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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Seagull and chips at Swansea Bay

I couldn't believe my luck on Thursday - a sunny day. I had intended staying at home. I was due to take the cat to the PDSA on Friday morning, and knew I'd be getting a day ticket which would allow me to travel down to Gower. But Thursday was sunny, and for all I knew, Friday might have been a washout. So despite the extra expense, I headed out on Thursday.

First port of call was Dick Barton's chip shop in West Cross. I had no idea if the facilities in Rhossili would still be open, and I was hungry. Most of the chip shops in town or within easy walking distance, are of questionable quality, so I usually head for West Cross or Mumbles on the rare occasion I fancy a bag of chips.

I was quickly joined by some feathered friends. The most boisterous of these were some common gulls - common being operative word, judging by the infernal racket they made. They swooped down, and approached me by tottering across the grass, flapping their wings and keening pitifully, as if they hadn't eaten in a month.

"Oy, that's my chip, you poxy pigeon".

"See? See how big I can make myself? Be afraid. Be very afraid!"

This handsome-looking starling outwitted them all. Whilst the gulls were squabbling over chips, and the pigeons pecked around the crumbs which fell from the fray, this guy stuck close to me, so I was able to share my rissole and chips with him, without the bigger birds noticing.

With dinner taken care of, I hopped on a bus back to town and transferred onto the 118. I attempted to take some pics through the bus window. Pullman keep their buses clean enough to allow me to do this, which is more than can be said for First Cymru. My first snap was of Broadpool. I really must hijack someone to drive me out there soon, so I can get some decent pics.

There were some really stunning cloud formations around on Thursday, but most of my attempts to capture them, looking towards the moors of North Gower, were unsuccessful. This is the best shot, and it's none too wonderful.

Upon arriving at Rhossili, I started to think I was being followed that day, by a ragtag mob of avian spies. Birds seemed to flock all around me, wherever I went. That put paid to my theory that I was a cat in a former life! These jackdaws, like the birds at West Cross, proved really hard to photograph successfully. If I got too close, they took flight.

I was most amused by a conversation I heard behind me, between a group of elderly women.
"Ooh look at that oil on the beach", said one of them.
"Oh yes. There's terrible", said another.
I started to laugh. Can you see the "oil"? Before I could put them straight, another member of their party worked out that the "slicks" on the beach were nothing more sinister than shadows cast by the clouds.

I realised, as I looked towards Rhossili Down that, despite the warm, summery weather, that autumn is already upon us.

The sheep are starting to look quite fleecy - another sign that winter is getting nearer. That, and all the Christmas merchandise that appeared in the shops this week.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I spotted a couple of sheep actually enjoying the view for once. Actually, I think they were sunbathing.

As I sat in a warm spot on the cliffs, trying to keep out of the stiff Atlantic breeze, this bunch decided to do a sneak-past. They walked at a normal speed until they got within about ten feet of me. Then, they sped past, bleating, as if the devil was after them, returning to their previous casual amble, once they had put a comfortable distance between them and me. I felt like shouting "hello? it's not me who craps all over the cliffs, making the place stink", but I thought people might think I was mad.

I wish I knew more about geology. I often find myself studying rocks and cliffs, wondering how old they are, what they're composed of, and how or why they ended up looking the way they do. It must be so nice to have the expertise to read these clues to our planet's past.

It was at this point that my eyes started to water quite badly, thanks to the sunlight, saline air and rather vicious gale that was rising. Not even my sunglasses could protect me. So I decided to head for the next bus home, stopping for an ice cream on the way to the bus stop. However, when the Swansea-bound bus stopped at Port Eynon, it seemed a shame to be going home so early, so I go off. The cafes were still open, so if it was too windy, I could dive into one of them for a cuppa.


The Pig's Lip said...

That last seagull picture is hilarious. He looks a right character

Siani said...

I got it completely by accident, too. I was just snapping randomly at them, trying to eat my dinner and share it with them at the same time. Didn't realise how funny that shot was until I uploaded them all on to the laptop. Tell you what, though - birds are a nightmare to photograph without the right equipment.