Ancient Mariner: Day 3 Black And White Photo Challenge

On the Bristol Channel in Somerset, England, lies the small harbour town of Watchet.  Not only does it boast a beautiful view of the Channel as you walk around the harbor (and a wonderful little fish & chip shop), it is also home to a magnificent lighthouse.

I have a vague memory from long ago of climbing up some winding, metal stairs to the top of a lighthouse, but I have no idea where or when.

Perhaps it was a dream.

Lighthouse At Watchett Harbour, Somerset (c) Sherri Matthews 2015

Lighthouse At Watchet Harbour, Somerset
(c) Sherri Matthews 2015

But Watchet also holds a secret.  At least, it did for me the day I first visited a few years ago.

When I lived in California, so far as I knew, that is where I would stay, with my children, indefinitely.  I didn’t expect to return to England and I certainly didn’t expect that one day I would live in Somerset, visiting this little harbour town.

Who would have thought that all those years ago, when Eldest Son was studying English Literature at high school in California, specifically the poetry of a certain Samuel Taylor Coleridge, that one day I would be standing in front of a sculpture of The Ancient Mariner, complete with the Albatross around his neck, erected in honour of the famous poet.

Statue of the Ancient Mariner, commissioned in 2002 Watchet Market House Musuem Society, sculpted by Alan B. Herriot of Penicuick, Scotland and erected in 2003 as a tribute to Samuel Taylor Coleridge (c) Sherri Matthews

Statue of the Ancient Mariner, commissioned in 2002 by Watchet Market House museum Society, sculpted by Alan B. Herriot of Penicuik, Scotland, erected in 2003 as a tribute to Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(c) Sherri Matthews

This is because the famous poet once lived in the nearby village of Nether Stowey.  In 1797,  while walking around Watchet, he stopped to look out at the water across from the harbour. It was here, at this very spot, that inspiration moved Coleridge to write The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, one of the best known poems in English literature.

‘Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.’

(Read the poem in full here.)

I couldn’t wait to tell my son.  We had no idea that the origins of such a famous poem had begun so close to our new home.

Today for the B&W Photo Challenge , I’m tagging Steve at iChristian whose beautiful photography never fails to astound me.  He has probably been tagged already for this challenge, but I’m going to tag him anyway. So there!

I’m tagging Maria of brickhousechick for the Tell 5 Secrets Blop Hop.  Maria’s wonderful posts will make you laugh, cry and think about what is most important in life.  I can’t wait to see which secrets she will reveal.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with Day 4 of the challenges, the last one for this week.
See you then!

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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68 Responses to Ancient Mariner: Day 3 Black And White Photo Challenge

  1. Heyjude says:

    I have been to Watchet a few times but never noticed the lighthouse! How’s that? So thank you for showing me this and the Ancient Mariner (don’t believe I have a photo of that either – will have to go look in the digital shoebox) both beautifully captured. Also love the update on both your header 😉 and the bio 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I have no idea Jude! How did you miss it? But glad to show it to you now and also the Ancient Mariner. Although it wasn’t erected until 2003 so maybe you last visited before then, which would explain it 😉 So glad you like the pics…and thanks for the header and bio too. I change it from time to time but don’t ever think that anyone notices 😉 🙂

      Like

  2. restlessjo says:

    I want to go to Watchet! 🙂 Lovely shot of the lighthouse, Sherri. Isn’t life strange with its coincidences, sometimes? Congrats on your wedding anniversary for next week, before I forget. A nice meal out? 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      You would love Watchet Jo, small but lovely to walk around. We went in October, it was sunny but the wind was cold. We sat and ate our fish & chips on a bench overlooking the harbour, loved it 🙂 Life is strange isn’t it? Makes for some good stories though 🙂 Thanks Jo, we are going out at the weekend following…got my boys home this weekend, yay 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just as a completely random aside, this post made me smile at the place names – I love the quirky names of English villages and towns! My memory tells me that when I lived in Kent we used to drive across the Downs to a pub in the village of Ducks Bottom – though whether that was the name of the village or the pub I couldn’t be sure now. Either way it is an intriguing name! The area was teeming with oddly named places and I was always so curious about how they got them.

