Sunday, 18 July 2010

Schools out for Summer!

It never fails to amaze me how the British weather plays the same joke on us parents every year.  Similarly to the last two years, summer term is warm and dry. And then the holidays arrive. And before you know it, all that fake tan has rubbed off and you've got more layers on than an onion. Seven interminably long weeks loom ahead and the rain continues to fall. Funnily enough, this year the start of our rainy season coincided with our hosepipe ban. Like the British people, the British weather is fond of irony too!!

Despite global warming however, I don't think this is a new thing.  I remember as a teenager and then as a student revising for exams (I know, I should have got out more!!) with searing heat cracking the pavements outside.  Then on finishing the exams in July the weather took an inevitable turn for the worse, anticlimax it always was! We do need to consider shifting the school holidays if only for the sanity of the parents. 

So this time I was prepared and three weeks in France was booked before saying so much as ta ta to the children on their first day back in September!! But before congratulating myself too much, I am now wondering whether there may be one or two flaws in the plan.  The first is, we are under canvas - fairweather parent and camper I'm afraid.  The second is it is west France, rather than the blistering and guaranteed heat of the Med. So as I'm packing five swimsuits, five beach towels, fifteen bottles of suncream, I'm now wondering whether I am being over-optimistic and should be throwing in five pairs of wellies, five waterproofs and umpteen hats!!

Anyway, at least it won't be fifty days in the British 'wetting' rain, we can have a stint in the middle with 'eau a la France - I can't wait - precipitation - bring it on!!  So what of my course. That will come with me. I intend to photograph our entire trip, tantrums, wind-damaged tents, French queuing and all.  But before all that, I am hoping to send off my first assignment to my tutor. 

On another note, just a small observation about studying social documentary compared to TAOP projects, I am working in a far less methodical manner with this course. Largely I think because when there are other people involved, you lose a little flexibility. And conversely I need to be spontaneous and take advantage when opportunities arise, no matter what project number I'm on. I find it more inspiring to work in this way.

Fickle as I am, I feel much better now I've seen a white cloud on the final day of the five day local forecast. Have a lovely summer all, no matter what the weather.


  1. Hi Penny, hey you go enjoy yourself, the camping in the West of France is a wonderful experience, I've travelled the west coast many times camping on my motorbike and only got wet once. From the Stone rows of Carnac down to St Nazaire is wonderful and the local Bretons in the North West are tres cool. Try the local markest for breakfast, fresh crepes and coffee never tasted so good. The British campers can be qwuite amusing at times, met one family who never left the campsite for two weeks, they even filled their car up with petrol before they got on the ferry! Apparently they didn't like foreign food and couldn't be bothered to learn any french either... why bother, may as well have stayed in their own back yard!

    Just found an archive for a noted Irish photojournalist from the 1950s while I was researching my vintage motorcycling photos and posted a link on my blog - if you missed it. I don't know whether "it's your thing" but I'm a sucker for old Black and White documentary photos as I studied Magnum as part of my Art and Design degree and loved the work of George Rodger and the like.

    Enjoy your hols and post some photographs when you return, I'd love to see your unique take on "holiday snaps".

  2. Thank you Blackcountrybiker. Looking forward to having a break away, seemed to have been packing and washing for weeks already.

    When I get back I'll check out the photographers you suggest - I love looking at different work particularly when its recommended.

    Incidently, from your previous line of work, do you know of any one locally using a 5x4 large format camera? Looking to purchase one on a budget and need a bit of advice on what you need in your kit bag and how to use them!!

  3. Sorry, can't think of anyone with 5x4 kit. I'll ask around while you're away.