Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Blackbird, bye, bye

Had to take my Mother to the doc's today for an appointment, while I was waiting for everyone to get into the Landrover, I noticed this blackbird sitting in the Cotoneaster on the driveway.  A bit of a departure for me but I am quite pleased with the shot.

Pleased we used the Landrover as by the time I took Mother home, the roads were covered in a fresh fall of un-forecast snow.

All the animals seen to and I can now sit down with a modest glass of Springbank.

Oops!  I wasn't going to mention that!!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Snowy Kielder Forest

It was a glorious morning here in Darkest Northumberland, No1 daughter was spending the day beating so we decided that as the youngest was going to her father's house we would take the opportunity to get out for a short walk somewhere.

Kielder Forest it was!

It was a cold drive in the Landrover as it was below freezing all the way there. I can never understand why, considering that they were designed to survive all that nature could throw at them, Landrover didn't see fit to install a proper heater!

It has been a while since we have been for a walk but it seemed that The Children's Mother had forgotten how to wear her wellies!

Eventually she got the hang of them and off we went.

The reason that I wanted to go was to see this view of Kielder Reservoir, spectacular!  The shot is taken from beside the Skyspace Artwork.

The Skyspace artwork is designed to view the night sky from within, through a large hole in the roof.

We are planning a flanking manoeuvre to get the girls up here one night to see the stars.

Inside the Skyscape, The Children's Mother was starting to rebel, mind you, it was very cold up there and it hadn't been the short walk with the terriers that we had planned.  Even the dogs were staring to look miserable. (Mind you the snow was deep and they only have little legs!)

Only time for another quick shot or two and I had to admit defeat, it was turning dusk and time to go and get the horses in.

It was freezing hard by now.

By gum, this Springbank is good...!

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Boxing Day

After feeling lousy all day yesterday,  just too tired I think and didn't even get to see my Ice Age DVD!  I was determined to get out in the fresh air today.  I had to go and see to the donkeys late this afternoon so I took the opportunity to go for a short walk up on the moors with the dogs.

On the edge of Slaley Forest, at the top of a steep hill where I parked the Landrover, (diff-locks required today!)  the moors looked just too tempting despite the lateness of day.  A quick shot of this frozen pond then on to the moor.

Up on the the high point between the forest and Blanchland Village, I can see the lights of Consett, where I was born.  A famous steel town until 25 years ago, it was once the highest industrial town in Britain at just less than one thousand feet above sea level.  Today?  Well......

I didn't hang around long, it was a bit chilly and I still had the the animals to do.

Sorry folks but the Springbank is mine, HANDS OFF!!

Hope you all had a relaxing day!

Friday, 25 December 2009

Christmas Day

It must be Christmas Day, we were woken at some very un-godly hour by a small girl wielding a christmas stocking to be emptied.   Bless her...!

Her elder sister was more than blessing her as she was dragged out of bed to join in the 'fun'.  A quick breakfast and off to the horses, it never ends!  A quick walk with the dogs.

Back home and the serious present opening before a small girl does herself a mischief!!

Well thank you kids!

That's me sorted.  See you in a couple of days....!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve and it was snowing unexpectedly this morning.  The day started as always with a run up to the yard to do the horses, on the way home we passed a shooting party on Allendale Estate, the beaters looked nice and warm and the guns looked frozen.  Social order restored!!!

Every Christmas Eve, The Children's Mother and the children meet up with their cousins and go to this isolated church, St Oswalds at the appropriately named Heavenfields, where the children's paternal Grandfather was Vicar some years ago.  Both Grandparents are now buried here and the family get together and remember.  While I am not directly involved and have no religious persuasions, it's moving to witness this gathering.

Normally, the views to the north from the church are stunning but this afternoon, the snow was wet and the view foggy but non the less impressive.  Somewhere up there is Scotland.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves,  and the children (even the twenty eight year-old!), built a snowman, and we all retired to the pub for a late lunch.

I hope that there is more snow next year...!

Happy Christmas everyone!!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

B & W

The snow is slowly melting here. Tragedy!

