Monday, 12 December 2011


I've long wanted to climb the steps (all 271 of them) up Calais lighthouse, le Phare de Calais, to look across to the White Cliffs, preferably on a clear day.
Saturday was such a day; clear (and cold) and the view was expansive, easily taking in the Kent coast from the North Foreland to Dungeness.
On the ledges at the top were some dead waders, a snipe, greenshank and a smaller unidentified one. I wondered if these had expired exhausted, or had flown into the lit window one stormy night?

The highlight of the ferry trip across was a close view of a Bonxie, along with many, many Gannets and Kittiwakes, and a good few auks on the sea. The sight of a Great Blackback eating one in the harbour was unedifying, however.

The best plant-spot of the day was Thornapple (Datura stramonium), which is generally eradicated on sight in Britain because of its poisonous nature, but which was flourishing on the French dunes.

Large numbers of gulls lined the strand as the sun fell over Cap Gris Nez.........
.... giving way to a devils-bit moon which showed a nibble of the eclipse, which may not have been seen across the channel.

This complemented a film on release at the moment, which I enjoyed at the tiny cinema in Broadstairs (not the hideous multiplex).....

....a film called Hugo, which artfully tells the story of magician-turned-cinematographer Georges Méliès (following the Lumière brothers) and of a young boy who lives in the Gare Montparnasse.

It's a beautifully-made film with some stunning scenes which I'm sure would appeal to fellow bloggers. It has steam trains, clocks, engineering, projectors and lots of other boys' toys.

1 comment:

Martin said...

I always find your blog interesting, but I particularly enjoyed this one, with your lovely pictures of the beach in the winter sunshine (I don't often get to walk on a beach in winter time living in land-locked Bedfordshire) and the last bit of the lunar eclipse - not seen here, but the moon isn't visible where I live until it has risen quite a long way.

Happy Christmas!