It was over in an instant. It felt like a lifetime.
A sparrowhawk is sitting on the balcony railings. A large bird, a female. Facing us as we watch through the window, I can see she is brownish-grey and without the beautiful rufous colourings of the male. Her eyes, bright yellow and steely, are alert and watching.
At the bottom of the hill sits our nearest neighbour: a run of whitewashed cottages which at first sight appears to be three small farm workers’ homes but is now one large and one smaller dwelling, the latter a more recent addition. These days they form the frontage of a discreet holiday business. Six pleasant wooden chalets lie beyond, out of sight of us or passers-by. The owners are warm and friendly but keep to themselves; the guests are quiet. We couldn’t ask for better neighbours.
From the neighbours we learned that the original building was once a public house and that it was also briefly the home of the writer, Mary Wesley. I read a fair few of her books in the eighties and nineties, which I then passed along to a charity shop. I rather wish I’d kept them now. She is probably best known for her second novel: The Camomile Lawn (1984) which became, as I remember it, a slightly racy tv series.
Photographs with a different colour palette this time (bar one). Taken within half a mile of home.
Time passed. April stepped aside gracefully; May burst onto the scene. And I have adapted. Same walks, different perceptions. I lose my fear of emptiness. I see the flowers erupting along the lanes. Bluebells and stitchwort, dandelions and celandines. Dainty violets and bold purple orchids. Tardy primroses, still tucked shyly in nooks and crannies and the delicate white spheres of wild garlic which proliferate along stretches of shady pathways. Continue reading “The View from Here: walking in the writer’s footsteps (part 2)”
this has been a spring like no other but not because the sun has been shining
What follows is a compilation of fragments written or thought about as we wend our way through early spring. Too short and disjointed as individual posts, the final compilation proved too unwieldy. In the spirit of compromise – one post in three parts.
The photos are from an evening walk mid-May when everywhere glowed pink as the light faded. Pink – the colour of compassion and understanding.
It came as no surprise to learn that in the UK, May 2020 has been the sunniest and driest for over a century. May is one of my most favourite months. I began, mid-month, waxing lyrical to myself on the glories of the wildflowers and the Cornish spring – for surely this has been the earliest spring and the most marvellous year for the flowers? Then I noticed drafts of posts from past years, some published, some not, but all centred around the wonderful month of May and how this year or that year has brought forth one of the finest Mays I’ve seen. It gave me pause for thought. Is there really a need for yet another paean to this most beautiful moment in our calendar? Continue reading “The View from Here: walking in the writer’s footsteps (part 1)”
… much as I love Christmas and despite the melancholy which often accompanies the passing of the season, all good things should draw to a proper close before they outstay their welcome
Epiphany. A favourite word. Today is the Christian Feast of the Epiphany – the reveal of Christ by the Magi – and an occasion marked by tradition and celebration in many countries as well as by religious services. Today is also known as Little Christmas among Irish and other Christians when men traditionally took on the household duties for the day and women spent the day together. Mostly I think of it as the day after Twelfth Night: the end of the twelve days of Christmas and the day by which decorations must be taken down and put away. Continue reading “The View from Here: Christmas in a Box”
It is high summer. We’ve had some very fine weather but also brumous days when the mist and clouds merge and don’t lift all day, and smuggy days when the humidity hits hard and strong. But we have escaped the fiercest temperatures of this month. There are occasional compensations for living in an area that is wetter, milder and more temperate than most. Continue reading “The View from Here: colours of July”
The same thing happened to me this June as apparently happens to many when it comes to buses. Jude posted a photo so stunning that I immediately shared it with a dear friend with the entreaty that we must visit this place together next year. But a year is a long time to wait, and – here’s where the buses come in – over the next little while it seemed that all my usual online Cornish haunts were filled with fields of poppies. I had never heard about the poppies at West Pentire in previous years; now they were everywhere. I had to see for myself. Continue reading “The View from Here: poppies past and present”
Forgive me for anthropomorphising, but I immediately thought of outraged teenagers.
When we first met, Bernie had no interest in garden birds. He professes never to have noticed a single bird. These days he takes on the task of cleaning out and siting our bird boxes and earlier this year he devoted significant time to constructing and trialling protection for last year’s swallows’ nest in which, very sadly, the three babies drowned during a downpour. (We have swallows nesting again now. We’re hoping for a happier ending this year.) Continue reading “Birds on the Balcony: undesirable nest box for occupation”