The beauty of decay

Do you think that beauty is exclusively the preserve of youth and vitality? CONTINUE READING BELOW

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I always have fresh flowers in the house and recently bought a lovely spray of roses. Of course cut flowers fade sooner or later and are discarded, to be replaced with a new arrangement.

But this time I held on to the roses as they began to wither away. Fellow blogger and Australian photographer Lee Cleland suggested drying some blooms and capturing them – an excellent idea.

The vibrancy of flowers fresh from the florist is replaced by a darker mood and the sense of impending death.

But the beauty isn’t diminished by degradation. In fact I think the creative rewards and interest are enhanced. How about you?

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Morocco’s resort city

Morocco’s seaside city of Agadir was rebuilt from scratch in 1960 after a devastating earthquake. It’s popular with European tourists but does it lack Eastern promise? CONTINUE READING BELOW

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Agadir’s crowning glory is its long, sweeping beach and promenade. They’re popular with Moroccans and tourists for walks, football games and dipping into the frothy Atlantic brine.

The shoreline is beautiful, and drew me into the water with my camera to capture reflections and the sheen on the sands.

It’s lined with a dizzying array of hotels, including the Palais de Roses which was my pleasant base for the week. Yes, the area feels a little watered down, European-leaning and lacking the North African buzz and excitement of Marrakech. It’s easier to find a steak dinner than a lamb tagine.

Couple on Agadir beach, Morocco

A romantic moment on Agadir’s beach

You could easily spend a week lounging by the pool and wandering along the beach. But inland there’s a whole other Agadir which is well worth exploring. It’s quite a walk from the seaside but there’s no shortage of taxis to take the strain. 

The city centre is where everyday Moroccan life happens. And given it was rebuilt in the 1960s, back streets in the Abattoir district look like they’ve been there for centuries.

You have to visit the Souk el Had, crammed with produce, tourist trinkets and just about everything else you can lay your hands on. It’s heady, pungent and brings you that Eastern promise in spades. Don’t be too polite to say no to stallholders’ approaches, and be careful when photographing people in the market.

It’s also worth taking a taxi up to Oufella, the hill that overlooks Agadir bay and is emblazoned with the words ‘God, King and country’. The views are exceptional, although when I went it was unusually murky (typical).

I also went on day trips to other parts of the coast, but can appreciate why some visitors decide to take it easy and just soak up the sun. The choice is all yours in the city of Agadir.

  • The UK Foreign Office is advising against all but essential overseas travel. Since July 4 a number of countries are exempt from this advisory, but at time of publication Morocco is not on this list. Morocco’s borders are closed to overseas visitors.

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Five northern seaside gems

Holidays abroad for Britons may be making a tentative comeback as the coronavirus lockdown eases, but many people will opt to stay close to home. 

After a busy period of travel, a day trip now seems like an ambitious aim to me. However, the coast is in striking distance from my home city of Manchester by public transport and car. Here’s a look at five of the best places you can visit.


A beautiful stretch of sand within sight of the city of Liverpool, made special by sculptures of male figures dotted along the shoreline, which come and go with the ebb and flow of the tide. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO FIND OUT MORE

View of Crosby Beach and Another Place sculpture


A wonderful spot on the edge of the Wirral Peninsula, with north Wales across the water, sweeping sands offering low tide hikes and a marine lake to wander round. It feels like the end of the world. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO FIND OUT MORE

Jetty on marine lake at West Kirby on the Wirral


A famous long stretch of the Lancashire coast, encompassing miles of sands and including the genteel seaside town of Lytham St Anne’s and its totemic windmill. An excellent day out in all seasons. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO FIND OUT MORE

Sail of Lytham St Anne's windmill at dusk


A much-loved resort on the Mersey coastline north of Liverpool. The pier, which turns naked and exposed when the tide goes out, is a highlight. Long walks across the sands are a treat any time of the year. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO FIND OUT MORE

Tide out at Southport beach, Merseyside


Back to the Wirral and what was once Liverpool’s seaside playground. One side of the town sits at the point where the Mersey River meets the sea. Plenty of coastal walks and fish and chip lunches to be had here. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO FIND OUT MORE

Red cranes on the Mersey estuary at New Brighton

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Beautiful Triffids

I bought two bunches of these popular wedding flowers for the first time and wasn’t impressed. Read more below

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The stalks of my Freesias seemed too tall and spindly, with the blooms perched on top like Triffids. And I was none too keen on their pungent fragrance.

It wasn’t until I photographed these flowers at close quarters that I appreciated their beauty, with delicate mauve and robust pastel pink and yellow petals.

By using a variety of backgrounds, these specimens became photogenic and versatile. I wonder what’s next in my ongoing indoor floral project?

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