When I spotted the couple in the distance when I framed this shot, I knew they would be out of focus because I’d set a wide aperture to give the giant ice-cream cone some seperation from the rest of the scene, but liked how they would fill a gap in the frame.
What I didn’t really notice – partly due to making sure I had focus on the ice-cream, but also because I had to be quick as I was in a queue and about to be served my own, normal-sized ice-cream – was that the man’s top was the same shade of pink as the “strawberry” swirl in the foreground cone, and his female companion’s top a similar colour to the blue flavour (whatever that might be). A nice little piece of synchronicity. 🙂
As mentioned yesterday, I spotted this chap sitting outside his chalet with three friends, so I asked if I could make a couple of pictures. The dogs didn’t seem too keen, snarling at me when I pointed the camera in their direction, but I got the shots.
Another set of beach-chalet photos today, this time in black and white. Cery few of these were occupied on the day of my visit, which is not surprising given we are now into autumn (it was mid-september when these shots were taken). There were a few people still making use of them though, including a chap sat enjoying the sea air with three of his dogs – some picture of them to come shortly.
I have vague memories of us hiring one of the chalets (one of the ones with windows) when I was a young boy – possibly my parents and my grandparents were present on that occasion, although the recollection is vague.
While the structures are pretty basic in design, they had power and water, so it was possible to make cups of tea and other refreshments, as well as being a useful shelter from the elements (whether hot sun or, this being the UK, pouring rain!) and somewhere to store the accutrements of a day at the beach without having to lug it around everywhere all day. They also had a set of curtains, so you had the luxury of being able to change out of wet, sandy swimming costumes and into dry, clean clothes without the risky maneouvering that would be required when attempting to do the same thing on the beach wrapped in just a towel!
They can look a little grim when photographed in monochrome in cloudy conditions, but when they’re all occupied by familys enjoying the warm sunshine in the height of the summer, they have a certain British charm. It always amazes me just how much chalets and beach huts can cost at some of the more up-market resorts around the country, where they can be priced at tens-of-thousands of pounds to buy outright!
The past few years that I have visited Mablethorpe in September, the funfair has been closed. Whether this is because the customers who would partake of the larger rides are all back in school by this time, or maybe they only open at the weekends – this year I visited on a Friday whereas it’s been midweek most other times. Or perhaps, in this pandemic year, they are staying open for longer, seeking to eke out whatever income they can following a summer season that will have been heavily affected by the lockdown at its beginning, and then – to some extent at least – smaller numbers of visitors than usual (although it will be interesting to see if the loss of foreign trips has resulted in larget numbers of tourists, perhaps balancing things a little). Whatever the case, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the businesses and workers who rely on the summer season at resorts around the country who will have seen their incomes affected. I hope they are able to survive.
Today’s photos were made in the still-open funfair. There were few other visitors to be seen, although it was still early in the day.
A couple of pictures to continue the seaside theme today, albeit with nary a grain of sand, nor a splash of salt-water in sight. Both these were made in that other stalwart of the seaside resort – the arcade. This one has been open as long as I can remeber (it’s definitely older than me), although it’s changed considerably since what was (to me and my own personal nostalgia, at least) its heyday.
Back then it was full of bleeping, blooping video games. At first the older titles like Space Invaders, Asteroids, Night Driver and such, but later expanding significantly as the craze for such games grew and grew. A few years later it was possible for show-offs to display theit skills on the Don Bluth animated laser-disc games like Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace, the huge cabinets given pride of place next to the street to draw the crowds.
This arcade is a sizeable place and it used to have some full-sized fairground rides within. A ladybird ride for the younger customers was near the ntrance, but a set of dodgems awaited the bigger kids right at the back of the place. Along one wall were a series of fairground stalls in the form of coconut shies, shooting ranges, ball games, and – perhaps most memorably – a place where you could make artwork by squirting plashes of colourful paint onto a sheet of paper that would then be spun at high velocity on a turntable to create amazing, psychadelic works of art. I remember with fondness the smell of the lacquer that would be applied to hold the image in place, and also the disappointment you’d get when it turned out that some of the paint had stuck to the inside of the card cover, ruining it when you later opened it.
I still love visiting Mablethorpe, and suspect I will for as long as I live, such were the happy memories formed there when I was a child, but each time I go I also feel a certain disappointment that things are not as I remember them in my youth, that the bleeps and bllops of the arcade games of old are mostly gone, the old stand-up cabinets replaced by larger “event” machines offering experiences that cannot be had on home consoles. Much of the floor space is now given over to fruit-machines and devices that let you win lengthy strings of tokens to be exchanged for prizes. It’s not the same as it was. But then, not many things are. Sometimes you really want a time-machine though…
Anyway, one of today’s images shows a couple of retro-games. Not the originals, but still enough to bring a smile to my face when I saw them.
In other news, my zines arrived today! This is the first time (other than the odd print) that I’ve ever had my photos published in physical form. The zines were made ostensibly for me to take part in a zine-swap with a group of other photographers, but I’ve got a whole bunch of them – it was the same price to get twenty-five copies as it was to get ten, so I went for the maximum. I can hopefully use the spares for other zine swapsies (plus I’ve already promised copies to a few people). I’m very happy with the quality of the materials and the reproduction of the photographs – I decided to go with a heavier weight 150GSM paper for the pages, with a 170GSM soft-touch laminated cover and it has a very nice feel to it. There are a few things for me to take away for the next time, but for my first go I’m more than happy.
