stories and illustration

Five Sparrows in the Hedge

sparrows in the hedge4

April 23, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May in April 2


April 22, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

May in April 1


April 22, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walking by the Tweed


A fine day for Easter Monday, went for my usual walk along the riverbank then up through the little wood, with a detour to look at the may in full bloom, and the dozens of birds on the shingle bank  and in the water alongside the path to Fireburn Mill. Still fascinated by the panoramic views, I find myself wandering about taking twice as long to cover the distance; but hey, it’s a holiday. Groups of people out and about walking for once, and the Cheviots almost invisible under a haze of heat.

Talked to a lady who was saying how lucky we were to live in a place where one can wander freely.  How I concur.


April 21, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

River Tweed



Been experimenting with the panoramic button on the camera without reading the instructions, so the first attempts were like a cubist painting, only without the spatial intelligence. By the time I had walked to Lennel and back again I had managed to take a couple of  vistas of the Tweed as it goes past Coldstream. A fine afternoon, and a fun afternoon (not to mention the wood full of bluebells).


April 19, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments


April Trees 2

Bare boughs still, and then buds, and then the blossom suddenly coming out everywhere, not blackthorn now, but cherry blossom; and down by the river thick bushes of hawthorn.  These cherry trees grow along the path near the little bridge that leads up towards the greenhouses and the walled garden on the Hirsel Estate. Down below a collie was swimming in the river, though as usual people were thin on the ground in this part of the Estate.


April Trees

April 18, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Lees in April



Walking by the Leet I could see above me the big expanse of farmland known as the Lees was edged with a crowd of vehicles, first of all I thought it might be travellers, or some local event, but it was an army of farm vehicles rented to turn over the soil and seed the field. I went walking past today but refrained from photographing them as I thought it would be invasive.  As I left the field the machines themselves were leaving, preceded by a van, which parked right in the middle of the access road to block it, so that the big machine could come up it impeded.  I had to run, looking over my shoulder, to make sure I was out of the way.  It made a great noise as it then slowly manouevred itself out into the main road on its way to wherever. I have total respect for drivers of these monsters – massif as they say in Jamaica. The  lines on the field are rather extrordinary.  The delicacy of them.  I remember the great muddy clods of yesteryear. I was out for a short walk with the small camera, but maybe over the next few days I will try and get some pictures of the feeding birdswith a more powerful zoom.  They are canny, crows, they know just how close they are not going to let you get.



April 17, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

April Fishing on River Tweed


Two men and a dog, a saltire in the background, one fine day in the Scottish Borders (only technically, the fishermen are either in no-man’s land, or in Northumberland, being on the far side of the river). I walk on up the road to look for herons and cherry blossom.

April 16, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Young Blackbird in the Garden


I may be wrong, but I don’t think this bird is very old, it has that fat fluffiness about it still.  The blackbirds more or less disappeared until we started throwing out apple cores round the bird table, and now suddenly the garden is full of them. I suspect a nest in the one of the big hedges. They chitter and complain when we appear suddenly, but are almost the tamest of birds; if you leave a door open they are inclined to hop in. I notice that now it is sunny and we are out pottering about in the garden the birds are more inclined to ignore us.  The dried mealworms are a big draw, as well as the apple cores. We have planted some wild flower mats under the bird table, since there is a spare raised bed (the original site was a Flodden graveyard, hence the raising of the beds), as it is no good planting broad beans -they are amazing, then suddenly get a kind of black wilt.  So now looking out of the studio I can see the birds, and soon hopefully a mass of wild flowers as well.  This year something to be cheerful about: there are far more bees around, and today I saw a butterfly. Perhaps the planting the fields of phacelia, aka “Bees’ Friend”, in great mauve swathes last year has been having an effect.


April 15, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mallard Ducks


Usually whenever I get anywhere near the ducks on the River Leet they take flight with a great clatter of wings and loud cries,  but for some reason these mallards going about their business on the river bank and in the shallow water didn’t appear to notice me at all, as I stood shin-deep in wild garlic, taking pictures of them; even when I moved away they were not alarmed.


Sometimes one doesn’t notice the beauty of common birds.


They looked rather comical to me when they are feeding:

ducks feeding


Looking at these dapper ducks was a treat. I never even noticed that flash of deep blue on the underwing before. Sometimes birds just go about being birds in such a professional manner I admire them, quite apart from their beauty.


April 13, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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