Saturday, January 22, 2022

mount owen bike ride, a poem

Just a quick bike ride,

no more than thirty, thirty-five minutes.

From the village to the incline of the mount -


It's what it's called but I never know

whether it's a joke.

I suppose everything's relative and from the top, 

the country dips and rises -

the start of the Cotswolds,

I like to think.

And somewhere, I've read that the village

is the Gateway to them.

But, is it? Or is that a travel agent's


But ...

On the straight, after the brow,

looking, dangerously, forgetting how narrow

and pitted and pot-holed the Tarmac is,

you can imagine you've

leaped from flat earth - the

Polder Lands, Victorians called our wide,

wide stretch of the river's planes -

to vistas and rolls that make poets 

lyrical and estate agents skip.

In the far distance used to be the

power station with its micro-climactic


But now it's gone.

Or has it?

I can never remember whether the papers

said they'd left one tower - 

and sometimes I have fancied I can see it.


At the junction, I turn back and

soon climb the longer, gentler slope.

After the straight, the road and fields falling;

the village, the near-thousand-year-old spire ...

The old part, the new part, the newest part,

that everyone says spoils the view.

But then you think,

Am I being a NIMBY?

And on a day like today, the sun

coming through, traces of mist softening the buildings,

you wonder what the fuss was about,

where the truth lies.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

before the wolf, logs, returning, waxing gibbous

On the morning before it became the wolf, I walked to the shed to get logs. Returning, there it was to the north west, low, still waxing gibbous behind the trees in the manor gardens.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

cycling, winter-sunned, the gateless gated road, cheesy beetroots, freshness lingers, weirdness persists, optimism?


After the ice melted, I went on a cycle ride through the winter-sunned countryside. So different to the slatiness that capped all enthusiasm yesterday.

This photo was taken looking back along Calcroft Lane (aka The Gated Road - no longer with its gates) near Clanfield, our neighbouring village. The field on the left is enormous, usually planted with corn and either greened by winter corn or fallow at this time of year. This time, though, sheep graze on strips of fodder roots.

The water is lying on this and many fields. 

Cheesy beetroots with ham later - thanks J! - the beetroots harvested just before Christmas having lasted longer than expected.

Mice have been nibbling spuds and wrecking Hessian sacks in the shed. Monsters!

The freshness that was there at the start of the working week after the holidays has survived but with Oxford 0th Week beginning today, tasks mount.

The new phase of the pandemic, living with Covid, is as weird as anything that has come before. Though one can't help but clutch at the encouraging words of optimists.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

first violet of 2022!

First violet of 2022 - on a verge, between Queen Street and Bushy Row, Bampton.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 31, 2021

happy new year!!!!


Happy New Year!!!! Let's hope 2022 will be a whole lot better than 2021!!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

low cloud, darkness, dragonfly bench, precious fleeting moments


A second walk round the Sherborne Estate. This time with cloud hugging the land, the daylight almost suffocated, darkness close by. But still invigorating.

Features of the walks are the wood sculptures, including this dragonfly bench near the ice house.

Wonderful to have a break from work and to enjoy being at home, not working from it. The time flies, though. Every fleeting moment is precious.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

walking the sherborne estate, wives and daughters, tenant of wildfell hall, red sancerre

A terrific walk round the Sherborne estate north of Burford earlier.

Then lunch watching the final episode of Wives and Daughters. What a weepy that was! Next up, North and South.

Quite a nineteenth century time, this Christmas: picking up The Tenant of Wildfell Hall where I left off a while back (about half-way through). Now racing through the chapters!

Walking the carriage drive at Sherborne seemed wholly appropriate.

Tried a red Sancerre at lunch - pinot noir from Domaine Cherrier ( A pinot like no other! So full and rich!