Wednesday, 21 December 2016

2016 Calendar - The Year in a Nutshell ...

Almost the end of another year.  The pictures I have chosen for my calendar are not necessarily the best photos I have taken but those that evoke a memory of a time or a place.  I have spent many more hours out of doors this year - gardening, walking - watching the seasons turn and revelling in each and every one.  Time is precious and I don't feel I have wasted it but observed  and participated and enjoyed living life to the full. 
Over the year I have posted hundreds of photos and have taken hundreds more; my camera seems permanently glued to my hand these days.  I have also kept a daily diary which has been useful when my memory has let me down.  There has been a constant struggle to find time to spend on the computer reading blogs and leaving comments, but I  felt I needed to change my priorities so I set myself a challenge at the beginning of 2016 - to get out and about more exploring; to read at least forty books during the year ( my book list on Goodreads tells me that I have in fact read fifty nine); and to spend less time staring at a screen.
I have spent a lot of time in the garden too - attempting to simplify so that I can handle it more easily as I get older and less able to do a lot of heavy work.  It has never been in such good shape and I am pleased with the results, not perhaps the garden of my dreams, but pleasant enough to be in and enjoy.
The only downside to the year was 'the flood'.  That took two months out of my life - such upheaval and stress, upset and inconvenience - but we survived to tell the tale, and now, you would never know it had happened.
So, that's it - the year in a nutshell.

A big thank you to everyone who has visited me here over the past year
your comments always brighten my day.


Friday, 9 December 2016

and the fog rolls in over the rumpled hills ...

The fog rolled in over the rumpled hills and stayed all day, creating a still and eerie, sound deadened quality to the landscape; trees and ghostly sheep disappeared leaving only sketchy outlines of where they once stood; crows fly, silently, invisible; into the murk and gloom. The following day the sun burnt the remains of the fog and the sky became clear and blue once more.  I watched as a cow gazed dreamily at her reflection in the pond, whilst her friends lolled about on the hillside; cudding and dreaming.  Startled sheep with ears pricked, watched as I strode towards the fence, timid but inquisitive.   A few trees hang on to the last of their leaves, and berries shimmer scarlet in the sunlight.  I walk until the sun goes down and dusk falls; a robin sings the last song of evening.


the first Lenten rose is blooming

north south east west - home's best


Friday, 2 December 2016

Sunlight and Shadow, Frost and Fire ...

A nice, calm morning - no wind, not too cold, no sun but still bright.  Checked on C next door to see if she was OK and she said she would like to go for a walk with me.  I took her on one of my secret walks that I have found whilst exploring - climbing over gates, jumping across streams and stumbling over filthy, muddy, boggy areas where livestock had been - I think she enjoyed it, although our footwear was pretty yukky by the end of the walk.

After breakfast I went 'hedgerow walking'.  I visited the hundred acre field (my name for it, no idea if it is a hundred acres or not, but it is a pretty big field).  I walked along the whole hedgerow looking for nothing in particular - berries, birds nests, a woodpecker darting from tree to tree - a miniature forest of ash saplings, bramble patches.  Although it wasn't particularly cold I began to feel chilled. I had stayed out too long.  I carried on and completed the field -  looking back over where I had walked - the huge field before me, and I felt like a king of all I surveyed.

Bright and crisp with a blue, blue sky - not a cloud in sight.
Went for a walk round the village after lunch, leaving David washing his car and mowing the lawn, hopefully for the last time this year (the lawn, not the car). 
I took photos of the sun on the sheep in the back fields and the trees with the sun striking them looked as if they were on fire.
Unfortunately my battery ran out just as I was taking pictures of shadows and texture for my explorations exercise - so I walked back across the fields and made my way home.

Heavy frost overnight.  Later, clear sky, bright sunshine with a definite nip in the air. I stopped by the canal on the way to town for food shopping -  loved the reflections in the frozen water. 
After lunch I walked down the road towards Saddington.  The sun was still shining - everywhere looked beautiful. It was warm too - the low winter sun was at a level where it shone directly into your eyes and cast long, long shadows.
I kept walking for the sheer enjoyment of it.

Another cold and frosty morning.  Everything is white and glistening in the sunlight.  It was so cold it almost hurt to breathe.

Woke up with a sore throat.  Didn't feel like going for a walk but I had to post a birthday card to my Aunt Nell, my last remaining Aunt, in her 90's now and still going strong. I walked to the post box, then cut through The Nook, which is a small enclave of cottages behind the church; down the alley, through the kissing gate and into the field called The Maltings where the two horses were eating their afternoon feed of hay and completely ignored me.  Through another kissing gate and out into Dag Lane and then home.
A flock of starlings settled on the tree at the end of the lane, chattering away and preening.  Although I felt rough when I set out, the walk in the chilled air made me feel a little better.

A dull, bleak morning.  Still feeling under the weather with this cold.  David is coming down with it too.  Consequently not a lot has got done in terms of anything useful.  A book I had ordered 'Notes from the Sofa by Raymond Briggs arrived which cheered me up a little, it is a compilation of reflections on life and what it is to get older - very funny.
Only walked down the lane to the cattle grid (why we still call it the cattle grid I have no idea, as it was removed several years ago once they fenced the fields) - old habits die hard.
On the way back I stopped for a chat with Mr. Angry, so named because of an incident when our sheep got into his garden - I don't think anyone remembers his real name any more - so Mr. Angry it is.  We spoke about the weather, as you do if you're British, saying how mild it was today - he blamed it on Brexit, smiled and walked on.
Returning home I sat and read my new book and watched the afternoon film, 'Vertigo', at the same time.  Finished with a spoonful of Buttercup Cough Syrup to ease my throat and tight chest.

And just for good measure I include another picture of a horse and a bunch of chrysanthemums, because I seem to include them in all my blog posts at the moment.