‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ (sung with gusto!)

All things bright and beautiful,       All creature  great and small,

All things wise and wonderful,        the Lord God made them all.

Those words take me right back to my infant school assembly! Everyone knows this hymn,  even today – and most of us can say we know the words by heart – to the first two verses anyway!!

I’ve been trying to think of inspirational themes for my photography outings – much more successful with a theme!! Now it so happens that the theme for the 2021 BBC Countryfile Calendar Competition is ‘Bright and Beautiful’ so I think I might just give that a whirl.

Of course it’s light and dark that create all those great photographic effects:  the photographer who can capture light falling in a special way on a scene or lighting up a person’s face (to minimize those wrinkles!) holds the key to success – candle light, the glow of an open fire, reflections bouncing back off office windows, sunlight streaming through stained glass – Christmas lights! – all lovely, but Nature’s light has the most appeal – glorious sunsets, or dappled sunlight through the trees in a forest, light caught in water droplets on a leaf or clear blue skies over snow capped mountains. I’m going in search of some of those now but in the meantime here are some I prepared earlier !






The Cucumber Assassin

How hard can it be to grow a few edibles in the garden?

Well, harder than I thought. Take your cucumber – tricky little devil. On my second attempt now – the first batch just, well, collapsed and died! Not through over watering as I first thought – I think it was because I neglected them – nay! abandoned them!  on the cold conservatory windowsill when the temperature plummeted for one night to almost zero!

So here they are – the second batch – basking in the almost tropical heat of the kitchen windowsill. I’m afraid to move them now!

They are actually outdoor cukes and below are the ones I planted directly outside:   not died off – yet! – happy in their 5 star accommodation – cosseted, in fact, I’d say!

So their fate lies with my limited (but rapidly expanding!) horticultural knowledge and the fickle English climate.

I know! Stick to courgettes! But I want to grow one of these!

April 2020 The Lockdown

At the beginning of this year I said to myself that the year 2020 had a nice ring to it – nice round numbers – how wrong can you be!

We are living through extraordinary times – the COVID-19 pandemic is testing our reserves of patience, mettle, and resources to the limit. It’s only been a couple of weeks since life as we knew it was left behind to be  replaced by a daily COVID-19 TV Bulletin to inform us of the death toll and most recent infections – staggering statistics. They have brought into sharp relief the vital role of some of our nation’s workers  – those whose skills and services are keeping us going – doctors and nurses to tend to the seriously ill, farmers and food producers to keep us fed, delivery drivers to get the food to us, manufacturers who have been brought in to make ventilators and vital equipment, scientists to develop a vaccine to help combat the pandemic – and so many others. Although many people view the internet and social media as necessary evils, at the moment these things are providing a life line for vulnerable members of the community and helping preserve our mental well being.

Today’s politicians are  much maligned but in my opinion Boris Johnson and his team of ministers are not doing a bad job. We as a nation are not used to being told what to do but we’ve seen that there are people who don’t cooperate willingly and have shown themselves to be selfish and irresponsible  so  if it is necessary to introduce the same stringent measures brought in by other countries before us in a bid to save as many lives as possible – then why not?

At the other end of the scale there are people who, finding themselves unemployed or unable to continue their normal routine,  have volunteered to help in whatever way they can – what an amazingly generous attitude. I have relatives in Spain where the corona virus has had an equally devastating effect – they too have witnessed the best and the worst of human nature throughout this crisis and are shocked at its chilling trajectory. These are scary times – I think most of us just feel as if we are living through a bizarre and surreal situation – we are desperate to return to normal life but we also know that to achieve our aim we must do what we’re being asked to do. In times like these some people turn to their religion, others eat or drink too much, or there’s that pile of books you never got round to reading, or those recipes you could try or a game of Scrabble (now we are getting desperate!) We could end up as a nation of Candy Crush addicts! What is for sure is that we will end up with the best kept gardens ever!! especially if the sun keeps shining!