It seems like it’s almost the law that you must make photographs of launderettes if you see them. That, or petrol stations (often at night). So, taday I’ll share a photo of a launderette.
I can see the appeal though, there’s something interesting about the places. They often have a sense of faded glory about them, many of them having fallen away as more and more people bought domestic washing machines. There’s still a demand though, whether it be for full service washes, or when you need to launder a bulky item like a quilt that simply won’t fit in the machine at home.
I remember my mum taking me in a launderette on a number of occasions when I was little. It was fascinating place for a young boy, full of buttons, dials, coin slots, washing powder dispensers, and a long row of heavy-duty washing machines and tumble driers full of other people’s clothes spinning round-and-around. The air would be filled with the warm scent of detergent and fabric conditioner and, if I was good, I would get a hot-chocolate in a plastic cup from the vending machine mounted on the wall.
I think the lunderette in my post today probably does good trade. I expect that seaside towns, particulalry those with large camp and caravan sites, have a strong demand for laundry services.
In other news, I shot another roll through my Lipca Rollop II yesterday, this time with a makeshift felt skirt fitted to the lens standard to attempt to combat the light leak. Alas, it didn’t work, three frames show the same arc of light as before. Now I need to decide what to do with the camera – when it works (usually when focussing on items further away) the lens is sharp and produces very nice images. Unfortunately, despite this, the fault means I can’t rely on it fully. I’m not sure that I want to pay for a repair as I have another, fully-working, TLR anyway, so I might sell it on as a working, but faulty camera.
I’d wondered if I’m manage to make my annual trip to Mablethorpe this year. The lockdown of a few months ago had made it seem unlikely for a time, but as restrictions loosened, so it started to look like I might make the trip after all.
As I had a week off work in early September, I decided that would be my chance, so made the trip on the 11th. The weather was forecast to be partially sunny, but in the end was just bright, with a skein of high cloud that mostly removed any contrast and shadows, Not ideal for colour film, which I feel savours blue-sky days. Still, in a country like the UK you have to make the best of what you get when it comes to the weather. In the end though, these shots have come out quite well despite the conditions.
I took a bag full of film with me on the day. Well, around six rolls anyway. In the end, I only shot two-and-a-half of them though due to the light. Today’s photos were from a roll of Kodak Gold 200 that I’d already partially shot, but there will be some images on Ilford Delta 400 (better for the conditions I had) and, possibly, Portra 400 to come over the next few days too.
A couple of shots of Mablethorpe Rock, a shop that has been there as long as I can remember (or perhaps mis-remember).
Rock is one of those great British seaside traditions that is still going strong today – although, personally, I don’t really like the stuff – it’s overly sweet, sticky, and feels like it will rot the teeth right out of my head as soon as I touch it.
For those not in the know, rock is basically sticks of boiled sugar. It traditionally has the name of the resort you buy it from cleverly running through the length of the stick – something that is done by adding pieces of different coloured sugar to form the individual letters during the manufacturing process while the substance is still soft and malleable – as can be seen in this film from 1957. As well as sticks, you will also find it shaped into all manner of other things – a cooked English breakfast formed out of pure sugar and served on a paper plate is another firm favourite.
Rock comes in a variety of flavours, but plain sugary-sweet, and peppermint are probably the best sellers. The fruit flavoured ones are best in my opinion (if forced to choose), but you can now find all manner of exotic varieties, including such culinary horrors as Tikka Masala flavour!
My favourite part about receiving a stick of rock – it was a traditional gift brought back when someone had been on holiday – was the little black and white photo of the resort that would be inside the clear plastic wrapper. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, these photos are now in colour.
As you can see from the bottom picture, the shop also sells ice cream, so I had one of those instead.
In yesterday’s post I mentioned some of the attractions at Queen’s Park in Mablethorpe. One of those was the crazy golf course. It’s one of (I think) three courses in Mablethorpe. the other two being at the other end of the sea-front. All three courses have been there as long as I can remember – so since the 1970s at least – and most likely they were around for some time before too. All three have seen changes and updates.
The northernmost course was, for many years, an Arnold Palmer’s branded course.
There were a number of these Arnold Palmer courses at various seaside resorts around the country. These all had full branding in place with brightly painted red and white obstacles (most of the ones I visited had a windmill with spinning blades to putt your ball past) and professional-looking felt “greens” upon which the ball would roll smoothly and with precision. At the end of the course, the final hole gave a chance to win a free game if you got the ball in a central hole (which would ring a bell, alerting the staff to the fact). Missing this target would result in your ball being lost down an alternate, prize-less, chute and your game would be over. I still have a free game pass in my wallet that I won sometime during the 1990s. Alas, the course at Mablethorpe is under different ownership now (although it still looks pretty snazzy with it’s new pirate themed looks)
The other two courses had a more independent feel to them. The central course had obstacles that felt homemade, but inventive nonetheless, with a variety of brightly painted bridges, pipes, and chutes to get your ball through. The southernmost course always seemed the more basic of the three, less fantastical in nature and almost akin to a pub-game with pegs, chicanes, and barriers making up it’s obstacles (and there’s a part of me that remembers it having concrete “greens” too, upon which your ball might be prone to sudden disruption, although this might just be down to a faulty memory circuit).
Today’s picture is of this southernmost course as it is today, still in use (although not when I took my photo). Long may it live.