Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nearly time

I was walking through the Pocket Park, camera slung round my neck, switched off, when this heron flew up from the pond, really close.  By the time I'd reacted it was making its way into the distance.
But hey, blue sky!

Heron Moment

Morning sunlight tempts me out 
with neither thickest fleece,
nor leggings next my skin.
The sky shines blue as crystal lake.
With the wind behind me, I sally forth.

I wander into the muddy pocket park
and flush a heron from its fishing spot.
Caught between two thoughts
Stay still and watch, it may return,
or Go for it! Grab the photo now 
I hesitate too long. 
The auto-focus wobbles and acts dumb.
The darn bird’s no more than a speck.

I insist, hope it’s focused and click
on the shrinking heron flying north.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

High water in Stamford

The Welland flows fast and just makes it under the bridge

The swans have taken to the quieter arm of the river 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Grammaire, grand'mère?

Oh woe is me, for I shall soon be undone!  I have begun to snap at grammar pedants when in fairness I used to be one myself.  Why do some people think that sloppiness in grammar, or rather the use in writing of expressions which are common in speech, shows that ones ideas are fundamentally flawed?

I'm all for clarity and elegance, and the removal of ambiguity, unless it serves a purpose, as it may do in imaginative writing, but I'm not going to get my knickers in a twist if someone says "Me and my beloved cat" instead of "My beloved cat and I".  I cringe more at the over-correct incorrect grammar of "He saw John and I", but even that gram-crime can be forgiven so long as I understand the content.

I believe that grammatical "rules" are based on usage, and usage is clearly changing. Different languages have different rules.  "My husband and I" - English.   "Mon mari et moi" - French.
Usage, habit, what people say. What's easier to say. What's clear and simple. Not rigid rules of subject and object.  And yes, English is changing.  "Me and my husband" is commonplace - not to be confused with common and vulgar.

Language has evolved, is evolving, and will continue to do so. Have we reached such perfection that we should preserve ourselves in aspic?

Or is it more the attitude of those pedants who sneer that gets right up my nose?

Although - I would love to be able to discreetly correct (split infinitive, see what I did there?) those who write "your mad!"  "your brilliant!" " your doing ok".   But their (ha ha ha) not incomprehensible,  are they?

Something that possibly touches on this obliquely.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Living safely

The figures move on screen
deep in the Paris demi-monde,
backdrop scenes from a Degas print.
Bars and cops and tarts and pimps
les poules, les mecs, les flics,
the dangerous world of Les Halles.
Irma la Douce with a heart of gold
and Lester the honest cop
all wrapped up in Whitehall farce
costume changes, mistaken IDs -
a period piece from the sixties.

A noise like a cracker, a shot, a whip
forces me up from my seat.

Outside an icicle snaps from the gutter
crash lands on the roof of the lean-to.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Not quite an icefall

Are they growing?
Icicles by night

Sunday, January 20, 2013

when icicles hang . . .

from the landing window
The snow is falling again outside, so I've just spent an hour or so updating my walks blog about a couple of wonderful sunny walks in New Zealand. Snow looks so good on distant mountains when the sky is blue and the sun shining! Less good when it drizzles down all day.

A few more NZ updated posts  and this one.

One or two birds in the snow

Friday, January 18, 2013

Poultry, not penguins

At first, I thought these wereCanada geese, but they appear to be large mallards. They chased half a dozen smaller mallards into the water. Then the large white goose and the grey - pink-footed? - goose arrived. Maybe they were hoping for food from us as we walked by. I love the contrast between the snow and the bright beaks and feet.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

wittering about the weather

Thursday they promised me sunshine
Wednesday had fog through the day
Tuesday was cloudy and chilly
Monday the snow came to stay

so Thursday arrived bright and crisp
the sunrise glowed pink in the sky
picked out branches of frost-feathered trees
with a light otherworldly and fey

I sang as I drove through the sunlight
watching it dance on the trees
but too soon the gold hid its glory
and clouds cloaked its glimmer and gleam

So yes they fulfilled that rash promise
but not in a whole-hearted way
Thursday they promised me sunshine -
just showed me and yanked it away.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Through the mist

hoping for sun.

curtains of mist
shy sun takes a bow
and so to bed

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Weather obsessed

It's been very grey recently, and even today when we woke to snow, it wasn't crisp and sparkling, but already grey and slushy.

About an hour before sunset, the grey skies gave way to blue with gold and pink tinged clouds.

And the sunlight picked out the snow on the tree branches.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

One from last month

I'm posting this photo, since today is one of those gloomy days where all the light has been absorbed by the mist. Brr!

So - here's a sign outside the town of Cromwell, whose main claim to fame seems to be fruit growing.
When we arrived there, around 7 pm on a summer Sunday evening, there were a couple of bars open, and a petrol station, but not a lot besides.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Yes, we have sunlight

Today is the first really bright day since we returned on Sunday, so we went for a short wander by Rutland Water, with a coffee break at l'Oliveto, near the fishing lodge.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

home again

We arrived back yesterday - just after 7 am, after a calm efficient flight with no problems, though it was very full.  

Saturday was a good day to arrive in London - no rush hour or peak fares to contend with. Or a bad day - engineering works meant a replacement bus between Acton and Hammersmith. I was not in a good mood with lack of sleep and lugging a suitcase up and down stairs and on and off tubes and buses. I may have turned the air pale blue at times. The guys and gals working on the buses and at tube stations were unfailingly polite and helpful.

The weather began by being typically grey and mild, but the sun appeared as we travelled north on the train. We took a taxi from the station, rather than wait an hour for a local bus.  It cost less than a tenner for the six miles or so - well worth it for the lack of hassle and the speed.

The kind neighbours who had kept an eye on the house and indoor plants left us a few essential food items to welcome us back, and it's great to be able to expand into our normal amount of space. 

In our heads, memories of extraordinary places, new experiences, new people. Though I'm still a little bemused, tired from the flight home, even after a solid sleep of ten hours or so!