often in the television series Poldark, The Roseland Peninsular with lovely coast also Melody has memories of places her father talked about, where he swam or visited as a boy.

We have now had three long stays at Heligan and have lots of photos and sketches to work on.