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…yes, there are some very quirky names that’s for sure! Ducks Bottom sounds about right 🙂 So easy to get lost on those back, country roads though, if you don’t know the area. And even if you do, still can be a challenge! Thanks for your fun comment Pauline 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Sherri, you know my love of lighthouses…this is spectacular! Life sure is full of surprises, isn’t it? That’s what makes each day a gift…we never know what it will bring. Way to meet the challenge! xoxo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I do indeed Jill, I do indeed, for more than one reason 😀 You will remember this photo from my ‘Lighthouse Keeper’ post from last summer, but I thought it would be interesting to see how it looked in B&W. I’m really pleased with how it turned out. We certainly don’t know what life will bring…and it’s just as well! Thanks so much for coming along with me with all these posts..phew, there is no way I could keep this up! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That top photo of the lighthouse is amazing, Sherri!! xo

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  6. OMGosh. How e.x.c.i.t.i.n.g. I can’t imagine standing in such a revered spot. I’m thrilled and I’m waayyy over here. 😀 The Ancient Mariner. I can’t imagine. 😮 ❤ ❤

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      It was so very exciting Tess, I couldn’t believe it! Imagine, looking out at the very same spot where Samuel Taylor Coleridge stood!! I had no idea until that day I went to the little town of Watchet by the sea. Haha…I share your thrill, love it 😀 😀 😀 ❤

      Like

  7. cardamone5 says:

    Stunning photos. When we are published (our books will come out on the same day and we will do a joint book tour) will you do my cover with one of your masterpieces? You really are talented.

    Love,
    E

    Like

  8. Charli Mills says:

    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is one of my favorite poems! It combines strong narrative with an unforgettable rhyme and beat. How fun that you got to share this with your son after moving back to England. The photos are stunning in B&W.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      A powerful poem for sure! I am not surprised it’s one of your favourite poems, mine too 😀 I just love its rythym too! We just never know what wonderful gems we will find in the most unexpected places…I remember the day I stood there and called my son to tell him. It was such a thrill 🙂 Glad you like the photos, I’m having fun with the B&W, thanks Charli 🙂

      Like

  9. Norah says:

    Hi Sherri,
    I haven’t checked out your other two challenges yet, but this is a good one. I remember learning the rime when I was at school, and always loved it, so enjoyed finding out a little of its history. What a lovely surprise to find you were living so close to its beginning. But visiting the UK is like stepping into a 3D history book anyway, I always say. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Norah! Thanks so much for taking a peek at this B&W challenge. I’m having fun with it, but I’ll admit, there is no way I could blog like this normally. It’s a challenge for sure! Haha…love that…3D history book. I do love the history in my old Blighty and love being able to share snippets like this. You just never know what you might find in your travels do you, even if right on your own doorstep 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. suej says:

    Many years ago, I was in a little pub in the Minehead area, and there were low beams…with a message ‘Watchet Minehead’….. it must have amused me because I’ve remembered it 😀

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  11. jenniferkmarsh says:

    *gasps* Watchet?! Down the road from yours truly, Sherri P 😉

    Like

  12. This is such a gorgeous B&W lighthouse pic, Sherri! Thanks for sharing the origins of that wonderful Coleridge poem. The sculpture is magnificent. Happy weekend to you. 🙂 xx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Sylvia, thrilled you enjoyed it…of course, I knew you would like the lighthouse 😉 You may remember it from last year when I posted my ‘Lighthouse Keeper’ post…I was so pleased how it came out in the B&W! Got my boys home this weekend, so can’t wait…one more B&W post to get out and then will have to wrap up a bit later…so hopefully can get it all done. You have a happy weekend too Sylvia 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Mumblypeg says:

