Reward reaping

All that back-breaking weeding, arm-aching watering, and knee-bruising picking at the allotment, grubbing around in humid hedgerows, hot hours in the kitchen, followed by jam-jar crises and freezer-space-anxiety, finally has its (not always healthy but thoroughly delicious) rewards; in summer – blackcurrants, gooseberries, elderflowers, redcurrants, jostaberries and raspberries for fruit salads, jams, jellies, syrups, bottling, sorbets and sauces; and now the autumn harvest of apples and blackberries, beans, potatoes and squash (in gloriously varied shapes and colours) for soups and stews, crumbles and cakes, puddings and pickling, dips and drying, stuffing and baking – and making of wine!

Such a delectable array of colours, shapes and textures it seemed worth preserving the produce and process in pictures – and when I start to grumble about the work next year they can server as a reminder that the effort is worthwhile.


Summer’s soft fruit frenzy


Late summer and autumn pickings



In the (e) zone(s) – filling up the flatlands


Setting off on a job to photograph Weston-super-Mare’s Enterprise Zone recently, the car began emitting bad sounds and demanded immediate attention from our Motorman in Avonmouth. Now Avonmouth is somewhere that’s always looked pretty dismal in my view and I’ve had no cause to explore it before but with time to kill there while waiting for the repair I wandered about the streets near the station to see if I could find any endearing qualities. Continue reading

Roman walls, Post Office curtains and hidden wireworks

The Post Office Curtains

The Post Office Curtains

Placescape –  Caerwent and Lower Wye area

Living on the far left hand margin of the West of England is pretty good in terms of places to visit for a non-urban day out; within a 35 – 40 minute drive we can be amongst sand dunes at Berrow, leaning into the wind on the craggy heights of Brean Down above the Severn, looking down Cheddar Gorge from the top of the Mendips, wandering in the lush pastures of the Chew Valley, paddling in a stream in a wooded, flowery valley on the Cotswold Way, or admiring wading birds in the Severn wetlands at Slimbridge.

These are very roughly south, east and north of home but, within the same time scale, if we go west we can be in another country, and a different world, Wales. We can see the Black Mountains across the Severn from outside our village Co-op and for me they are always alluring. Continue reading

Bristol marvels – ‘The Line of Beauty’, a thousand plus feathers and gauzy banisters

Hogarth-line-of-beauty-palletteYou still have time to catch some of the work mentioned below (dates listed) but too late to see the Hogarth exhibition I saw last week at the City Museum in Bristol – a shame if you missed it as the satirical work (eg The Harlot’s Progress, ‘O the Roast Beef of Old England’ – The Gate of Calais) is entertaining, scathing and still holds some relevance today; but Continue reading

Bird tales – and a different election

2-cygnets-bristol-harbourThis isn’t a topic I generally publicise but I am a bit of a bird lover; not a twitcher or even a proper birdwatcher (there are whole groups of birds I’ve yet to distinguish one from t’other) and I make no serious attempts to photograph them – I don’t have the long lenses and neither do I usually have the patience – I simply enjoy the sight and presence of birds; they’re the most readily visible wildlife for many of us, their various habits are intriguing to watch and I do like bird shapes, the Continue reading

Basket making / stick engineering

IMG_4224sectionI’ve been hankering after a new skill that doesn’t have a relationship with a computer screen and this one-day, beginner’s willow basket weaving course at Windmill Hill City Farm seemed just the ticket. A lot of information to take in over a short day but a really good course. It’s totally absorbing – you need to remember sequences of weaving patterns, learn some wonderful new words, like slipe, waling and slath and make judgements based on tactile and Continue reading

A Bristol-mix Saturday

This set of photos resulted from an impromptu tour around a really odd mix of bits of Bristol last Saturday. No particular purpose, just decided to see how things were changing in the Enterprise Zone area around Temple Meads and moved on from there. Not everyone’s top choice for spending a Saturday but it’s good to take in a panoramic view of your Continue reading

Drawn across the hill – the White Horse of Uffington

IMG_0696sliceI don’t remember the first time I saw the mysterious chalk creature leaping across the downland turf at Uffington, but I was a kid, and probably under the inevitable ‘horse-love’ spell of girls of a certain age. But along with the more prosaic, and very recent, white lion etched into Dunstable Downs not far from my childhood home of St Albans, and the puzzling and spindly Long Man of Wilmington in Sussex with his parallel poles, these pictures scraped out of the chalky soil Continue reading

Ahead of the Curve & Window Wanderland – Bristol exhibitions

horse-1A satisfying dip into Bristol last weekend when practical chores were thoroughly enhanced by two very different exhibitions / displays: first stop was the City Museum and Art Gallery where we saw ‘Ahead of the Curve‘ a showcase of contemporary ceramics and glass from China. Some entertaining, and some sublime, ceramic pieces – beautiful vase shown below – but it was the glass that really grabbed my attention, don’t think I’ve ever come across glass used in such a wide variety of outputs and with such different forms of expression. The free show is on until March 1st so catch Continue reading

People and stone-places

IMG_7480This post started out as a piece about a visit to Stanton Drew late one afternoon in November last year where I’d taken some photographs but the process of selecting the photos (amongst the text) set off a sequence of recollections about previous visits and that in turn led to memory detours into different stone-made territories and dowsing….

Stanton Drew is a large, but little visited group of three stone circles just south of Bristol set in the fields next to the River Chew; legend has that the stones sometimes go down to the river to drink, they must, after all, be thirsty after all their cavorting – these are wedding guests who were tempted by the devil to carry on dancing into the Sabbath and for their sins were turned to stone. The long ridge of Dundry Hill provides a backdrop to the north that includes the sculpted Continue reading