PLACES

This hiatus, this blip or furrow in humanity about which many people have felt inspired to write, has caused the opposite in me. I have written things, but none inspired by The Virus. I have felt wordless about it whilst I have watched sadly from the remote periphery as innumerable families experience tragedy on a daily basis. Throughout the pandemic, I have felt  increasingly blessed that my friends and family are leniently confronted with mere…

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LESSER CELANDINE

The sweet spring now is come’ngIn beautifull sunshineThorns bud and wild flowers bloomingDaisy and CeladineSomthing so sweet there is about the springSilence is music ere the birds will sing John Clare Spring 1845 I love the spring almost as much as John Clare did. Though it is only February, it has been a very mild winter and the plants are fooled. They stir and unfurl from the soil in our garden, as though they were…

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WINDSHELTER

If we had been able to see the top of Canisp from the edge of Loch Awe, we would have seen a proud hulk of a hill shining white with snow. As it was, the top was veiled in a distant mist which hovered on the edge of our vision in the dull grey morning. Unintimidated, we began our trudge up the seemingly endless slope. The weather was abysmal — half-sleet driven by a chill…

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BIRCH GROVE

My feet take control of me and drag my body — laden with self-criticism and sourness — to a place where it can be repaired. I am led off the path and up into the secrecy of a wooded hill. Black-peated water seeps from the spongy floor over the rim of my boots. Through the wetness I am connected to the winter earth; touching the vitality of growth in stasis.  I am brought by the…

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I AM A HILL

One of architecture’s functions is to manipulate the mind of the building’s user. In many case it is as simple and helpful as a corridor designed to guide a person to another space, or high ceilings to reduce a sense of claustrophobia. In other cases it may be that architecture is employed for more troubling reasons. An imposing building might assert an authority over the user, or a prison’s small cells might encourage discipline amongst…

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WREN

The leaves are mostly all fallen now and the garden’s trees are looking bare and spindly. The freshly denuded branches allow for better views of the birds. In their flocks we mainly see sparrows, chaffinches and starlings; in pairs song thrushes and blackbirds. But the robin and the wren are always on their own.  It is the wren to which I am most drawn. A tiny brown ball, it spryly flits about the branches and…

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JENNY HANIVER

April 2016. A chill spring walk on the beach at Balnakiel Bay up at Durness rooted out deep old memories from me. It was cold enough for the pale white sand to feel like snow underfoot, and the wind was singing across broad space. It is an open and inviting place even in these conditions, but there are still quiet corners for concealment among the marram grass dunes.  We searched for who-knows-what in those small…

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LIGHT AND WATER

Driving a bus on one of Britain’s most scenic routes affords me a great opportunity to see how the landscape is changed by the weather. I am privileged to see the earth’s mood swinging from peace to fury, always in balance. The land looks different every day.  Some mornings there is a moody greyness and an opaque shroud of mist hangs over the distances. This invokes within me a sense of claustrophobic intimacy. Sound does…

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GRIMSPOUND

I was on a solo biking holiday in Dartmoor which meant for the most part pushing my one speed bike up hills and freewheeling down them. In hindsight, I think I might have had a better time walking across the moors as I later did, but at the the time I enjoyed it very much. I think it must have been the first solo holiday I had had since my dad died, and I was…

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THE ROOKS OF ULLAPOOL

The black bully birds gather like leaves in the autumnal gusts in which they delight. They are clumsier than ravens as they land in gangs to pick around the overflow of the bins in Ullapool car park. The hooded crow, so numerous in the North West, is kept at the town borders, relegated to the moors. The black backed and herring gulls, despite being the usual aggressors, keep their distance from the car park. The…

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