The garden is now being shut down for the winter, with only leeks and our tuscan kale left for picking. Last year the kale lasted us all through the winter into spring.
The blueberry bushes and our pear tree are putting on a fine display of autumn colours at the moment and in the flower garden we still have a few roses blooming and the cosmos never seems to give in, even after a couple of frosts.
We have had a very hot and mainly dry July, excepting a couple of dramatic thunderstorms. So everything has galloped ahead, especially the courgettes and pattipan squash. We should be having our first squash risotto this week, in fact.
We have dug and eaten our first new potatoes and have finished the peas which were again very disappointing this year. The herbs and flowers are also know looking fantastic, especially the hyssop and fennel and the jerusalem artichoke’s are as usual, reaching for the sky.
I’ve been playing around with the Nik filters collection which Google has now made available free. This original colour shot was adjusted using the black and white Silver Efex Pro 2 filters and is posted as part of the WordPress weekly photo challenge, Landscape.
This weeks photo challenge is “Half-Light” and in this landscape the sunlight was flickering in and out of the cloud cover.
This reminded me of the track “Halflife” by Grasscut from the album “Everyone Was A Bird”. A band who take much of their inspiration for their music from the landscape.
From the liner notes by Robert Macfarlane
‘Halflife’ is the most haunted of all the tracks here. The ‘he’ of the lyric is the Welsh poet Hedd Wyn, who like Sassoon joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers, who was killed at Passchendaele on the last day of July 1917, and who had been born and brought up near the village of Trawsfynydd – which in 1959 became the site of a twin-reactor Magnox nuclear power station. Anyone who has been to Trawsfynydd will know the huge cognitive dissonance of the area: out on the island in the lake stands the decaying concrete castle, with its lethal treasure still inside, while above and behind it rear the Rhinog mountains, wild and catastrophic.
‘Halflife’ imagines Wynn as a post-nuclear apparition trapped in an 8mm film-loop by the shores of the lake: ‘a loop he makes / through silver birches flickering / by concrete towers he disappears / disappears’. It’s a track that works its way under the mind’s skin. It flickers itself, moving in and out of clarity. The language of decommissioning and unknown futures haunt it, and fragments of the past fly through it – like the ‘shells by the roadside’ which recall the nosecap shell that struck Wynn in the stomach as he crossed the Pilckem Ridge advancing on the Iron Cross stronghold. ‘I saw him fall’, remembered a fellow Fusilier, ‘I saw him fall on his knees and grab two fistfuls of dirt. He was dying, of course.’
This February has been the mildest and warmest we have known since moving here. Usually it can be very cold with periods of -5C to -9C overnight and sometimes much colder. A few days ago it was 20C during the afternoon, so it’s no surprise that the garden is a bit advanced and we have primroses in full bloom.
These are also some of the first photos I’ve taken with my new phone (Moto G 3rd gen.) and I’m really pleased with the results, a great improvement on my old iPhone 4.
“…begin with the near and familiar. It is in learning to love and cherish our own little tree, or field or brook that we become fitted for wider and deeper affections”
R. S. Thomas preface to The Batsford Book of Country Verse.
We live on a tiny road, that winds up through the forest from the village below to our hamlet and then on to the next village about 5k up the road. Between our house and the next village the forest varies between conifers, firs and deciduous mixed woodland, mainly beech, oak and ash. We have walked this route for over five years now, in all weathers and all seasons, building up a large library of photographs. During our walks we have seen wild boar, foxes, pine martens, stoats, feral cats, ravens and numerous buzzards and failed to photograph any of them! It’s an ever changing scene through the seasons, with autumn possibly the star as the forest really glows at that time of year.
“Le Cévenol” rail route links Clermont Ferrand with Nimes and has 106 tunnels and many viaducts. Originally built to transport wine and opened in 1870, it still runs regular services through the stunning Haute-Loire and Cevennes countryside. You can read much more about this line on this post over on “The Enlightened Traveller.”
There are many abandoned stops on the line and this is a small halt between Brioude and Langeac, complete with old fireplace. The halt is a little way from the village as the line enters a deep cut at the village so the halt had to be placed a few hundred metres up the line.