• The Lichen Tree

On an exposed edge of the wood stands a twisted hawthorn.  It’s been shaped by the elements, yet also defies them. At this time of year, old Rothko-red berries survive next to new green buds.  It also plays host to a profusion of lichen, like no other tree in the vicinity. Here are a few shots taken yesterday with the Ixus.

• Woodland in early Spring

Here are three quick pics taken with my little Canon Ixus 105 this afternoon in the young woodland behind the house.  It’s the last day of sunshine for a while, so the forecasters say.  Some things are budding, some still dormant, others in full flower.  The  green leaves of next month’s bluebells are already several inches high, as can be seen in the background of the last photo.  Spring has sprung.

• Tangled Limbs (don’t get too excited)

Here’s a trio of point-and-shoot studies from yesterday’s walk for the paper.  Today, the moor was rain-swept and on the way back I was head-butting a NW wind.  Yesterday, though, was balmy and the early-morning sun created magic light and shadows among the trees.  The middle one reminds me of Mondrian’s early drawings (Red Tree, Tree II, The Grey Tree, Apple Tree in Blossom, 1912) which he soon translated into a more familiar geometric idiom.

(photo taken 07.35, Saturday 3 March 2012)

(photo taken 07.40, Saturday 3 March 2012)

(photo taken 08.30, Saturday 3 March 2012)

• Who needs Jackson Pollock?

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(photo taken 08.20, Saturday 3 March 2012)

• Sunday Walk

Photo shoot from this morning’s walk for the paper.  A bit of sun, a fresh wind, a brief rainbow and a hailstorm from the southwest, and a return by the granite quarry’s old railway track.  Time for second breakfast.

• Saturday Walk

Even though it was still dark when I set out, and I had a dreadful night unable to sleep, my Saturday walk to collect the paper cleared the brain a bit.  I never tire of this walk.  It’s just under four miles and on a good day it takes me under 70′, even though it’s mostly uphill to the PO.  The route takes me through the village, where overnight a spring (the watery variety) had broken through the tarmac and where errant sheep were looking for new pastures.  Then it was out and up onto the moor.

The views are fantastic, even on a dreary morning like today.  By the time I got up onto the top level, the sun was trying to poke his head round the clouds, but he didn’t have his hat on.  And the old mine engine house looked impressive in silhouette.

At this time of the morning I meet the occasional dog-owner, horse-rider, jogger and rock-climber.  Local farmers are out on their tractors, pronged silage bales trembling fore and aft, heading for their cattle and ponies up on the moor.

The way back offers a range of spectacular views, depending only on whether I retrace my steps on the road, or cut off along an old quarry railway track, or scramble up and over one of the more striking tors.  I took the easy option this morning and hurried home for breakfast and a good read of the Guardian.  Most importantly, and saved until the end, is the Berger&Wyse food cartoon in the magazine.  It was a gentle one today, but they never fail to make me smile, even if it is, for a while, out of perplexity.

On the lane near the house, the snowdrops have been out for several weeks, especially in a spot which catches the early-morning sun.

I was particularly happy to see that the snowdrops by the track to the house have at last started finding their way through the tangle of ivy and last year’s bracken.  They’re always the last to appear, maybe because they’re in the shade.  At the moment, they’re minute: the tallest is not even 2″ high, and none has yet opened up.  My little Ixus is not great for close-up detail, but here are two shots of one clump taken very close to.

These delicate white miracles lighten the spirit in an extraordinary way.

• Sharp Tor in early-morning light

Returning from Minions with the paper, I caught this unusually lit view of Sharptor.

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• Good Day Sunshine

Shamelessly borrowing the title of one of my favourite Beatles’ songs, here’s a photo I took early this morning on my way back from fetching the Sunday paper.

This view never fails to cheer me – it’s my local equivalent of Cézanne’s Mont Saint-Victoire, or so I like to think.  It’s never fully in view and in the spring it is garlanded by a foreground of light green foliage.  In winter, the trees provide a thicket of wild branches and twigs.  On this rare sunny day in January (it’s been a wet and stormy start to 2012), the distant greens, oranges and greys basked in an extraordinary glow.  There was even a buzzard circling, although at the moment I took the shot it flew behind one of the left-side twigs.

• Sharp Tor under rain cloud

On the way back from collecting the paper, looking north.

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• A stroll up Bearah, plus monument

On a familiar stroll up to Bearah Tor, I passed the fairy grove of oak trees, the early stages of what will be a pointy monument at Hayling Island in Hampshire (to be dedicated to the heroes of COPP – Combined Operations Pilotage Parties – during World War II) and on up to the small, long-disused upper quarry that is now filled with water.

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