The idyllic Isles of Scilly

Sunday, November 12, 2017

For the past 40 years I've lived on the Isles of Scilly, on the tiny island of Tresco where I settled by chance (hear how this came about here), and now I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. This little cluster of islands, lying some 26 miles Southwest off the tip of West Cornwall, attract thousands of tourists every year who come to embrace the slower pace of life. 


This is the view from my workplace. The gallery sits on the shoreline of New Grimsby, the main access point for our visitors.


Some of our visitors arrive under sail and moor up in the shelter between the islands; Cornwall, Ireland and France are the starting point for most of these sailors.


Every year the Isles of Scilly are featured on the itinerary of hundreds of cruise ships which bring their passengers to spend a day here. These tourists provide a vital boost to our local economy.


At the end of the day a boat load of day trippers head back to St Mary's to catch the Scillonian to return to the mainland. If you fancy visiting the islands see here or follow the link on my side bar for information on how to get here, and see the many types of accommodation available as well as details about the five inhabited islands.


My regular readers may recognise this shot from the summer when I'd spent the afternoon with my husband on Samson, one of the uninhabited islands - see the account here. I posted this on instagram which led to me being asked to take part in a photo shoot to promote the islands. I was asked by the Islands Partnership if I would play the part of a single traveller in their forthcoming campaign for 2018. The remit was to spend a few hours on the same island doing some beach yoga, reading, drawing and swimming all to be captured by a professional photographer. 


Behind me are the others taking part in the shoot, a young couple who had been brought across from Cornwall to do stand-up paddle boarding. The photographer and shoot director are standing in the shallows lining up the shot. As a blogger I totally understood the need to capture that perfect moment. 


As you can see, the weather couldn't have been better.


The kit for the shoot was minimal as we had to island hop on a small boat just big enough to take the six of us that made up the crew - shoot director and her assistant, photographer and three models.


We'd arrived on Samson at lunchtime, to find a row of about 10 kayaks lined up on the beach and just beyond them were the 10 castaways in row having a picnic. Goodness knows what they would have thought as we bundled out of our boat and immediately the photographer started striding about taking in all the views and finding the angles he wanted. 


As luck would have it, the first shot for me was to be directly in front of these onlookers. I was to do some yoga poses. No problem. I was prepared, with my swimsuit on already and they had brought a yoga mat. No problem. Eh, maybe there was a problem. Me on a yoga mat on top of very fine soft sand. Tension is paramount for a good, strong yoga pose and there was no purchase, just a gradual sinking. Deeper and deeper. Also there was another problem; every time I was asked to strike another pose, I discovered that this, my very public and first ever profession job, was made all the more difficult by the bemused looks from the 10 onlookers. I've never done my yoga practice in front of an audience before and suddenly was aware of a complete brain vacuum. There were no other poses on my memory card; maybe I've just imagined that I can do yoga; in fact, I knew nothing about yoga at all. "What about this one?" the director shouted as she pointed skywards, "or this one?". Was there muffled laughter from the back row? Did someone just choke on their sandwich as they tried to stifle a giggle? No matter, this was me, The Lone Traveller having a serene holiday moment.


I was holding my breath, squinting into the mid-day sun, thinking about my yoga teacher, hoping she would never see these foot-sliding, soft-knee poses. The mat and my back foot have both been gobbled up by the sand. How many classes had I missed this year? Did it show?


Downward Dog aka Sinking Toes instead.


Next up was reading. Only, in a different outfit. Samson has a terrible lack of changing rooms, so we performed that well known beach ritual of two women holding towels together enabling me to wriggle out of one and into another set of beachwear - all directly in front of the spectators, of course. Cue more chuckling and pretence at averting their eyes.


If I look like a middle-aged lady lying on a beach, reading then that's cos I am.


Again, if I look like I'm enjoying sitting in the sun, drawing the view, then I am.



The tide was flooding by the time it came for my final shot. Despite taking lots of swimming shots, it was the very first one that summed up the lure of these islands. 