Still, make the most of it and grab a another shot or two.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Tuesday, and still breathing!

Had to go and rub noses with the Doctor yesterday.  Apparently I am still alive, so that's a bonus with Christmas coming up!

Looking west up the Tyne Valley from near where we live, I love the soft light in the distance beyond Hexham.

It's that damn tree again!

I have discovered the cause of the flare in these shots, there is a tiny chip on the inside of the objective lens.  Looks terminal.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

We woke to frosty morning after further snow overnight, not too much but enough to make life a little awkward for all the jobs that had to be done first thing.  Two lots of horses to do, in opposite directions from each other!

Ten minutes fighting my way into the Landrover and I could drop the girls and their mother off at one yard and get myself to the other.

When the jobs were done I had the reward of a walk with the dogs and the chance to take some pictures.

Similar to yesterday's 'Keepers Cottage'.

I noticed the brown in the hedge bottom and decided to leave a bit of colour in the finished image.

The same scene as the top picture but a different shot and the landscape format, transforms the end result.  I couldn't decide which shot I preferred, so you have got both!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The Keeper's Cottage

Keepers Cottage.

No matter how many pictures I take, I still manage to miss the obvious.  I took this shot and completely failed to notice the telephone wires and the birds!

Fortunately it still works.

All on it's lonesome......

Friday, 18 December 2009

More Snow!

More snow overnight but we have still got off lightly.  Lots of minor road accidents over the last 24hrs, when will people learn that snow and ice ARE SLIPPERY!!  I know that we are lucky to have a Landrover but they don't really like ice any more than other cars.

Anyway, that's my moan for today.  Some pictures!

This barn roof took a few shots to find what I was looking for but I quite liked this one.

On the other side of the valley from  the yard these people were enjoying the snow with their dogs and toddlers.

I have used shots of these trees before but they looked so different in the snow that had started to fall again on the drive home.  The falling snow has made the picture really grainy, unfortunately when viewed large you can also see that my telephoto has developed a 'flare'!

I wonder if Santa has a few quid spare this year?

Thursday, 17 December 2009

The First Snow

At last, we had a fall of snow this morning.

It has fallen wet and very cold, making the chores up at the yard a bit miserable.

Still, it was good to get out with the dogs afterwards and take some pictures.  I love the snow as everything is transformed and the light can be wonderful.

But remember children.......
You have been warned......!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

More Fog

Not much more to be said really!

Just about the only other thing to emerge from the gloom was this log with lichen!

Will someone please turn up the de-humidifiers..! 

No2 Daughter's birthday tomorrow,  second year of teenage.


Friday, 11 December 2009

Fog and Frost

At our house close to the River Tyne, 400m I guess, it was misty and cold this morning but as I gained height up the hill, the mist turned to freezing fog.

It was cold!
But after a couple of lean days on the photo front, the light was wonderful.

Horses sorted, I made my way up to my Mothers cottage after an 'emergency' phone call.  The hens were frozen into their house!

The Children's Mother delivered the hen house door a hefty blow and the hens rushed out into the cold sun which was burning through fog at this even higher level.  The liberator of hens vanished into the cottage for coffee while I cleaned the ark and walked the dogs.  A few shots of the frosted leaves and I went indoors to thaw my now frozen fingers.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Rain Later?

It was a lovely morning here, soft sunshine and a little mist by the river.

I had to take another shot of the tree as the light was so different today.

The light on this old slurry tank had a wonderful golden quality and depth.

Monday, 7 December 2009

B & W Tree!

Just for Imp!

The picture was taken yesterday but a special request is a special request!!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

B & W

After the horses this morning, The Children's Mother and I took the opportunity to have a short walk with the dogs.

Chance of another shot of the hedge of the other day but today the light was different, lending itself to B & W.

Thought that I had better use the shot of the tree too, just to keep in touch with normality!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Morning, New Moon

It was a lovely bright, crisp but not frosty morning.  On the lane up to the yard I was lucky enough to spot a shot I had been looking for for a few weeks, but the incessant rain had thwarted my efforts.  The bonus of a full moon descending was unexpected!

