I realise I’ve not posted about our summer holiday as I usually do … I’ve been through my photos and selected a few to show you …

The highlights of the holiday were three, very different days.

One was in Sidmouth, during the folk festival. There is so much music – you hear it on the streets, through open windows, in every corner. We didn’t pay to go to any of the events, but all over the town folk simply settle down and play music … all ages and all styles. These four in particular were excellent …

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The festival makes provision for all ages and there are some fantastic children’s activities that take place in one of the local parks – my girls are too old now, but I stopped to watch an impromptu concert with about 30 kids playing different instruments, some obviously for the first time. No-one was shy, they were enjoying themselves too much to think about it!

In September my Mum will be 80. She’s not making any fuss at all about her birthday, but when asked about doing something to mark the occasion, she arranged for us all to join her in something she’s always wanted to do … visit the RNLI centre in Poole. We had a tour of the training centre and it was all fascinating. But best of all was the rescue simulator …

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This is the view from the bridge of a lifeboat on a rescue mission. It’s very realistic – they left the seas calm for us, but I know they can run some rough weather for a serious training exercise. It’s very strange – it’s only the background image that’s moving, but when the image moves up and down with the waves, the visual input has a very realistic effect on your sense of balance! Some of us were fortunate enough to have a go at the controls, hence I was able to take photos from the navigator’s viewpoint.

And finally, although it’s several months too early for DH’s birthday, we went shopping for his present. He took a less than satisfactory digital compact camera with him to Israel, but even with that he developed the habit of taking photos when out and about, so we set about finding him a better (and more reliable) camera to carry with him. That wasn’t his present – that was simply a replacement and improvement. For his present, while we were in the London Camera Exchange, we too a look at a spotting scope – he’s been getting quite serious about bird-watching recently :D

In the end we moved on to the RSPB and bought quite a basic model, including tripod. But it has transformed his birding skills. He finds it difficult to use binoculars, so has managed until now with a monocular with x8 magnification. Now he has access to x25 magnification! (We could have chosen something rather larger, but this is a good size to carry around). We didn’t, at the time have the adaptor for the camera to go with it, but we still managed a few experimental photos –

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A curlew, foraging in the banks at low tide

We’re not back in Seaton for the October half term, so we’ll have to make sure we visit over the winter when the waders are present in huge numbers, to make good use of the scope and adaptor (now we have it). I can’t wait to try it out in Topsham at the Bowling Green Marsh hide – there are some spectacular views there when the Avocets come.

It may be that we don’t have our holiday home in Seaton for very many more years – I shall be very sad to move on, perhaps heartbroken, but I dare say there are more birds out there to be found than I have ever yet seen. We’ll keep looking – and now it will be a little easier to be sure!