It was a privilege to take part in this shoot as there can be no more authentic images of the islands than these. One of the onlookers did actually heckle us, calling out, "I bet you're doing a cheap photo shoot to advertise the Caribbean!" How wrong they were. Is it our fault that the Isles of Scilly look so beautiful, so unspoilt, so utterly idyllic?

Linking with -
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Samantha of Fake Fabulous 
Anna x

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36 comments

  1. You did a fantastic job considering you had such a large audience. You do look like a pro even if you didn't feel like one.

    That first shot is the one you are now using for your blog header is incredible.

    Well done!

    Suzanne

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    1. Oh thank you so much Suzanne. I felt like such a fraud when my mind went blank. Nothing, not a single pose would surface from my subconcious. I was thrilled to receive eight images from the photo shoot - a great start to my portfolio or maybe just as a keepsake - they're brilliant either way.

      Anna x

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  2. Fabulous pictures Anna! You've no need to worry with the yoga poses - they look great, no-one would know the problems you were having! It looks so idyllic where you live.

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    1. Thanks Gail. I fear that some of my readers may well be yoga enthusiasts and will definitely see the faults I'm trying to hide. Much better to be honest and confess.
      These islands really do have to be seen to be believed!

      Anna x

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  3. Stunning shots of a stunning island, looks like a fun day. Your vibrant co-rdinating beach outfits are so eye catching. x

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    1. Cheers Fiona! It was without a doubt a fun day. I'm so proud of these islands and love the magic they weave around us all, visitors and islanders alike.

      Anna x

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  4. You look brilliant in the photos! Ignore the hecklers! That must have been mighty embarrassing though esp with the mat slippage! I long to come back here!x

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    1. You're so kind Kezzie, thank you. Embarrassing was the word! I'd love it if you could visit again next summer...

      Anna x

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  5. Girl... you had nothing to worry about. All pictures look absolutely terrific. Love the clouds formation in that last shot, going so well with your pose.
    Now you see... I would have had no trouble at all performing in front of an audience haha, as I am (I think) a bit of an exhibitionist. Or I just don't give a damn. I mean.. YOU WERE ASKED to be their model. Great honour. Those people were just sitting on the beach, being not asked. And I bet they were just highly entertained, loving every minute without the slightest judgement. It usually goes on more in your mind than theirs.
    Anyhow... loved it and I congratulate you on this achievement.
    Greetje

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    1. I must admit I thought I was an exhibitionist too Greetje until I had to do this. Yes, I'm used to posing for the blog and yes, I can actually do yoga, but put together, on sand, in front of an audience and suddenly I was WAY out of my comfort zone! Anyway, you're so right - most of this was going on in my head and also, you're right that the photos are terrific. It was indeed an honour to be asked and one I hope may come my way again. Thank you so much for all your lovely comments. Now, when can I expect you?

      Anna x

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  6. Beautiful shots, Anna, and a marvellously funny and entertaining post, well worth the wait. You look amazing, as always. Your kayak hecklers reminded me of the teenage girl gang in Doc Martin!
    Hugs, x

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    1. Thank you Mary, I'm so pleased your enjoyed the humour. I think we all ought to have the chance to be photographed by a professional at least once in our lives, and that doesn't count our wedding day! It was a fun, and funny day, one that I won't forget.

      Anna x

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  7. I know how much you love your island home and yet somehow promoting it for a world stage has a way of upstaging the usual quaint, low key and idyllic. The pressure of performing had to feel really awkward and doing Yoga in the midst of gawkers is about as anti-Zen as a Yogi can endure.
    Bravo to you Anna! Your pictures are lovely, your clothing is colorful and you are true to your spirit. We can be certain the seaside the islands and the beautiful sunny sky were authentic and undaunted.
    In that first photo view from your studio, I see a wire, woman figurine (mobile -?) hanging in the window. She seems awkward yet sincere much like you seem to have felt but the end result is a lovely success.

