Tuesday, 22 May 2018


Cloudspotting:  a lifelong pleasure of mine.  Its not a question of having my head in the clouds, but having my head and my eyes  towards the clouds.  Looking for shapes in clouds, enjoying sunrises and sunsets, looking out for rain, or looking for a break in clouds, enjoying rainbows during the day, and being surprised by rainbows around the moon.  I even remember my father pointing out the blue of the eye of a cyclone from the ground, all bring that grounded feeling, as forces out there control weather and climate.

I'm so pleased I bought this book.  GPP's book is one to keep, to reread, and to dip into.  It now sits besides my copy of The Cloud Book by Richard Hamblyn.

I had started The Cloudspotter's Guide by Gavin Pretor Pinney, so took this along with me for my holiday to Crete.  Such a coincidence that, on the flight out,  I read about the origin of the saying  'Cloudcuckooland' which come from Aristophanes' comedy: Birds.  Our 'escort' for the week of walking on Crete was Dee Doody, who was ever watchful and pointed out the many birds we saw, a real Bird Lover...I was pleased to share this story with him.

On many of the days in Crete we had wall to wall sunshine and blue skies, with just a few days affording that lovely feeling of a little light relief from the glaring sun.

I persuaded Mr S not to go on the most rigorous of the walks, not just because I needed a day's break for my sore feet to recover, but because I was 'reading' the clouds, and felt sure that there would be serious storms in the mountains!  Indeed, the group had to abort their walk mid way, and had to hang around thoroughly soaked to the skin despite waterproofs, without shelter, and walk to a point where their transport could access them and bring them back safely to the hotel.

Here are some of the clouds.

Looking out from our terrace towards the sea the clouds were building up, and the mountains behind the hotel were looking dark, the tops shrouded in cloud.

Sunbeams: crepuscular rays, which no doubt  a more capable photographer would have captured beautifully.  I mused on the term, as for me this meant evening in French.  GPP mentions the use of this form of light in religious paintings.

On another day there were lovely light cumulus humilis as taken on our boat ride towards the island of Spinalonga

Here the clouds balance the lighthouse at Chania

It was on the home-bound journey, feeling very happy to have a window seat, that I finished the book.  We crossed several warm and cold fronts, all with their typical cloud formations, and leaving the plane at the same time at the Captain, when he saw me clutching my book, commented:  "Fine clouds today!" Indeed.....


  1. I have a copy of 'The Cloudspotter's Guide' but not the other book that you mention Noelle so will have to look out for that :) You've captured some fabulous clouds in your photos.

    1. Thanks Anna...clouds are so beautiful....