Sunday, March 19, 2023

shepherd's hut, thames-side walks, unique landscapes, time and space, spring

A short holiday in far-off Northmoor, staying in one of the shepherd's huts at the Red Lion. All of seven and a half miles away.

Excellent walks along the Thames path - the land ancient seeming and much different to the flood plain near our village. All along the west Oxfordshire Thames, it's just flat land, grass, trees, and at this time of year, standing water, but each landscape is individual, unique.

Haven't posted for a while. Not much time for anything but work this last month. Am hoping for a bit more space for my own projects over the coming weeks - and fun too.

Beautiful spring afternoon here.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

snaps from the last freeze, ice on the frog pond, handy big coffee maker!


Frosty photos from the last freeze, as night-time temperatures drop and green starts to whiten again - though just a dusting this morning.

When I snapped these the lanes were too slippy for cycling and I'd taken to walking along the Clanfield road as far as Cowleaze Corner and back via Weald, with a final flourish down Queen Street and the wynds that bring you back to our street.

The world was grey and muffled that Sunday early afternoon. I was worried about the frogs in our pond because the ice was getting too thick to break in the corner beneath the hedgehog ramp. In the end I had to sink holes, three inches deep, using our big coffee maker! Haven't had to get this out - for coffee or saving frogs - for several years. (I prefer a French press these days, for brewing coffee - not so handy when it comes to melting ice!)

Hard to imagine it getting to minus five tomorrow morning. Such a beautiful spring-like day.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

vibrant, sharpest, necessary space

Vibrant colours under the sharpest of winter lights, when I walked at lunchtime along the Oxford canal yesterday.

A see-things-afresh afternoon.

Necessary space in an otherwise crowded day.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

terrific oclw conference, things to think about, fun in oxford, cycling, lemon-sorbet

Terrific conference at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing at Wolfson College, yesterday, entitled Possibilities and Pitfalls when Writing about Living People.

A lot of things to think about in relation to Trust, so that I can attempt to make it publishable, whilst also staying true to its current form and structure. It's the right time, now the hurt and anger have waned (how long it takes!) and fairness and letting the story speak for itself can inform the narrative. A question of final cuts and adding extra text that gives clarity and depth.

There are some things I know must go, despite previous attachment to them.

It's very reassuring and affirming to be at a conference like yesterday's.

It was also fun to spend the first part of the morning in Oxford before it started. Breakfast then a walk round the Parks (dodging the complex rhythms of the inexorable 100 or so organised runners, zig-zagging the paths, each jogging at their individual pace with the encouragement of cheerful stewards). Where I saw the moss on a tree-branch. Photographing it, a still centre of looking, marvelling and concentration. A few moments of taking stock at the Kellogg Hub, before a drenched wander up to Wolfson.

Met some lovely people at the conference, which was infused with positivity and friendliness. How to run such an event!

Things are taking off at work as the term and New Year get underway.

Today was beautiful. Loved completing one or two tasks left-over from before Christmas. Gorgeous cycle up Mount Owen and back. Was that light best described as lemon-sorbet? It was certainly deceptively spring-like - as sharp-talloned snow and ice make ready to swoop.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

gibbous, sherborne park walk, eleven happy days, refreshed if still in denial!


A gibbous moon over the National Trust's Sherborne Park estate yesterday, 2nd January 2023.

Photographed as the light was fading but it had been showing in the afternoon sky throughout our walk.

It has been great to spend time at home and in and around the village for the last eleven days, and to celebrate Christmas and the New Year (lots of delicious things to eat and drink, including veg from the allotment).

Took today off, so tomorrow's my first work day - though I have been doing some light tasks here and there.

Can't really believe it's the end of the holidays but I certainly feel refreshed and ready to start 2023!

Thursday, December 29, 2022

st beornwald's day concert, juxtaposed stonework, herring-bone, slug-scalloped beetroots, trad soup, drinks!


Wonderful St Beornwald's Day concert from Bampton Classical Opera on the shortest day of the year at St Mary's church. An extensive selection of festive German 17th century music.

As you will discover - if you don't know already - St B is the village's Anglo-Saxon saint, whose shrine attracted pilgrims to its pre-Conquest minster church, some of which can still be seen in the arches of the current tower. The herring-bone stonework in the picture above. I like the juxtaposition of Anglo-Saxon and 'modern' 12th century masonry.

Had given up on beetroot soup during the biting frosts before Christmas, imagining that the already slug-scalloped crop was finished. But when harvesting carrots, parsnips and leeks for Christmas Day lunch, I found that there were several  survivors - somewhat soft but still firm-ish and whole. J confirmed they might be OK and once they were boiled she was able to make a beautiful sweet soup - our traditional Christmas starter for decades.

Lovely to have terrace neighbours round for drinks last night.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

lunchtime scoot, four (five?) cormorants, luminosity, just back in time


Did a quick scoot through Jericho, along the canal to the station, up river to Port Meadow, and back via the canal at lunchtime.

Saw four cormorants on look out high in a tree beside the Thames. Fascinating birds! Hard to believe they cling onto the narrow branches so tightly.

Have a feeling, though, that the carcass I saw near the station early this morning might have been one - hope it's not bird flu. There are warning signs about it on the meadow.

A little further up stream, the light was luminous as storm clouds gathered. Just reached the office in time to miss the rain!