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    1. Ah Jude, how kind of you to protect my interests, but you misread my dry British humour for awkwardness. I thought the tale was more entertaining with an undertone of self depracating wit rather than allowing my ego to boast at how marvellous I was. The telling was all true, but meant to be more entertaining this way, not to make you cringe.
      I love these beautiful islands and hope that I'm going to help promote them in a befitting way - with pride and joy.

      Anna x

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  8. Your everyday view is amazing! How could any day go wrong with a sight like that. And what a great photoshoot! Your yoga moves look pretty good to me!

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    1. It is an incredible view Nancy and one that enthralls me no matter the weather or time of year. It was a wonderful opportunity and yes, the yoga did look okay.

      Anna x

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  9. These are some amazing shots of you, Anna! And look at that eternal blue sky. Beautiful. How lovely to be involved in promoting the islands like this. They are on my list of places to visit. Maybe next year...

    https://petitesilvervixen.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Hello again Jacqueline and thank you. I shall cherish these professional shots as they are pretty awesome and let's face it, I shall never be that young again! Do come to visit. I have half a mind to try to arrange a blogger's meet-up on my doorstep next time. Would you come?

      Anna x

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    2. Oh yes, I'd be there like a shot, Anna! If the timings work and I'm free, then absolutely count me in!

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    3. Okay, then I shall start making enquiries...

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  10. Really well done! and so much fun to read about, Anna. Your island looks like paradise, and your yoga poses are delightful. xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. That's very kind Patti, thanks. And well, if these islands look like paradise, then maybe that's because they are, hahaha!

      Anna x

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  11. None of your worries were captured, you look totally professional in these shots and very flexible. A lovely read - I want to visit your beautiful islands one day. x Jacqui
    www.mummabstylish.com

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    1. How sweet of you, thanks! It would be wonderful if you came to visit, I'd love to give you the grand tour.

      Anna x

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  12. Well done on maintaining your cool, Anna! You look wonderful in your yoga poses - would never have guessed you were sliding into the sand. Scilly is gorgeous...

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    1. Hey, thanks Sheila! Yoga and sand aren't the best of bedfellows, but I think I just about got away with it. And yes, I have to agree, Scilly is indeed gorgeous.

      Anna x

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  13. Your photos are stunning, Anna! Makes me want to hop on a plane and come and visit you. Your beaches wouldn't be out of place in the Caribbean with the talcum powder sand and crystal clear water and how amazing is your office view? Gorgeous.
    In my sorting I've come across a few super cool photos of my mum and her friends, taken in 1963, lounging on a beach on the Isles of Scilly busking on guitars. It looked idyllic. xxx

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    1. You'd be very welcome if you decided to turn up one day! I must admit I live a blessed existence here on these beautiful islands.
      Wow, what a cool find is that - fancy finding snaps of Scilly in your dejunking. I wonder where they were taken? Remember to bring them if you come...

      Anna x

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  14. How lovely that you you were able to promote your isles! You are such a great enthusiast for them they couldn't have asked for a more perfect person!

    The islands are absolutely beautiful and you did so well considering you had an audience and sinking sand...
    xxx

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    1. How very kind of you Vronni! Yes, these islands mean everything to me and it was lovely to be asked to take part in this promotion. I think it was a case of "The show must go on" hahaha!

      Anna x

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  15. Congratulations Anna on a gorgeous photo shoot , you are the perfect model to showcase the joys of your beautiful islands. The unwanted audience and problem sand slippage didn't show through. You have every right to be so proud.

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    1. Oh, thank you so much Jill. This was such a wonderful day, made all the more memorable by having it captured on film.

      Anna x

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  16. You looked great posing though I totally know what you mean about having all of your knowledge leave your head. I've been in a situation recently where I couldn't remember anything and it was something I did know. And then you think everyone around you is laughing at you when really they're probably talking and laughing and enjoying their lunch without paying much attention to you. Well, either way you look great and you always make me want to visit those beautiful islands

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    1. That brain freeze can strike at any time can't it? I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience despite my little wobbles, physical and mental, hahaha! The marketing board really knew what they were doing with this shoot. These island really are a dream and maybe one day I'll get the pleasure of welcoming you here.

      Anna x

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