    Sherri, You never fail to delight and surprise. What wonderful photos and connections. life is indeed rich and full of little gems, when we find them. Blessings and lots of love. Have a wonderful weekend with your chicks. MP xxx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…hello dear MP 🙂 So glad you enjoyed this. This is a great challenge, but it has kept me very busy this week, as you’ve probably guessed! It is lovely to share little gems like this…you just never know do you, and so often these lovely surprises are right on our own doorstep! Thanks…will do, but will be in touch… ❤ xxxxxxx

      Like

  14. I always amazes me how life comes full circle in mysterious ways! Such beautiful photos that highlight the little connections in life that we make. I’d love to visit Watchet one day and see the landscape that inspired Samuel Taylor Coleridge 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      It amazes me too Heather, life is certainly full of the unexpected! I would love for you to visit Watchet one day…and when you do, I know not only a wonderful fish & chip shop for lunch, but a deligthful little tea room for later 🙂

      Like

  15. Don’t you love all these places and events that somehow mix and match? I like this post a lot, Sherri, because it is like a circle of life. You, your son, this poet, the connection from California to the small Somerset village of Watchet. As the lighthouse, you probably went for real…
    P.S. I just posted for the 777 Challenge!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh I do Evelyne, I really do! There I was, with Hubby, on a short break, visiting this tiny harbour town not that far from where we live, and then, wham! There was the tribute to Samuel Taylor Coleridge! Thanks, as always, for your great comment…and yes, I am inclined to believe it was for real too 🙂
      Wonderful! Over to you…

      Like

  16. Once again my friend-Wow!! The photos and the how you described it all pure inspiration. Also for me it was very educational. I loved it!!! 🙂 xoxoxo

    Like

  17. Loved reading this even though I’m going backwards as I have all my life. 🙂 I remember reading the poem in school.

    Like

  18. jennypellett says:

    This is so weird, Sherri. ST Coleridge seems to be following me around this week. We were driving back from Cornwall at the weekend on the delightful A30 when my husband decided that he’d like to see what Ottery St Mary looked like. (Sign posted off the road and with a name like that – we were intrigued). So we did a little detour via the Ottery St Mary industrial estate, got stuck in a traffic jam in the town centre and noticed that this was the place where ST Coleridge was born. Nothing to recommend it other than that – sometimes place names promise so much and deliver very little.
    Loved your light house pic though, and the poet’s statue. Could never get to grips with the Ancient Mariner myself – good on Eldest Son for sticking it out!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks Jenny, glad you liked the pics! Yes, Eldest Son did very well there. What an amazing coincidence with Ottery St Mary. It’s is about an hour from us…wish I’d known, you could have taken a better detour and stopped by for a cuppa instead of getting stuck in a traffic jam 😉 I seem to remember going through it once and being most unimpressed. But I had no idea that STC was born there! So you’ve taught me something too! Hope you had a lovely break in Cornwall 🙂

      Like

  19. Stunning, Sherri. Years ago I was asked to judge student art representing their favorite poem, essay or story in literature. Three students did paintings of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I’ve sent this link to the art teacher to show the wonderful sculpture. She’s retired now, but still does workshops on representative art, and she will love this!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Marylin, wow, what an honour! I would love to know what your art teacher thinks of this statue! It’s such a small world isn’t it!

      Like

  20. I am loving all these B&W photos (and the stories to go along with them)!

    Like

  21. Pat says:

    This is fun, Sherri, I’m enjoying the photos as well as learning more about you in your daily secrets. I remember a poem by Samuel Coleridge I once read and I’ve always loved. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called “What If You Slept” at All Poetry (http://allpoetry.com/What-if-you-slept-…-)

    What if you slept …
    What if you slept
    And what if
    In your sleep
    You dreamed
    And what if
    In your dream
    You went to heaven
    And there plucked a strange and beautiful flower
    And what if
    When you awoke
    You had that flower in you hand
    Ah, what then?

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Delighted to know you are enjoyed this challenge Pat, thank you so much and also for sharing this delightful poem by Coleridge. I haven’t heard of it, but it leaves me thinking…oh the possibilities 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pat says:

        I did, Sherri, enjoy the challenge and, though my site is award free, I honored it by responding on my About page. It means a lot and I appreciate you thinking to include me.

