Sunday, 23 April 2017

Not out of the woods yet

Back to work tomorrow but we're not out of the woods yet. This was a brief detour through the Forest of Dean on the way to Gloucester












Saturday, 22 April 2017

Lighting Summer's Candles

My first whitethorn of 2017 - and oh that smell!

Our local woods are a good place to go for some restorative calm ...

... even though the crows were having a right old bicker in the trees at the top of the gorge.

There seemed to be more bluebells today than there used to be ...

... but no more than the usual proliferation of cow parsley. 

It hasn't rained much lately and the river bed is already quite dry but there was still enough water to please a mucky border collie. 

Further downstream we could see - and then smell - the ramsons ... 

... and early summer had already lit her candles. 








Monday, 17 April 2017

Westridge Woods and Nibley Knoll

I like Wotton-under-Edge, though it's not the best of places to start a hill-top walk from. The clue is in the name. 

To avoid the long haul, we decided to drive up Old London Road and tackle the walk to Tyndale Monument from a higher elevation. It was a good call. 








Already there was a sense of being right on the edge of the scarp, with a fairly steep drop to the west of the path.



I love bluebells contrasted with the lime of new leaves ... 


... and the copper of old.


How does the moss know when to stop?




The sides are so steep, you need to be careful you don't fall down them. 


There's an Iron Age promontory fort in the woods called Brackenbury Ditches. 


It's hard to get a proper sense of it amongst the trees. It's still impressive, though. 


As we left the camp, our destination - Tyndale Monument - came into view through the trees. 


The monument's been part of my life all my life, but it's only the third time, by my reckoning, that I've been up onto Nibley Knoll to see it at closer quarters. My father used to point it out every time we drove past on the A38, long before the M5 was built. 


With it came the story of the scholar and linguist, whose prosperous family moved down from the north of England during the Wars of the Roses, but who, being Gloucestershire born, is deemed one of our own. Born c1494, he was the first to translate the bible from Latin into English in 1526, and was strangled, then burnt at the stake in 1536. 

I keep meaning to read at least part of his translation, which has more than a flavour of the language and cadences of the Vale of Berkeley - just below the Edge there.    
Looking back at Westridge Woods


When I was last up here, 14½ years ago, the Victorian monument was closed to the public for safety reasons, but it's since been restored and now it's open. I figured I should get up there while my knees were still up to it - just. So I did.

Looking down to the Severn Bridges ... 


... and up towards Frocester Hill. 


Back in the woods, I was taking photos as if we hadn't seen a single bluebell at all on the way up. 


Heading back to the car, I recalled that on the previous walk up here, the day before my 41st birthday, the kids, my ex-husband and I had been joined by a dog who accompanied us all the way back to Wotton. 

It happened a few times on various walks around the West Country. I've yet to sort through all the photos of those years, but when I've come across any taken on those particular walks, I've been tickled to see that the dogs in question are invariably border collies. 
It's as if the universe was giving me reassurances of what was yet to happen: keep going, keep going - it's going to get so much better. 

Sunday, 16 April 2017

My Year in Sunrises

Still glad, every day when I wake up, for how my life has changed for the better. Sometimes there's a sunrise to match. Though I'm not expecting to see too many for the next few months as they'll mostly be happening while I'm asleep. So here, by way of a temporary farewell, is a year's worth. (If you stand very still, you can feel the planet move.)



5th August 2016




13th September 2016



26th September 2016



30th September 2016



3rd October 2016





20th November 2016



1st December 2016



9th December 2016



21st December 2016



23rd December 2016



24th December 2016



3rd January 2017



13th January 2017

Snow!



6th February 2017



8th February 2017



24th February 2017

Rosy-fingered dawn takes up smoking

Tree down  😢 



2nd March 2017

Bloomy damson and gold



6th March 2017

Sheeny as the inside of a fish skin



Twenty minutes on 7th March 2017



13th March 2017



3rd April 2017

When you wake up and find you've been scratching in your sleep



5th April 2017



6th April 2017

A sun pillar, when sun light reflects off the surfaces of falling ice crystals



7th April 2017



8th April 2017



13th April 2017