Monday 31 December 2012

Saturday 29 December 2012

Haiku retreat

(21/12 - evening)
Narrow and muddy,
the lane tunnels through darkness -
a blue front door.

(22/12 - morning)
Six o'clock bell,
the hooting owl dissents -
not yet morning.

(23/12 - morning)
After a stormy night
the trees sigh, heavy with water,
sodden fields exhale.

(23/12 - evening)
The spiral staircase -
as we walk up and down
something is rounded.

(24/12 - morning)
That wailing wind
is a hard song to follow -
the rain just whispers.

(25/12 - morning)
Every tree
hung with Christmas baubles -
sunshine on raindrops.

(25/12 - afternoon)
Billowing blue -
dark branches bend and stretch
towards the sunset.

(26/12 - morning)
Driving rain
hurled from a pallid sky -
not much comfort.

(26/12 - last evening)
Black velvet night
stippled with white cloud -
floating moon-flower.

Friday 28 December 2012

Fire and water

Suspended above the road to Devon on 21 December, the solstice sun was a huge disc of many colours. Down there, it rained A LOT, and when it stopped both sun and moon broke through with astonishing clarity.The sodden countryside was as peaceful and resonant as I have ever known it (not so great for the farmer out in that downpour working to unblock a ditch or the three bedraggled ostriches in a field just up the lane). Owls hooted all night in the rain and a rabbit danced in the morning on the wet grass. In this enclave of quiet and freedom, among others loving it too, lost longings and affinities resurfaced. I dreamt of floods and wrapped myself to meditate in a flaming orange blanket. Fire and water; self and no-self. The journey home yesterday was long. At every motorway junction, the traffic slowed and clotted - too many of us.

Friday 21 December 2012

Looking to the light

Solstice, midwinter, Christmas:
wishing all who pass this way renewal and new light

Thursday 20 December 2012


Trees reflected in a the blanked-out window of an empty shop - a momentary image that evokes some old and faded photo or gravure.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Sepia sunshine

Winter afternoons,
the sun in your eyes, then gone -
childhood memories.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

The birds

Trees around the lake in Peckham Rye Park. I've never seen this there before (which doesn't mean much - only taking photos has made me a bit less lost in a world of my own) and don't know if they're just roosting, as the light starts to fail already at about 3 pm, or preparing to leave - too late surely for migration, a week or so after the first strong frosts?

Sunday 16 December 2012

Under and over

It's more than two years since I took the last batch of photos of pedestrians reflected in the wide paved expanse of Trafalgar Square. This only works when the surface is very wet and shiny, and the light also needs to be right - low, but enough of it. On the previous three occasions it was raining hard. This time I arrived just as the rain stopped, so it was a less damp and uncomfortable experience. Perhaps that accounts for the somewhat looser style. These new ones are more varied and some of them more impressionistic. This is a small selection, with loads more here.

Saturday 15 December 2012

Accidentally, in the rain

As the rain trickled to a halt, I saw the strong reflections in the pavement next to St Martin's, stuffed my umbrella under my arm and groped in my bag for my camera. Then this guy stood right in front of me. Tsk. Oh, maybe not tsk. And then I realised where I was, and that it had just stopped raining. The photos will take me a while to edit. They're a little different, I think - less literal. And then I went to a wonderful, wonderful exhibition. Seduced by Art: oh, yes I was, and by reflections in the rain.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Inside and out

This is the lovely building where I stayed recently in Cambridge. Sometimes there are no words - or none that you want to acknowledge or engage with - but always there are symmetries and colours, textures, shadows, light and form. These made me happy.

More photos here.

Monday 10 December 2012

Icy lights

Christmas lights are not my favourite thing, but these are nice - a simple, satisfying piece of art, really.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Friday 7 December 2012

Bridge in black and white

See also Another bridge in black and white - not far from the other Cambridge.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Tuesday 4 December 2012

The right trees

Old college has expanded greatly since my day - all of it outstanding modern architecture and enhanced by an inspired choice of trees, which are lovely when leafy, but lovely like this too. 

Monday 3 December 2012

Familiar view with frost

The photo wasn't tweaked. These are the colours of our odd, muted, fluctuating climate on a suddenly much colder, frosty Saturday morning: along with frosted silver-white, the blue, the green, the black polished by low, bright, icy light.

Home last night from more than a week in Cambridge. I've been too rocky in recent months to deal with travel, clinging for dear life to things close to home, even as they hem me in. Still couldn't deal with the idea of anywhere new, so removing myself the short distance to a city that warms me always and where my old college provides a comfortable room to alumnae at not too extortionate cost seemed ideal. Something in this city is always vivid and embracing, for all it's ever-growing tourist hordes and commercialism and it's dreadful traffic. Almost nothing, on a conscious level, feels the same as when I lived there as a student so very long ago. Much has really changed - it was a quiet and isolated place then. And the things that haven't changed - the historic buildings and gentle views of grass and trees and water - are so much more to me now, emotionally and aesthetically, than they could be then. But there's a subliminal familiarity that means a lot in a life with too little inner sense of home.

This was a good time, in a low-key sort of way. No writing done. A little work. A little reading. A lot of walking. And even when I feel pretty numb, it seems, photos can be taken - an eye that continues to notice and respond and tell me something is alive in there. A strange time. A plumbing of depths, perhaps. Back in London, something, anyway, feels different.

Sunday 2 December 2012

Saturday 1 December 2012