stories and illustration

Duck and Reflections

Duck and Reflections

March 26, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ducks Preening

ducks preening

March 18, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ducks and Reflections


February 11, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Ducklings and a Stone

three ducklings

After the heavy rain, I saw a duck on the Tweed, flying from bank to bank, crying out in obvious distress. Perhaps her ducklings had gone missing.  Apparently herons can take them, though I suppose turbulent water might do it, or at least sweep them away.  But these three have survived fine, and are feeding on the weir just below Coldstream Bridge, which is just damp now as the water levels have gone right down. People and ducks walk along the weir, the herons stand at the end, looking into the water that swirls round the edge; and the other day I saw a solitary hooded crow, waddling about just beneath the Marriage House (eastern equivalent, in the old days, of Gretna Green), looking a tad out of place.

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

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

Walking the Norham Path

January Sky 1

Finished the commission I have been working on, so since there were flashes of sun between the clouds, I decided to take the camera out, and to walk along the English side of the Tweed, on what I think of as the Norham Path, though Norham is several miles away and I have no intention of walking there.

I was told by a fellow blogger, when I posted pictures of a lone swan sailing round and round in a pool at the edge of the Leet, caused by the flooding, that single swans like this were usually in some kind of trouble, as swans mate for life and are not usually alone – I hoped that this swan had gone upstream, where other swans are hanging out, but sadly no, it is swimming up and down the same stretch of The Tweed, keeping near the bank:


Climbing up Nuns Walk I see this great tit in the branches of a tree that leans over the water:

Great Tit

I cross over the bridge between Scotland and England:

A Border Bridge

Down below, on the other side,  the water races over the weir, and the heron is back at his staging post (saw another further down, but this is the one that I look out for. If Scotland becomes a separate country from England, maybe this heron should be employed as a border guard, or at least a passport officer.

It is still quite early, but already the light is drawing in, as I take the path down into the wooded path on the other side of Tweed River. Now I am in England. The trees are still grey and bare, but some hazel catkins are out:

Grey Scene


I worked out how to take close-ups with the new camera, but now I’ve forgotten: however, nice to see the pretty catkins, so early in the year.

When I get to the stile I climb over and try to capture the varying light, as the sun comes and goes. It shines on Cornhill on Tweed, away over the fields:


Cornhill 2

Shines on the ploughed hill:

Ploughed Hill

And flickers over the hills, making them look like 19th Century landscapes:

Light over Hills 1

Fields and Hills1

Then I  point the camera towards the sun:

Winter Sky

I climb back over the stile, and decide to go back, but not before taking a picture of what may be called A New Broom:


The first yellow of Spring.

The sun has almost set, even though it is only four o’clock, as I know because the bus that travels between Berwick on Tweed and Galashiels passes me as I cross over the bridge:

Sun over Tweed

It has been invigorating to be out and about with the camera once again, and to see the first signs of the Spring, though storms are forecast over the next few days.  My last portrait is of this crow sitting in a tree beside the Tweed, which makes a nice endpiece; then I turn upwards towards the house:


January 22, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Walking by the Leet


While relatives in other places have been menaced by bush fire and by flood and by 100mph winds – fortunately they are safe – we have an almost cloudless October day up here in the Scottish Borders. I decide to take a short walk along the Leet.  Half way through the walk, my camera battery rauns out, so I take two walks along the copse beside the water –  I have hardly seen a soul on either walk:

Beside the bridge I see my shadow reflected on the other bank of the river:


Under the main bridge out of Coldstream the nettles grow high beside the water, but among fallen leaves an enigmatic message appears:


There are still some apples growing on the trees in the garden high above the water and they are reflected in the still water before it turns into a froth below the weir:



A little light penetrates from behind me and throws shadows of trees on a fallen tree:


Little things catch my eye, a plant, the head of a mallard…. these ducks aren’t at all like the ducks on the canal which are used to people, the ducks here are truly wild. You can’t see them, but then suddenly there is a squawking and a flurry of wings, and twenty or so ducks will suddenly rise out of nowhere and take off.  The camera flash will do this – maybe they take it for the flash of a gun. The heron gives its harsh cry as it flies up and down the river. I feel that I disturb living creatures in what is their own environment:




The trees beside the river here are delicate and let in a lot of light, but I reckon there must be a fair amount of struggle by these delicate-looking plants to grow in a place which is so apparently untamed, those these copses are managed, and managed well:





Among the trees a find a tree stump which marks out a grisly death:


Maybe at the beak and talons of that creature flying overhead:


This small stretch of the river is now emptied of ducks, due to the presence of myself. I like the reflections of trees in the water, and the bright colour of the leaves against the water, which seems to capture colour from the sky in a way that I don’t see with the naked eye as deeply as the camera sees it:




I come out of the copse and take the road that leads past the gold course, where this one very pretty tree gets my attention:


I stop at the old bridge that goes over the Leet:





The path turns up into the patch of ground where young trees have been planted, and where once there must have been a pond, as there are reeds all over, and earlier in the year the yellow iris grows here in profusion.  I have the sense that at one time there was a garden laid out beneath the plants that have spread over whatever shape once was here, leaving only the ghost of a garden behind:





There is a feast of berries on the trees for the birds this year:



The wilderness gets too great for a passageway, so I take the path that turns up towards the top wood which leads back into Coldstream. By the side of the path is another tree stump, though this time covered with something less grisly than the one I came across earlier:


It is nearly November.  The autumn is upon us.  These fine days are a gift. The path through the woods is dark, and high above the Leet I catch glimpses of the water between the trees and undergrowth.  I am now up close to the big cudgels of the ivy-covered trees that from the far bank I could see  on the horizon:


Nearly back to Coldstream.  Back to people –  throughout the walk I have heard the sound of children in the distance, but have only seen one man and his dog the whole afternoon:





November 1, 2013 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments


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