Christmas Steps, Bristol

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Between autumn’s offerings and spring’s wings
Our winter lights are everything.
Crisp sky nights string tinsel streams, and
Crystal air heils winter’s dreams.

Those Christmas lights light up the street
Down where the sea and city meet
May all your troubles soon be gone
Oh Christmas lights, keep shining on.

Stunning Snowdonia

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Looking across the river, Afon Glaslyn, towards the  mountains of Snowdonia. This area is beautiful all year through and it’s easy to see why walkers, trekkers and climbers are attracted to the rugged landscape and endless skies. Far from the madding crowd it’s a haven for wildlife, an inspiration for artists and poets, and a sanctuary for anyone who wants to escape the hustle and bustle of our non-stop never-resting cities.  A day here is priceless – nature has a way of working wonders for the soul…

The Beautiful Game

The Beautiful Game

The Beautiful Game

I took this photo at a football match last weekend. The three men right of centre looked almost identical, two brothers and their brother-in-law who’ve been supporting the same team for more than quarter of a century. I tend not to photograph people because… well… I find plants, animals, landscapes and structures more appealing.

Something caught my eye in this shot though. Maybe the roundness and symmetry of the three men’s heads contrasted against the angles of the rooftops and the hard lines of the pile driver. (Construction of new stand is underway and the remains of the old one are all but gone.)

In the centre of the shot you can see one of the footballers clearing the goal line. That was holding everyone’s attention, except mine. I couldn’t resist taking the photo!

Late Summer Sunflowers

I feed the birds and in return they bring a welcome chirping, chattering, multicoloured aerial display to the garden. Even in the depths of winter I can look through the window and see the brilliant reds, blues, greens and yellows of their plumage like a string of dancing baubles on the branches of my gnarled and leafless cherry trees.

We haven’t hit winter yet, summer is holding on and the continued warmth has brought a bumper harvest of haws and berries but the birds are very choosy, ignoring nature’s table to feast non-stop on their favourite food – sunflower hearts.

Not all of the seeds make their way into the hungry birds; the finches are especially messy so the garden is awash with random sunflowers and the sunflowers are full of fuzzy bumble bees, just like the one in this photo.

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Last Night’s Sunset

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We get some beautiful sunsets looking down through the Teme valley and across to the Bromyard Downs but nine times out of ten I don’t have my camera with me. Last night the cloud formations and colours were too good to miss so I stopped the car at the edge of a field and took this photo with my phone. On my way back home from Tenbury the mist was drawing in and no evidence of this image remained. Tonight I can see a pale pink glow out to the west but nothing so beautiful as last night’s sunset.

Cormorants Rest

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I’ve liked these birds for as long as I can remember. As a child I’d scan the shoreline hoping to see one flying low over the sea or popping up like a dart after what seemed an inordinate amount of time under the water.

In some parts of Norway cormorants are a sign of good luck and folklore also suggests people lost at sea may return to their former homes in the shape of a cormorant. In the epic tale of Ulysses, a sea nymph disguised herself as a cormorant and offered him a float when the mast of his raft was smashed in a storm. Ulysses swam safely ashore. Like other animals cormorants have been persecuted by ill-informed humans who thought the birds took too many fish. Fortunately our ignorance hasn’t served to make them all extinct. In Japan and China cormorants were kept by fisherman who realised the birds could help in their endeavours; the fishermen kept the largest fish while the cormorant was allowed to eat the smaller ones.

Cormorants are still one of my favourite seabirds and this rock in Bideford bay is a popular resting place for them. They sit here uninterrupted with waves crashing around them as they wait for their plumage to dry.