stories and illustration

Falling Over by the Barley

falling over

This is the view from down there.

August 14, 2016 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Border Fields in August


We have really reached the turning of the year.  This tractor was ploughing the part of the big field that had been set to  potato crop.  The gulls and crows and also the pigeons were having what might be called a field day.  The next afternoon I was walking again round the Lees, and I saw a dark coated figure with a bag walking straight across the mud ruts, stooping every now and then towards the earth; it took me a while to realise this figure was picking up stray potatoes that had been left after the harvest and  the turning over of the soil. I remember from years ago the coal-pickers on the beach at Seaham near Sunderland, with their bicycles and big bags slung each side for the sea-coal – old men sometimes, with their grandchildren alongside.


August 19, 2014 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Green Hill No More


A few weeks ago this landscape was green from foreground to background, but now, with fields of ripened wheat next to fields of  ripened barley, the colour of high summer has changed the landscape completely.  The helicopter was flying very low, probably checking the powerlines that run between the pylons that can be seen on the horizon. The hay is being cut, everywhere the edges of the pavements are strewn with hay from the lorries going past. The barley and wheat will be next. The summer has been like this almost all the time, hot, blue skies, for weeks; but at last we have some rain, and storms are forecast.

I have been working all week painting.  Next week I will be able to go out (storms permitting) and take some photographs, and get back to work on a picture book.  For the moment it is all hangings and mounts and lists and finishing details…..

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Walking the Oxenrig Path


It is a long time since I walked up over Oxenrig, which is where I go when I want to feel far away from roads and houses.  Later in the summer, walking up there, one sees hawks and hares, though this time there was little sign of wildlife. except for wood pigeons, which are ubiquitous. Noisy-winged birds,  I can even recognise the sound they make when disturbed, invisible, in a thicket of trees..  Instead of acres of wheat there is a lot of rape crop planted this year.  But the feeling of walking over the hills and far away is still there.


A chaffinch on a treetop tweeted me up the road, where looking back I saw my husband walking along another route.  I wish I had taken a photograph of him rather than the chaffinch.  He is dressed for walking, in his gear and straw hat, and thinks I am taking a photograph of him. He looks like a French Impressionist out on the prowl for subject matter. He goes down one road, and I go up the hills, past the first poppy of the summer that I have seen, through the piles of stone, and out on to the path, taking a look sideways at the array of yellows, and the gate to the field:


 Then on up the path. At the top of the hill I look back towards the farm, which no longer is the egg farm, but is still being used, I  heard activity in the sheds as I was passing, and there is a strangely old-fashioned tractor there, like something out of a fifties farm set, rather than the machines like small houses that thunder slowly along the roads round here.


The road goes up and down, up and down, it is good for the respiration, I don’t notice that I have any asthma at all, inspite of the hills and the rape fields, possibly because it is so peaceful up here, and I am going at my own pace.


At the bottom of a hill is this rather sinister-looking enclave, where they raise chicks, or maybe where they did raise chicks, I don’t know whether this is chick chicks or other chicks, anyway, I did see a hawk scything through their at low level last year, obviously on the qui vive. Everything is open now and looks a bit derelict, the pine trees make for dead ground cover, it is a bit of a Mr Todd kind of a place.


So it is nice to see a healthy-looking bee among the plants outside:

oxenrig bee

The path goes up and down, up and down, past the pylons which I have always found exciting, even when I was a child:




oxenrig18 oxenrig19



Past the stream strengthened with stones caged in wire, this stream I couldn’t cross last summer further down the fields, as I was trying to find a short cut back to the town. Here it is almost dry, and looks more sinister than it is, as I am photographing facing the sun:


I have walked quite a few miles now, there is no going back the way I came, so at each hill I look forwards to try and spy the gate at the end of the path. There is a small sheltered woody area, and then the path opens out, and there is the gate leading back on to the road, only a small road, which will eventually lead back on to the main Duns road, which will eventually lead me back to Coldstream, stepping into the verge when cars go by at a furious pace. There’s still some way to go:




On the small road, the buttercups line the roadside, and I walk along the unfamiliar route (I usually turn back and retrace my steps) I am still taking pictures of the roadside as I go:





And  I say hello to the same stream I saw, in its different guise, on the Oxenrig path, as it now crosses under the main highway . I am nearly home.



June 19, 2013 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments


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