Thursday, 2 February 2017

January


January was a full month, lots going on but activity curtailed in the middle of the month when we both went down with an exhausting flu-type bug. I didn't take the opportunity to rest with the result that I still don't feel up to full strength yet - a lesson to be learned there, trying to keep going and ignoring the tiredness and cold symptoms doesn't seem to work for me as I get older, must slow down and rest.

A couple of weeks ago we spent a weekend in Edinburgh visiting our youngest son. The weather was bright and sunny and we managed a short walk in the Pentland Hills. This was the most snow I have seen so far this winter!


It was a glorious day to be out, wonderful to have access to the countryside so close to the city.


Back down in the city, a closer view towards the castle from Princes Street gardens.

Glimpses of the back of some of the buildings of the Royal Mile through the trees


and down at ground level, the first snowdrops


and a relatively tame urban rabbit!


Back at home we had several cold days,


no snow but very heavy frosts that lasted all day.


The water running from the fields froze on the lane making the daily walk more treachorous than usual.





This last weekend we went to the south coast for the day. It is a year since my father-in-law died and we wanted to visit the crematorium. We left home early and enjoyed a walk by the sea.


The beach huts are all closed up at this time of the year


but still look attractive against the hill.


Even in January the plants form a softly coloured tapestry of different textures.


Finally a hint that spring isn't too far away, the seaside daisy, Erigeron glaucous, blooming alongside the promenade.


Friday, 23 December 2016

reflecting


Hello, after another lengthy pause on the blog. This has been a year when my attention has been fragmented across different issues and family members and consequently blogging has fallen by the wayside.

My father spent a couple of weeks in hospital at the end of last month and I stayed with my mother who has been diagnosed with Alzeimer's disease. My father is now back at home, well, but a little more confused than before so as you can imagine the situation is a very fragile one.

I have been trying to sort out some care for them which is proving difficult as they are both independent types who assure me they can cope on their own without help - not an easy situation.


The last few days have been quiet here though that may change as we feel the effects of the edge of the storms forecast for the north of the country.


Quiet seems appropriate for this solstice time of year, the darkest time, a time to withdraw and reflect. We are a small family and our Christmas is very low-key so I don't have to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the festival.


Sometimes I think that we make it just a bit too quiet, it can feel as if we are the only ones not invited to the party! Generally though I like the empty time at the end of the year.


2016 has been a difficult year for us, starting with the death of my father-in-law, followed by my husband breaking his leg, some job issues for our children and now the illness of my parents. I contemplate the best way to cope with the situation. Obviously I want to help, but such help has to be sustainable. Trying to balance caring and helping my parents with working, looking after my home, my immediate family and my own health is not easy.


I am going for walks in the countryside, taking photographs and trying to slow down as the year comes to an end.


I am hoping to blog more regularly next year. Introspection and withdrawal can lead to loss of connection and I value the connections I have made through this blog which is almost ten years old. Walking and photography are important ways to relax for me and the blog is a good place to record my pictures and thoughts.

I particularly like the photograph below taken during the darkest time of the year but showing fresh new shoots on the honeysuckle, appropriate as we head away from the winter solstice to longer brighter days ahead.


I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a calm and peaceful 2017.

Friday, 14 October 2016

October










October has been wonderful this year, mild temperatures and clear blue skies. I go for a walk almost everyday. There is so much to see at this time of year and although I don't travel very far there is so much to photograph.




Monday, 19 September 2016

around Chagford


More holiday photographs.

This is the cottage we stayed in in Chagford right the centre of the village. Its not obvious from the picture but it is built on a hill. It was a small cottage, only four rooms plus entrance but none of those rooms were on the same level, four or five steps between each one.

It was attached to the owners house at the back and we could use their garden. It was a long thin garden and when we walked the length of it, the furthest part through the arch, was just for us. This suited us because with my husband still not walking far after breaking his leg and ankle in the spring we spent more time at the holiday cottage than we would normally do. It was nice to be able to relax in the garden without intruding on the owners space.


There are two hills above Chagford and while my husband relaxed in the garden I was able to walk up both (on separate days). Meldon hill was the highest at  390m  and was a steep climb up through the bracken. It was worth it for the view of the village from the top.


I sat for a while on these granite rocks near the top. The path was steep and slippery with loose gravel so I made my way down very slowly grabbing hold of the bracken to stop myself sliding. Realising how much damage you can do after a simple fall ( my husband had two breaks in his leg and fractures in his ankle and after six months is still not able to walk far or to drive) has made me a lot more cautious especially when like this I am out on my own. On this day I didn't see anyone while walking up and down the hill. However if I didn't walk out on my own I wouldn't have seen these wonderful views and I do enjoy being out in nature. Its a difficult balance between being "sensible", not taking risks yet not being over cautious.


Another day I walked up Nattadon hill. This time I could walk up by the road. The next photograph is looking across to Meldon Hill and you can see the path winding up through the gravel on the right of the picture.


A slightly different view of the town.


I love the patchwork of small fields bounded by hedges in this part of Devon.


Just a few miles from Chagford was the National Trust property, Castle Drogo. As you can see from the photograph there is a huge restoration project on at the moment and the house wasn't open.


There were guided tours of the renovation work, so my husband went on one of those while I followed a circular walk nearby.


I walked down through the woods to the river in the valley, then along a shady path beside it


before climbing back up to the castle. It was a hot day but a lot of the walk was shaded by trees.


We met up in the castle gardens and enjoyed the sunshine before heading back to our little garden at the cottage.







Wednesday, 14 September 2016

autumnal


These days, September and October are my favourite months. I've always preferred spring with its freshness and promise but, perhaps something to do with getting older, now the slower days of autumn appeal more.


This year we have the autumnal cobwebs, berries and early mornings but in the middle of the day, a real indian summer with temperatures in the 20ºs. It is a perfect combination.



There is a stillness about autumn, the crops have gone and the weeds and wildflowers grow before the ground is ploughed. The fields are full of birds feasting on any grains left behind. Pigeons mainly.



We walked around a local lake on Sunday, very calm and quiet.




The leaves are beginning to fall.


The skies at sunrise have been amazing, this has been my morning view this week.


Autumn has come to the garden too. This is our little front garden, the cyclamen get better each year as new self seeded plants appear.