Sunday, 10 May 2015

Wild art

As you may know by now, I'm a lover of all things wild, and here are some examples of what I call 'wild art'.

This driftwood sculpture on Branscombe Beach in East Devon yesterday . . .

. . . bedecked with ribbons . . .

. . . the dog likes it too . . .

. . . looking very small from the path through the undercliff. 

And here are some crocheted tree decorations I came across in a local wood a few weeks ago.

Does anyone know how to reduce the quality of pictures so that they upload more quickly? The pictures from my new camera are taking forever. (Nina of 'The Owl and the Pussycat' did tell me several years ago but her email vanished when my previous computer crashed, and anyway technology's probably changed since then.)

Sunday, 29 March 2015

What lies around that corner?

As I take yet another photograph of a path, I realise that I have a fascination with roads, tracks and paths of all kinds - in spite of liking my nature as wild as possible. So here are some of the photographs of roads, tracks and paths that I’ve taken over the last few years.

The most recent first, the one that set me thinking. This is a path at a park near home that I've photographed several times at different times of year.

At a local park last week
This is another path near home, on one of my default walks. Here it is a couple of weeks ago, looking green in spite of the season.

Near home a few weeks ago

The next picture is the Taunton and Bridgwater Canal, taken in January this year on a bitterly cold day (and including Frog and Dog).

The Taunton and Bridgwater Canal in January

I took this picture of the road that runs past our house in February a few years ago. I've always called it 'Waiting for spring' because it seems filled with such longing (or perhaps it was just me).

Waiting for spring

And here are some less wintry pictures. The first was taken near the village of Otterton in East Devon at the end of April a couple of years ago.

April near Otterton

Here is the same park as the first picture (different path), one September.

September park

Seeing these pictures together makes me wonder whether it's paths' sense of mystery that intrigues me, their brooding presence. The air is thicker in paths than in the space around them. If only I could take hold of it and squeeze it, I might have some answers. What is the meaning of the road ahead? What is it telling me? Am I going in the right direction? What lies around that corner or at the end of the path where the view fades into the distance?

My life is full of uncertainties and change at the moment. My mother is ill. Frog's jobs are in upheaval. I'm no longer 'a writer'; I'm the editor of our local magazine. I have no idea where I'll be in the next few weeks, let alone months.

Although it's tiring at times, I don't mind. I've always been a walker, a traveller.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Describing colours

I see that Roselle has done a recent blog post called ‘Shades of yellow’ and this reminds me both of a post I've done of the same name and of Roselle’s novel-writing course which I followed a couple of years ago.

One of the exercises on the course was to describe a scene, being precise about colours – not just saying that something was ‘brown’ for instance but describing the particular shade of brown. I realised that, because I’m not a painter, I didn’t have words for the different shades (eg umber, sienna, sepia – as my Thesaurus tells me) but could only describe them in terms of other objects, eg ‘chocolate’ brown.

So here is my attempt on my walk yesterday to describe the many shades of yellow I saw.

The usual description of this colour is 'buttery' but, looking closely, I see that there are darker bits - 'burnt butter' perhaps

The word that springs to mind for this lichen is 'sulphur' but I've never seen sulphur so 'mustard' would be more honest

Daffodils are supposed to be the epitome of yellow but they do have a 'sulphurous' tinge . . .

. . . unlike these celandines whose yellow is pure sun, pure joy - albeit with egg-yolk in the middle

I have no doubt about the colour of this string - it's 'lemon'

And that's not a good image on which to end this post, but that's the countryside for you. Perhaps I should end it instead with this picture of Ellie and the baby rabbit she caught.

As Frog says, it's the (terracotta) sandy paws that are most pathetic

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Worn out, muddy, end-of-winterish

This field at the top of the hill called out to me this morning to be photographed. I think it’s because it reflects how I feel myself at the moment – worn out, muddy, end-of-winterish. Here is the same field in September (2013) - spruce and fruitful.

I’ve spent the week sewing, taking a break from the editing of our local newsletter on which I’ve been working flat out ever since I took it over last October. I had begun to feel out of touch with myself.

I don’t think I’m good enough to be a novelist, but I miss writing. I miss the solitude and the freedom. Editing and winter have drained my creative cauldron. I need ploughing, manuring and re-seeding. I need light and warmth.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015


You might notice that I have a new follower called 'Gif'. I think it's spam so please don't click on any links connected to it - I would hate anything bad to happen to you. (It's safe to click on the icon itself because I've done that myself, but I wouldn't go any further.)

Do you have any suggestions as to how to get rid of it??

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Places of unknowing

Like Trish in her blog 'What's cooking?', I'm posting a picture of yesterday's extraordinary sunset (in Devon at least).

Sunset, Devon, 26.1.15

And here are some pictures of an outing Frog and I took last Thursday to what is turning into our favourite county: Somerset. Not Burrow Mump this time but the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal.

Mistletoe, poplars, Frog and Dog
Reeds and wind - a bitter north-easterly

In a recent post Autumn Cottage Diarist talks about being in a place of unknowing after her beloved cat was rushed to the vet. I'm in my own place of unknowing since my 87-year-old mother was rushed to hospital about two weeks ago, and I've tried to blog about it three times, but without success. I feel better now she's back at home, and that I've spoken to her on the telephone, and that I've arranged that Frog and I will visit in a couple of weeks' time. She lives four hours' drive away from us so it's difficult to give unplanned help. Thankfully I have four siblings closer at hand and they and their spouses/partners are doing sterling work providing her with round-the-clock attention.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

With a few words

A cold day – 1o according to my car display – and grey and damp with it.

My creative eye returns as I walk the dog in a nearby park, and there are several things I want to photograph. Why I want to photograph these particular things, I have no idea and so I have nothing to say about them – my creative brain is obviously still shocked into submission by my recent editing work.

So here are some pictures without words. Well, with a few words.

Bramble cage

Dead branches furred with lichen

Sprouted willow (at least, it looks like willow - I can't remember now what it was)

Mossed rock
Everything looks a lot brighter in the pictures than it did in reality - I think my new camera decided that the day was far too dingy and was trying to compensate.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

So simple

I’ve just sent to the proofreader a PDF of the monthly newsletter I edit. Unless anything is drastically wrong with it, I now have ten days’ or so of grace.
    I can’t wait.
    I love doing the newsletter. It’s given me confidence. I have a role in the village. I no longer feel like a freak with no children and no ‘job’ (except writing, which nobody but another writer understands). I’m thoroughly enjoying getting to grips with Microsoft Publisher.
    BUT, although only supposed to take a ‘few hours a month’ (according to the previous editor), it’s taken over most of my life.
    It’s my own fault. I think about the newsletter all the time and how I can make it better. I care about the contributors. I want more people in the village to read it. I'm scared of not being good enough or making some awful mistake.
    And I’ve lost sight of my other self. My writing self. The self who sees things when out walking that she just has to photograph.
    The self which makes me happy. 
Yesterday, I sat on the hill with the dog (as I do), basking in the sun and revelling in the view – all the way to Dartmoor, the tops of which were still sprinkled with snow.
    This is my time, I said to myself. All I have to do is make the decision to allow myself a few moments – or more.
    It’s so simple really.

A not-very-good photograph taken last week from the hill when there was a lot of snow on Dartmoor. You might have to use your imagination to see it here however.