open the curtains

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


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Winter Garden

From the upper lawn the view across the valley looked very green. A small patch of the Helford River was just visible beyond the specimen trees and the lower ponds, the woodland on the far hillside seeming an extension of the garden’s greenery. The water too was green, a deep teal, too far to see any movement, the day too dull for reflection or sparkle. But this is what Cornwall does best, nurtures its sheltered hollows of sub-tropical escape from the dull reality of the British weather so that even when a bright sunny day turns overcast you can walk beneath treeferns and bamboo stands green as ever – green as summer – and escape the grey. Continue reading


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Robin & Redstart

Black Redstart2  

A flit of movement catches the corner of my eye as I sit in the back window to write. The bird is the same colour as the bare tree branches, the back fence, the garden table, the floor outdoors: the base colour of winter under a uniform sky that’s trying to rain. Is it…? I wonder, scrabbling for my glasses to get a better look, but even before I put them on I see the flash of its russet frontage. Only a robin after all. Continue reading


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Retrospective: 2014 in 14

This seemed to work quite well last year so here’s this year’s shot at a little recap of 2014 in 14 sentences with 14 photos I’ve taken during the course of the year. If you click on the first image you can read the text alongside the pictures as you scroll through if you prefer.

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Retrospective: 2013 in 13

Here’s 2013 in 13 sentences with 13 photos I’ve taken during the course of the year. I don’t know if it’s true that I spent more time in and around Falmouth than previous years, but it’s felt like it, so I’ve chosen to present a retrospective that reflects that. That’s not to say I didn’t go anywhere else or do anything outside of Falmouth and Cornwall, but I thought it would be appropriate to mark the passing of time focusing on the place I invested the most time in. If you click on the first image you can read alongside the pictures as you scroll through them if you prefer.

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Winter Coat

All winter it hung on the back of the ironing room door, waiting for it to be cold enough outside to justify wearing it.

Christmas came and I travelled the breadth of the country one day before torrential rain flooded huge tracts of railway lines across the Westcountry making train journeys in either direction impossible.

But still it wasn’t cold enough to need the Winter Coat. Continue reading


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Walking Brown

Mud underfoot. Old mud on my boots. New mud on the old mud. My hair beneath my hat, the long rope of my plait. My jacket, faded in patches. Under the collar the deep fertile corduroy of a furrowed field, the bleached shoulders compacted loam.

Bare trees. Bark and branch. Damp stumps. Dead leaves hanging; dead leaves fallen. Dead leaves crunching beneath my tread; dead leaves catching in the breeze. Dead leaves soaking in the day old rain, dissolving like wet paper to a humic pulp.

Fence and fencepost. Gate and stile. Lichen. Lych gate. Grave stone under tree. Green shoots through roots and leaf drifts. The first crocus spears pale colour up. Continue reading


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Swan Baby Gone

February 15th 2013 

The first daffodils are showing in the cemetery. Early catkins strand dull branches.

The first cherry blossoms are spreading a veil of palest pink on trees in gardens and hedgerows. Velveteen buds where last week, nothing.  Five o’clock and the sun’s still not drifted down behind the headland. An evening walk becomes late afternoon again. Families and students on the beach after school and uni.

Two swans alone on Swanpool. I scan the lake for any sign of the grown-up cygnet. She’s nowhere to be seen.

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