Moon and Jupiter

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Well you could barely see them really, but a few months ago , in winter, one dawn I saw the crescent moon and the planet Jupiter. The planet was up on a diagonal from the curve of the moon. Like a parachute blowing out of control in a strong wind, canopy downward and the planet swinging up and away into the morning sky. The branches made it hard to see, hard to locate, and as the wind was blowing the view was obstructed by the swaying trees. Most of the time the planet would be visible and the moon not and then vice versa.

So why am I telling you this? Because I spotted the photo and I wanted to practice describing it. I’ve mostly spoken about the Moon and Jupiter, not about the surroundings. The horizon. Is hidden by the line of shop roofs and tree branches. The sky has lightened but the sun is not up. The position¬† of the sun (down and to the left) is indicated by the illumination on the moon (trust me it was a crescent curved downwards to the left). So that’s it. Not a story, a description.

Candle light

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The candle flickered and guttered as the front door opened. Jim entered the room with a flurry of snow. The cold air made a hole in the warmth.

‘You OK’ he asked? ‘Yes just about’ , said Sarah. ‘I kept the wood stove burning all day, but the power went out half an hour ago so I lit a candle ‘.

The weather had been mad since the 20’s. Global temperatures had continued to increase, but this winter had been wild. Snow had fallen for three months now. Sometimes they managed to get out to the shops, but they had to walk down the hill over the fields because the lane was full up with snow. It was one of those deep lanes which had been worn away over the centuries. The land around it was about 6 foot higher. In this snow it was impossible to get along because of the drifts.

‘So how many tablets have you got left?’ asked Jim. ‘Five’ she said. ‘I will have to get down to the village soon’ he thought for a second. ‘What about the weather?’

‘I heard the report before the power went off – bad for two days, then it might break?’

Jim looked at his wife, pale and thin. She was shivering with cold. ‘I’ll fetch you a blanket’ .

Later as they lay on a mattress infront of the wood burner, he looked at the ceiling and watched the last glimmers of the candle. He listened to her uneven breathing, a harsh rattle sometimes breaking into the rhythm of sleeping breath. ‘ Oh lord ‘ he thought, ‘let the snow stop, let me get her medicine, let things get better’ .

Three weeks later as the snow turned to rain, and the land flooded, the local police came looking for them. Inside the living room they found their bodies..

A note was on the table under a burnt down candle. ‘I can’t live without her’ was the simple message he had left.

Ducks

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Well a duck and drake actually. Bog standard Mallard ducks, but I do think they look smart. The male (drake) has the green head and ring round his neck. The female duck has neat brown feathers bounded by white edges. These were photographed on a cold day about a month ago.

It’s soon going to be time for little ducklings to emerge from their eggs. In a few weeks time I might be taking pictures¬† Of some of them.

Meanwhile I hope you enjoy this image of nature.

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Photo walk

About 5 years ago we went on a photo walk around the north of the city of Stoke on Trent in a town called Tunstall. The idea was to do a circular walk encompassing greenways around the town that used to have a rail line and that runs between terraced houses on a raised path. There are bridges over paths and tunnels driven through the ground.

I used my old phone so the images are not brilliant. The day started overcast then it started to snow as we walked along the path. We came out onto the side of a newly built section of road then followed the path round up a hill before coming out at an old pub (can’t remember it’s name) where we stopped off for lunch and sat next to a real coal fire to warm up. Then off through local streets to finish near where we started outside the local health centre.

Photos include trees, train signals, walking along the path. A terraced house. The corrugated side of one of the tunnels. One of the metal greenaway signs, a dandelion growing on the side wall of part of the path, and bracket fungus growing on an old wooden post.

I’m hoping to go on another photo walk, may be when the weather is a bit better. The idea of looking at industrial and post industrial landscapes fascinates me.

Winter trees

Branches and limbs thinning and curving

Straggling twigs like fly away hair.

Skeletal, swooping and sweeping

Black trunk against white clouds.

Old birds nest up high

A roost for a crow?

Like an old venous or arterial system

Your juices are not flowing now

Sclerotic and tired

Can you be rejuvenated

Will your sap rise again?

Are buds hidden,

Waiting to burst-

Stay a while and see

Wait out the winter

Then explode like a firework blooming in light.

Rode Hall snow drop walk.

Gallanthus, the Latin name for Snowdrops. They are out in force at Rode Hall gardens near Scholar Green, on the North Staffordshire/ Cheshire border. It’s off the A34 between Stoke-on-Trent and Congleton. The snowdrops are in flower right now and you can buy little bags of them (in the green) wjuch means you get bulbs with the leaves and flowers and you plant them directly into the ground under trees so they can spread out. They have many different sorts of the flowers that brighten the grounds of the hall. The snowdrop walks are on till March 3rd? And open till 4pm.

We walked through the grounds and gardens of the hall. Winding paths lead through bushes and trees, up and down little hills and slopes, past pools and woven willow sculptures down to the lake at the end of the longest path. There you can see a wooded island where Herons are starting to nest. I got blurry shots of four herons flying around the tree tops.

Back up past the hall we had a meal and coffee at the cafe and then on to an old barn to see an Exhibition by three local art groups that is on till the start of March.

It’s great to get out into the world and see it changing. The snowdrops were in such great clumps on the ground that it truly did look like they were patches of snow under the bare trees. It’s a great place to explore.

 

Today I should be drawing

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It’s windy and sunny today. I should be out in the fresh air drawing with urban sketchers. Instead I’m inside with a runny, snotty nose and head cold.

I could still go out, but I’m tired. I have a friend visiting tomorrow and the house needs tidying.

The cat just came and stretched up and sharpened her claws on my leg (her way of being friendly) ow!

Shall I go or stay? Or just go back to bed….

Get some asprin or paracetamol and decide….. To sleep