Monochrome

Last night when I went to bed the garden was white, under a blanket of snow as unreal as cake icing. I heard rain in the early hours and this morning, no more snow, just an ordinary garden, green again.

Some pictures I took on a walk with partner the other day have come out looking as if taken in black and white; reminders of that beautiful, bleak monochrome world that has disappeared.

If you tap or click on an image, they should come up as a gallery of larger pictures you can scroll through.

View from the dog field

imageLike it says: this is the view at present from the field where we most often take our two lurchers, only a short walk from the house. The older of the two is pretty old and pretty doddery sometimes, but both of them are frisky in the snow. Another photo cadged from partner’s camera – thank you, partner.

Originally this picture came up larger – no time to fix it now – but if you tap or click on the photo, you can see it full size, which is better!

It’s cold outside

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The cold weather is frustrating in some ways as we would love to be getting stuck into the garden. There are leylandii hedges to be cut down – before birds start nesting in them – and much planning to be done, measuring of space for chicken run, costing of fantasy greenhouse and so on.

But the garden is very beautiful in the snow and ice. Everything is outlined in haw frost: great trees and small, the washing line, each twig or tiny leaf fallen on the ground become something distinct and extraordinary.

And the landscape from the train window yesterday (when on my weekly trip to Doncaster) was like a Christmas card: field after ploughed field striped with snow. The morning started badly, with train from Skegness nearly half hour late. Our picturesque local station is much too small for waiting room or coffee or anything warming like that. But I haven’t fallen out of love – still seems a miracle to be able to walk ten minutes down a village street and get on a train at all.

I think that if you tap on these images you can see them full size, which looks much nicer.

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This too shall pass

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I’ve had an unsettled week. After Doncaster on Wednesday, I went on to Manchester for the night and a tasty Chinese meal. Thursday began with an early walk with friend and her dog; then most of the day was spent with daughter and grandchildren. It was very odd to be back so soon when I don’t live there any more. I’ve been walking with dogs in that park for nearly twenty years and know the house where I stayed overnight almost as well as if it were my own. Everything felt overwhelmingly familiar; I felt like some sort of imposter and everyone was kind and lovely.

To London on Saturday for mum’s birthday party. It was good to catch up with family, my friends, my mum’s friends – much warmth and good conversation – but I come back feeling disconnected. A slight panic sets in that I will not recapture that sense of being home that I have had so strongly since we moved. Monday afternoon I manage, in my distraction, to give myself twice the insulin I needed, a massive dose; and the afternoon is lost in prolonged and disorientating hypoglycaemia.

Something warmer, more alive stirs in my chest when I walk through the churchyard and again, coming home with the dog, across a snowy field, with the church tower black against a sunset sky and a crescent moon hanging above.

I love these medieval buildings being part of the everyday landscape here, as they were in the landscape of my childhood. The presence of the distant past gives me a crazy sense of hope, wrests power from despair. I think that people have not changed that much; I think of how we are connected more than divided. There is peace too, a letting go, an expansiveness to be had from these reminders that life and other people were here before us and will be after, that we are neither the beginning nor the end.

Leeks past and present

Yesterday morning when we woke up the garden was covered in snow. It has been melting fast today but still looks pretty. Birds look hungry – which box are the bird feeders in? This is the back of the garage where the current vegetable garden is (we will be expanding it). Leeks in the snow remind me again of past winters on our allotment back in Manchester. I hope the people who have our plot now are eating the leeks we left behind.