stories and illustration

October Woodland, The Hirsel Estate


For two days now there have been high winds, with flurries of rain and sunshine.  Yesterday I walked up the pathway beside the golf course which segues into the path where the pheasants have right of way. There are always birds on this path, they fuss off when I approach, really it isn’t public footpath terrain, though the pathways are quite clear to follow.  The woods are bright and showy at the same time, the ground thick with ferns. When the wind blows leaves careen down like fairy coins. When I went further into to the wood I heard the dogs barking from the lodge, and the pheasants shrieking; possibly it was my footsteps that were causing this disturbance. Later in the day there was a rainbow, briefly, above the garden; and today the winds have been howling from dawn to dusk, the clocks have gone back, I have stayed indoors, though him outdoors did the usual six mile walk, dressed for the weather, head to foot. New boots have been bought via the Internet: apparently they were supplied to the French Foreign Legion.

October 26, 2014 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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 First Rhododendron in Dundock Wood



The rhododendrons in Dundock Wood on the Hirsel Estate are famous. I was not expecting to see any of them out this early in the year, but then just as I was coming near the end of the wood I saw this rhodododendron in flower, and there were even insects exploring some of the blooms. Since having the camera I kind of go hunting for signs of the Spring, and here is a pretty example. Really frou-frou, in the best possible way. Lovely to think of these plants blossoming all over the world. Didn’t see a soul in the wood, which I have to admit had some pretty hefty mud along the paths.  But then to come across this flower was such a pleasure.





April 10, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Three Views of a Tree


Saw this tree when walking through woods in the Hirsel, its bark marked like the pelt of an animal from somewhere else. What is the name of this tree?

April 10, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Borders Fields, Cheviot Hills

hills and fields

Another view of the hills, seen from the path that runs along the edge of the Hirsel.  Walked for miles yesterday, through woodland, past fields, and then along by the Hirsel lake, where I sat in The Hide watched coots and mallards and geese; then walked back down the wide road that leads back to Coldstream itself. I knew I was going to be late back, not allowing myself to be misled by the Golf Clubhouse Clock, which hasn’t yet been put on an hour to fit in with the end of Daylight Saving. The evenings are so much lighter now, I keep forgetting that the winter is over. That patch of snow on the hills has almost disappeared.

April 6, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Tree Bud in the Little Wood


Always liked those photographs were there is focus in the foreground and then this softening background – think that it goes with my liking of layers in paintings.  I can get this effect with the new camera, if I remember which buttons to press. Anyway, on a sunlit afternoon I walk through the little wood in the Hirsel, between the golf  course and the road, and see spring beginning.

March 17, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A February Walk Round the Hirsel Lake

Hirsel Lake

At last the pall of cloud lifts,  it is a sunlit February day, and I have the time to walk up to the Hirsel and take a leisurely walk round the lake. Although it is Sunday, and there are plenty of people walking in the grounds, nobody seems to be walking round the lake, and when I get to the Hide it is deserted.

Lake 3

A few birds float past the Hide:

Lake and Swans

Lake 4

Lake 5

Lake 6

There is some graphic grafitti of the usual kind on the walls of the Hide, and someone has demolished on of the sides:

Lake 7

I walk on round the lake path:

Lake 8

Lake 9

There is farmland to the left of the path:Lake 10

Then further along the path divides, with the left hand path going into the woods, where in a couple of months the famous rhododendrons will be flourishing:

Lake 11

I decide to walk into the spinney near the lake.  The ground is very soft underfoot, and I find myself sinking in, so try and anchor my boots on a piece of fallen branch.  A treecreeper is climbing up a tree, it moves amazingly fast, like a little mouse. Down nearer the water I can see greylag geese:

Lake 12

But as a try to inch nearer through the bog they sense my presence and take off, with an amazing cacophony:

Lake 13

I think of the geese that saved Rome with their clamour – there was me trying to plod surreptitiously across the mud, quite some way away, but they get a sense of me and rise into the air, wheeling above me in a frenzied flock, honking away, shadowy above my head.  I thought I’d scared them away.  But eventually they come down on to the lake, further off, their honking fainter, and feeling a tad abashed at creating this uproar, I gaze for a few moments at the peaceful, birdless water:

Lake 14

Then I unstick myself from the mud and continued along the path, through the grey wintered trees:

Lake 15

Lake 16

Lake 17

On the path is this pretty feather:

Lake 18

I am near the end of the route round the lake, I know that when I came across the willows that I like to look at from the other side of the water, and that I missed when they were cut and I couldn’t see that lovely red that shines almost vermilion from far away:

Lake 19

Coming out from the path, I see  the Hirsel  spread out on the top of its gentle slope:

Lake 20

I walk back past the reedbeds:

Lake 21

Then look back across the lake, from where I started, before going to have a cappucino in the Hirsel Tearoom, which is packed, although in the whole of my walk, on such a fine day, I only met one couple going round the lake.

Lake 22

February 3, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Hirsel: Moon


January 11, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Hirsel: Swan and Reeds

SWan and Reeds

January 11, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Hirsel: Three Swans 2

Swans 2

January 11, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: