open the curtains

and take a look out the window if you want to know what the weather's like


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Gylly and Me

Here’s something from the archives with a beachy theme and variable weather conditions – sort of appropriate for the August this year’s meteorology has served us I thought? It’s a series of snapshots of my relationship with my local beach during my time as an undergraduate several years ago now in Falmouth. Perhaps I should do a sequel some time? I’ve even managed to dig out some actual snapshots to go with. Comments and suggestions welcome as always.

I gravitated towards the beach for reassurance: not so much for the comfort of the familiar, but for the solidarity gleaned from feeling that familiarity with the place was imminent. I looked forward to learning what those rocks were, why there was so much seaweed, and why the sand made the soles of my feet so white that my pasty skin looked tanned in comparison. Continue reading

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Phycophilia

“Phycophily ~ phycophilic, phycophile
:: In biology, thriving in algae-rich habitats or living on algae”

— from Greek (φῦκος) phykos, “seaweed”; and (φιλία) -philia  “love”

— ‘Phycology’ is a branch of life science and often is regarded as a subdiscipline of botany

It is low tide. The upper beach is slimed with green algae, slick to the rocks and slippery, after ten rainy days in a row. Enteromorpha, I note in my book, reassured at the ease with which I can recall names I’d thought I’d forgotten. I’m attempting to map the shoreline by tracing the less definable perimeter where  the sea and land meet ecologically.

Anywhere that two different habitats converge is marked by changes in flora and fauna. Often a transitional area will include elements of both habitats, intermingling in subtly increasing and decreasing abundances. On rocky shorelines like this one, this ecological zonation is clearest in the seaweed populations. Continue reading


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River Fal 2: Docks and Monsters

– Falmouth Docks (where?)

Early morning. Falmouth is uncharacteristically still, except for the docks who make their presence known through metallic clanks and rumblings, the whine of a siren, the baseline whirr of an engine throbbing low as the subconscious. Like the estuary on which their livelihood depends, it’s doubtful whether the docks ever sleep at all. As one of the major ports in the south west Falmouth plays host to an international clientele with nautical visitors from all over the world. Lian Xing Hu, Flinterbright, Chambulk Savannah, Mar Elena, Triton Osprey: floating hulks of steel from China, Norway, Spain incoming and outgoing at all hours of the day and night for refitting and refuelling, making best use of rise and fall in the water levels in order to navigate the narrow channel of the harbour entrance. Continue reading