Thursday, September 24, 2009

On the Saturday, we went from Taunton west to Exmoor, which straddles Somerset and Devon and is amazing. I've never been to Exmoor so I thought this was a great opportunity to go there. Exmoor is incredible because you can go miles without seeing towns or houses which is uncommon in England and you drive through forest, gorseland and open grassland. We spotted a deserted house on the edge of Exmoor and we stopped briefly to have a quick look. It looked eerily gothic standing by a field. Then we made our way to the first place we wanted to visit: the Tarr Steps, near Dulverton in Somerset. The Tarr Steps is a bridge of sorts across the River Barle and is made of stones sitting on top of each other. It's not a large bridge or even what we would consider to be a bridge these days but it is in a very pretty setting. Legend has it that the bridge exists because someone made a bet with the Devil. Its age is uncertain with some people claiming it dates from 1000BC while others say that it is actually only as old as 1400 AD. Regardless, it was interesting to visit and the weather was absolutely perfect. Once we left Tarr, we made our way up north, through Exmoor, past people on a hunt and hunt saboteurs a little further from them. I was struck by how open this part of Exmoor was with huge swatches of open ground, looking sweeping and dramatic. It was such a contrast to the part of the moor down near the Tarr Steps. We even passed a few Exmoor ponies. I am going to save the second part of our day on Saturday for the next post because our trip to Lynton/ Lynmouth was also amazing, so here are a few photos of Exmoor and the Tarr Steps…

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Last year in August I went down to see Dave Morris in Taunton in Somerset and I got to see the stone circle at Stanton Drew, the hill fort at South Cadbury and I popped into Wells on the way home. Because it was a very enjoyable trip, I thought I'd do something similar this year. It was a month later and September is the last month before the clocks go back that I could make such a long journey (long in English terms anyway: about 160 miles from London to Taunton a distance that I know some Americans commute:)). So I set off on Friday morning on the M4 motorway, the road that takes you West from London to the West Country and made it to Bristol around 1pm where I had lunch with my brother Matthew who lives in Clifton in Bristol (although he's leaving there the beginning of next week). After I had lunch with him and his wife Sally, I drove a little way and left my car briefly at Clifton by the suspension bridge. I have visited the bridge before and I have taken photos there before but the light was great and it was en route to where I was going next, so I took some photos there. Then I got back in my car and drove over the bridge heading towards the M5, the motorway that goes west of Bristol, to Taunton and eventually to Exeter. I then drove to Portishead, which is west and a little north of the town centre and where the band of the same name come from. There's only one single track road into the place and I almost came unstuck when I had a tractor coming towards me. I then met up with comic writer Rob Williams and we chatted about writing while wandering around the marina in Portishead. The weather was perfect: bright and a bit windy. So after spending a little time there, I got back in the car and drove through the northern bits of Bristol (Clevedon, Weston in Gordano) which was very interesting and then I came out on the M5 where I headed for Taunton. Here are some photos I took in Portishead and Clifton…

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I got back from the West Country on Monday night and since I took about 1000 photos, I haven't had time to sort through them in order to post full entries. So while you wait for that, here's a few photos to tantalise you. The fields with hay are just off the road to Salisbury in the middle of nowhere, the cliffs are at the Valley of The Rocks in Lynton, north Devon and the bridge made of rocks is the Tarr Steps in Exmoor…

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Freelance work especially subbing has been bloody difficult over the past year but it is looking like it is starting to pick up again. And I've had a decent amount of writing over the last couple of months. I have written about stuff this year that I've never done before so that's fairly satisfying. To be honest, it wasn't fantastically easy before the recession. I do have nibbles for a few book projects although Studio Space 2 is proving to be rather difficult to get going. I may start to do interviews for it before we have a publisher. If anyone reading this who is a book or comic publisher and fancies publishing a book about 20 great comic artists and the way they work (John Romita Jr, Frank Quitely, Frazer Irving, Roger Langridge, John Paul Leon, Mike Kaluta, P Craig Russell and others), then please get in contact.
My next post will probably be a photo-filled one as it'll be after I get back from going to the West Country. Visiting Exmoor on Saturday which should be fun...

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Monday, September 07, 2009

On Friday, I went with Andy Colman and his friend Laurence, who is trained as a Blue Badge Guide to take visitors around the City of London, to Oxford and a little further West. He has just started operating as a guide with a vehicle so he can take people around places other than London and so this was a reccy to see how long it would take. I have been to Oxford countless times because it's not very far from London but I admit that we did go to a few places I'd never seen before like the spectacular Christchurch College, which has an amazing quad, huge unlike the other colleges in the city and a pretty spectacular Cathedral and also apparently was used in Harry Potter. The weather was pretty perfect: not too hot but with a few fluffy clouds. So here are a few photos of Oxford including the Bodleian Library exterior, Radcliffe Camera, Christchurch College and the famous Bridge of Sighs…

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