stories and illustration

Winter River

December 22, 2019 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Fallen Willow

DSCF6429This tree last summer had a swing attached to a branch, and other odds and ends scattered about, that indicated children had used this quite secret spot by the old bridge as a hide-out.  A few months ago this same great branch that they had been swinging on came down, landing just shy of the bridge; and the whole scene of devastation has been left as it was, though as the seasons pass it changes. The whole tree is spread-eagled now, like something on a battlefield, but from the fallen branch the willow flowers and a profusion of leaves are still growing, as the branch is still just attached to the trunk. As I was leaving this spot two children arrived with their dog, and I heard the dog splashing around, and the children calling to each other  behind me.

May 4, 2017 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cow Parsley by River Leet

Cow parsley by River Leet

June 7, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Backwater, Blue Water

BackwaterStill everywhere in the Scottish Borders the fawns of February remain, but touched with the brighter colours of Spring.  Was it Coleridge who described that haze of leaf-buds on trees as “chocolate mist” ?  Usually I walk on the other side of the river, but this day I explored a few yards on the pathless side, and enjoyed the peace of a small plantation crossed by the River Leet, where one could catch in the distance the sound of children shouting from up above; but scarcely a bird to be heard this March afternoon, not even the harsh cry of a disturbed heron.  Yes, all very quiet, with  water like blue glass echoing precisely the outline of that tree.

March 14, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reflections in River Leet


March 14, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Green Leaf




September 30, 2014 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heron in the Leet 2


May 26, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heron in the Leet 1


May 26, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moon, Mooching, River Tweed

Moon over River Tweed

Came back in just as the dark was creeping in. The moon was in the clear sky, but what drew my eye me was that heap of pale cloud over the hills on the horizon. I took some pictures earlier of those hills, looking through the new zoom lens, almost like looking through binoculars:



With my naked eye I don’t see the folds of those far hills, and don’t notice that achromatic haze created by distance. I can see I am going to have to find out more about the ins and outs of this camera, and I also know that I am going to have some fun. The delights of not quite knowing what one is about, the real meaning of the word “amateur”, the time to go walkabout. In the morning I am working on a commission, which will take up all next week, if the rough is accepted.  A very interesting commission, but with the need to fulfil expectations upon me, and the hope of pleasing.


With the camera I can just wander about as I please – and since we are on limited rations every other day of the week, I don’t even have to make the supper.  Don’t think I will take a “food” photograph of the tin of red pepper soup and the dried fruit which I dug out of the cupboard in desperation, having bought it in Lidl a year ago. It’s surprisingly sweet and cheap. Unlike myself.


January 8, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 18 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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