“What are you doing May 30 to June 5? I’m going to be attending a wedding in Devon.” That was the text I sent Clare the moment I finished booking my ticket. She replied quickly, “I’m completely free, let’s do Devon & Cornwall.” That’s how my #Gabesenglishscape started. Our planning, if you could call it that, consisted of searching Instagram for interesting pictures and figuring out where in Cornwall & Devon they were taken and adding stars to Google maps. Quite a fun and fluid way to create an itinerary.
The last time I saw Clare was when she was in Toronto attending a wedding in 2013. Before that it was after graduating from law school in 2006 and I made a trip to Edinburgh, where we had first met in 2004 when I visiting my sister. Originally from the town of Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula. Clare studied Maths and Statistics at the University of Edinburgh and completed her Masters in Computing Science at Imperial College London and like me is an avid traveller. This year alone she’s been to Colombia, Berlin, Norway, Sweden, Crete, Paris, and the year is but only half done!
I had fully expected this trip to be a fun little romp around the countryside. Filled with good food, visits to picturesque storybook villages, relaxing hikes, and an abundance of fresh air. It was, but I did not expect it to be photographically productive. Most of the time when traveling with friends or family it is difficult to make photographs that aren’t snapshots. There’s a lot of scouting involved which seems to the casual observer a fancy way to say “I’m going to walk aimlessly around until Ii find something interesting - which I cannot define with any specificity”. Once I have “scouted” something, then comes the endless waiting for the “right light” or some other vague factor. Thankfully Clare ended up being abundantly patient with me. When I wanted to take the car at 5 am to photograph the fishermen at Cadgwith and leave her stranded at our B&B without a vehicle until i came back - without hesitation she said “go ahead, I’ll sleep in, maybe explore the town,. Give me a call me when your back.” When I asked her to walk over to the edge of the cliff, she obliged on more than one occasion. Though she blames those questionable decisions on being tipsy. She even purchased a bright yellow anorak just for our trip when I had casually mentioned “So you might be in some pictures.”
A lot of our plans would change minute by minute. Clare and I had a long list of things that we lined up and would shift around depending on how we were feeling and whether or not we wanted to linger a bit longer. This flexible and easy going pace was the ideal way to vacation, meet interesting characters, explore unknown towns, and create beautiful images.
The long hours were spent in the car through twisting single lane roads, my terrible shifting, and poor lane discipline were hardly noticeable. Sharing our plans for the rest of the upcoming year, bucket lists, recounting amusing stories, more travel plans, relationships, and debating where we should have our next meal kept us entertained. Before long it had been 5 days and nearly 1000 miles driven across the countryside and we hadn’t even attended the wedding which was the primary reason for me even being in the country yet.
The best part of it all is we will be reunited in August to attend another wedding, this time in Kent!