stories and illustration

Shadows over the Barley


The week of celebrations and commemorations is over, the travellers (unaccredited) have left the green beside Penitents Walk, and the welcomed visitors have left Tweed Green, where they erected front rooms under canvas beside their caravans. Three portaloos were destroyed by fire, using accelerant, before Civic Week started, and the rubbish container was set on fire by mistake, at the end of Civic Week. In Sunderland in the devastated 90s cars would be twoked and set on fire at the top of the hill and rolled flaming down towards the estate (what larks, Pip), so this was rather mild by comparison (Phone rings.  Policewoman: We have found Mr Manesh’s car. Myself: Oh good, he will be pleased. Is it alright? Policewoman: Not really…. (Pause) What colour did it used to be?)

The sun shone nearly all of Civic Week. Now August is nearly half over, the barley and the wheat are ripening, some of the barley has been swept by storms, but mostly it is undamaged.  I go out for a quick walk in the late afternoon, climbing up the steep path beyond the Leet:


There isn’t much time for walking today, so I decide to just walk along the greensward at the edge of the barley and come back in front of the fishing lodge:


The stream beside the wider path is almost dried up, in spite of some bursts of rain. There have been swans walking across the Tweed, with their cygnets behind them, the water has been so low:


The green way goes up towards the river:


I see the small hill with the copse of trees on its top, a landmark in all seasons.  This season, the hill is gold. The clouds look as if they are rushing towards the horizon:


Towards the bend in the path, the shadows of the trees lie across the barley:


The undergrowth on the edge of the field is twisted and curled like something out of Rackham, or an illustration by Angela Barrett, in the background to a folk tale.


As I approach the place where the path goes up towards the Tweed, I see the truly free-range guinea fowl running away beyond the fence:


The Tweed is calm today, with few waterfowl in sight, though it is probably teeming with invisible life. If I pointed the camera up-river towards the sun, which is the best view from here, I would get the impression of a dark day, so instead I point it downwards towards the purply-brown water:

looking down

Then I look up, towards England on the opposite bank:


I walk on past the small, crumbling temple beside the Tweed:


And then spot a small outcrop of Scotland’s other favourite flower:


Time to head for home. I don’t wear a watch, but when walking by the barley one can hear every quarter of an hour sounding from the town clock; whereas, though we live only a few yards away, up in my room I don’t even hear the hours chime. Sound is strange that way.

August 13, 2013 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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