Tonight at the yard there was a wonderful, almost harvest moon rising, I rushed back to the car to get the camera as the shot was damn near perfect, moon, trees, buildings.  No camera, I had left it at home!

Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The Parcel

To you and I and most normal people, this parcel is ....well   a parcel.

But to a sump oil infused nineteen year old male child, this parcel is .....well 'The parcel!!'.

It contains, I am told, brake discs and callipers from something or other which will fit his wizzy little car, which is something or other completely different.  Apparently the twain shall meet successfully and

a.  Keep him happy for a painfully short time

b.  Stop said wizzy little car more efficiently.

The former is OK as he neither drinks, smokes nor hangs around with loose women, (well there is one but she is at Uni 200 miles away!) and he works quite hard.

The latter is reassuring as he spends 90% of his handsome income making said little car even more wizzy!  The parcel arrived this morning while he was out at, yes you might guess,   Halfords!

As he has an almost dislocated shoulder, I hope that none of this is going to involve me!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


I woke to a frozen world today.

The cars were coated in ice and and defying entry!  Once they were open they wouldn't close!  Frozen fingers and now, late for school children.

On the way back from school I stopped at Hexham and took some pictures of the Egger plant.  If you have some wood composite, British made furniture, it probably started life here.  Situated 25 miles from Kielder Forest and close to the A1M and the M6, this controversially located plant manufactures huge quantities of wood composite materials.

In this sort of light I find it strangely beautiful, though I fully understand that it's overlooking neighbours may not!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

The Dark Side

Yet again, a day of photo-lethergy,  I took the camera with me early this morning when I took No1 daughter out beating but ran out of time on the way to the yard and home, which was a pity as the light was interesting, with lots of fog in the Tyne Valley.

Too many distractions later, so it wasn't until evening, after putting the horses to bed that I made an effort to find something to photograph.

The telegraph post doesn't work quite how I wished but I still like something about it.

The Black Bull is a popular pub in Corbridge, our nearest neighbour.

Friday, 27 November 2009

The Cold Front Cometh!

It was dry here today!

Horses, a few repairs to do at my Mothers cottage then a short walk in Slaley Forest with the dogs.  The sky was clearing all the while from the north as the forecast front approached.  It could be a chilly few days.

Back to the cottage to feed the donkeys and put the hens to bed.  A quick cup of tea with my Mother then off to the yard to bring the horses in for the night.

And so to bed children!!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Little Angels?

Oh, about eight or ten years ago, I used to travel to Slovenia quite often.

The manager of the hotel I stayed at, (an old friend of the then family),  used to give us bottles of alcohol as a gift. This stuff was a form of Slivovica made by his butcher! (It was always referred to as "Janis's Fluid!) God only knows what he put in it but it tasted as if scraped his shop floor, poured in a quantity of neat alcohol and left for an indeterminate period! Definitely an acquired taste but out of three households I was the only person who would not only drink it but enjoy it too,  not too great a stain on my good  character I hope?

The work of the devil produced by an angel!!!

I was reminded of this the other day when The Children's Mother's son produced a bottle of vodka and invited me to partake of a tooth-full.

"Cheers" said I "Just the one, to be social you understand!)

"That's all your getting!"  We (I forgot to mention his friend in this) just want to make some room in the bottle"

Turns out that the plan was to then top the bottle up with Skittles, of all things, and let it brew.  My protests about the waste of a finite resource (the vodka) were met by blank gazes and the Skittles were tipped in.

Well, a couple of days ago the concoction was pronounced almost fit to sample, would I like a taste.

Two days on, the fact that I am able to sit here and write this testifies that I live on, minus a few more of my limited brain cells.

The work of Angels, produced by Little Devils...!

(ps, I noticed tonight that they haven't tried it yet!!!)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Light Pollution!

Another dreary wet day here, not conducive to taking pictures.

From the yard where my horses are kept, you can see the edge of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne urban sprawl in the distance (thankfully!)

It is only on nights like this that you can really appreciate the amount of light pollution we produce.  This is still about twenty miles away!

The wilds of Allendale and Bellingham beckon.....

Or even southern France!!