open the curtains

and take a look out the window if you want to know what the weather's like


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Shadowlands & Reflections

I wrote this a while ago as a sort of joke 2012 retrospective piece, and initially wasn’t going to post it on here at all. However, in the wake of the popularity of my previous post wherein I visited the location of a BBC adaptation of a classic novel, it seems more appropriate. Forget country houses and nineteenth-century romances and read on if you fancy a trip to Narnia by way of the Great British countryside…

Wrapping myself more tightly in my inadequate layers I attempt to minimise the possible gaps in my clothing through which the wind can creep, and peer over the ship’s railings to see if I can catch a better glimpse of our destination. Cee is standing a little ahead of me on deck keeping a weather eye on the horizon. The first hint that there was something other than sea out there appeared about an hour into the voyage, a smudge on the border between sea and sky that disappeared almost as soon as it had arrived, leaving us in doubt as to whether it had been visible at all. Continue reading


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The Snowmen and other stories

Last Monday it snowed. I thought that might happen if I specifically posted an article about it snowing everywhere else in the UK apart from where I was. I’d like to claim that’s why I did it, but in truth I was so delighted with the sunshine I couldn’t have wished for any other weather there and then. It didn’t snow much, just an inch or two stuck on the roofs, fences and our garden table. A quick walk proved the landscape to be underwhelmingly under-snowed-under, with no frost to rime the trees and little more than a sugar sprinkling left on the fields and farms of the surrounding hills. I came back home and scraped up all the snow in the garden to make the biggest snowman that I possibly could. Ten minutes later he developed a lean and his hat fell off. Before half an hour had gone by he’d broken in the middle. Continue reading


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Effigy of a Country Churchyard

 

 

 

A vignette from the archives on theme of churches.

As it was set in early January I could only connect church with Christmas.

So I wrote about cake, as you do.

 

Two days until Christmas and the snow is just the icing on the cake.  Literally.  Outside the snow has mostly melted away or compacted to a slippery brown fudge, much less festive than the sugar and egg-white idyll of the traditional family Christmas cake.  The scene is set with a plaster polar bear peeping out from frosty model trees at the foot of a marzipan hill.  The hill is crowned with a two-inch plaster effigy of a church with a red brick square tower and bright stained glass windows in a creamy rendered nave.

A couple of miles away stands the real thing, postcard perfect on its hill-on-a-hill, though thankfully without any bears in the woods.  Continue reading


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Tree Time

Continuing with National Tree Week here’s something from the archives about a memorable tree from the garden of the house where I grew up.

Thanks to Blacktop Rain for reminding me of it  (the article that is, I couldn’t forget the tree).

A long garden, defined by trees.  The forked apple tree at the centre is the focal point that pulls the eye, the point to which all garden-doings seem to gravitate.  Birds make it their stopover on route from hedge to hedge, like children touching base in a game of tag.

It marks the time, this tree, standing like a sundial in the centre of the lawn, its shadow marking out the hours, its changing appearance marking out the seasons.  In winter it’s a bare framework, mushroom coloured and silvery, smooth on the newer branches, patched on the older trunk with flakes like burnt bark pastry.  An ancient scar is filled with cement.  Continue reading