        So glad you liked Coleridge’s poem and you’re right . . . oh, the possibilities. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Tom Merriman says:

    Fabulous photo of the lighthouse, Sherri… there’s something special about black and white photography, isn’t there?
    I have a link to Somerset myself, although only through one of my tales I wrote long ago. The world was a very mixed up place back then, and Somerset was the neighbouring county to Cheshire…

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Tom, I’m delighted that you like it and yes, I agree, B&W really does bring out a crisper enhancement.
      Haha 😀 Sounds like my real world! As you know, I have family in Cheshire since my childhood but I never thought in a million years that I would oneday be living in Somerset. Perhaps they are geographically closer than I realised 😉 Your story sounds fascinating 🙂

      Like

  23. I’ve never been to Watchet, let alone heard of it, Sherri, but now you’ve put it on the map for me, especially because it has a fish and chip shop.

    Those clouds in the first photo look threatening, but is that because the photo is in black and white? The lighthouse also looks quite small, or was there more to it below that wall?

    Both photos look great in black and white, and well done for posting them as part of the challenge. You have come up with some real beauties for the challenge. I wonder what your finale will be?

    Are you on Twitter? I only ask because I use it a lot and would love to tweet some of your posts.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Well worth a visit Hugh, especially if you are in The Quantocks or Exmouth.
      Haha…you sound just like my hubby, fish & chips are his favourite food 😀
      It was October and the clouds were quite ominous, but yes, they do look more so in the B&W, I love the way the effect enahances that.
      The lighthouse is high up, but yes, it is quite small. And it is red!
      Thank you so much for your support of my posts for this challenge, I’m thrilled that you have been enjoying them so much.
      That’s very kind of you re Twitter, but I’m not on it…yet! Several bloggers have asked me this lately but I’m worried about taking on other social media at the moment. I keep saying I’ll try it…and then….I don’t. But I will in the not too distant future and I’ll be sure to let you know when I do!!

      Like

      • Great, OK, Sherri. I know where you are coming from on social media. I just have Twitter at the moment, although I do use Toby’s (our dog) Facebook account. Yes, he has a Facebook account but only a handful of followers mostly from London where we lived before Hove, just so we can keep in touch with other dog owners we know up there. I think if I took anymore social media onboard, I just don’t know where I would have the time to look after it all.

        I’ve loved your black and white photography very much. You’ve captured the challenge very well. Well done, you 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          Love it, how wonderful for Toby 😀 And thanks again so much Hugh, really appreciate your support and encouragement, means a lot that…and now I’ve got to come up with, as you called it, the Grand Finale! Hmmmmm……thinking on that and hope not to disappoint…
          Be over to you asap… !!!!!

          Like

  24. A grand poem, indeed, and one that my teachers school managed to inspire me with. That’s a pretty lighthouse. I like the weathervane at the top.

    Like

  25. Marie Keates says:

    The Ancient Mariner was my O Level English Literature poem. I can still recite huge chunks of it. I need to go to Watchet.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      You definitely do Marie, you’ll love it! I seem to remember doing The Ancient Mariner too, but I was so absorbed with Great Expectations that it’s only a vauge memory, so I remember it more from the days when my son studied it. Great poem 🙂

      Like

  26. Great photos Sherri. Black and white can certainly enhance some photographs. We too learnt the Ancient Mariner at school but I’m blowed if I could recite it now. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Irene! Yes, I have really enjoyed playing with the B&W and other effects. My new laptop came with a new photo editing programme I had no idea how to use at first, but this challenge gave me the push I needed to get to grips with it, and as with most things, once I figured the basics out, I realised how simple it is to use. The Ancient Mariner is a wonderful poem, but I’m with you 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  27. I love lighthouses and black and white photography. Never heard of Watchet though. Great post Sheri!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Denise says:

    He certainly looks very sailor-ly! Lovely picture, with the boats in the background.

    Liked by 1 person

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