Sunday, 31 December 2017

wayfaring tree, happy new year!!!!























Wayfaring tree in flower, near Buckland, west Oxfordshire, 31st December 2017.

Happy New Year!!!!

Friday, 29 December 2017

blackcurrants








This Christmas we've been eating some of the blackcurrants that I harvested in the summer.

Though they've been frozen they are as piquant and as blackcurranty as the fresh ones - or at least that's how they seem in the depths of winter, with their taste of hot summer days.

whizzing s1, shortest day, raleigh park at dawn, robin singing







On the shortest day, the S1 bus whizzed from Witney to Oxford and I had a lovely walk to work from Botley.

Took this photo from Raleigh Park looking towards the city centre, which was completely obscured at dawn.

Fifteen minutes before - when it was still dark - I recorded a robin signing in Cumnor Rise Road.

Monday, 25 December 2017

☆♡☆♡happy christmas!!!!♡☆♡☆

























☆♡☆♡Happy Christmas!!!!♡☆♡☆

Allotment beetroot soup!

Sunday, 17 December 2017

witney market square, fantastic christmas lights, concluding seminar, lingering snow, christmas day beetroots, blue danube/shetland black lucky dip, can't wait for the christmas holidays!























Set off for work early, yesterday. Took this photo of the fruit and veg stall in Witney market square as I was waiting for the S1 Oxford bus. The Christmas lights in Witney are, incidentally, fantastic this year - including the long tassly ones hanging from the trees.

My concluding long fiction seminar on Thursday night. As I think I mentioned this is the tenth anniversary of when I started teaching this course on the University of Oxford Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing programme. I really enjoyed the discussions we had about experimental fiction and narrative shapes.

The snow is still lingering, although the temperature is significantly higher today and the rain has washed much of what remained at dawn away. The ice on our frog pond will take a few days yet to totally disappear, I suspect.

Went to the allotment before a late breakfast to harvest the beetroots for our Christmas Day soup and some chard. I was worried that the beetroots would have gone soggy in the frost but they seem OK.

Going to have either Blue Danube or Shetland Black spuds with lunch today - or a mixture of the two. There weren't that many of either variety when I harvested them, and they looked distinct at that stage, so I thought it wouldn't do any harm to put them in the same sack... I think I've managed to separate out the latter and it's these I'm imagining we'll have. But they all look pretty similar now they're dry!

Can't wait for the Christmas holidays!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

snowy walks, the snow-muffled land, widford church, an unmissable walk

























Walks from Burford over the weekend, including one through the snow on Sunday.

It was as if we were the only people - with the only dog - in the Windrush valley.

The snow was thick and the going tiring.

Sometimes I felt afraid - even though we were never far from one of the villages. The snow-muffled land can be a lonely place. There are just the animals and birds and the crunch of your steps. Once, the sound of a branch falling from a tree under the weight of the snow in a nearby wood.

A few minutes later we passed the 13th century church of St Oswald and the ground where once was the medieval village of Widford.

I wouldn't have missed that walk for anything.

More photos on Instagram.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

finished digging, chard for lunch, chomping deer























Finished digging the allotment today.

Most of it, I did in the early autumn but three beds remained till last weekend, when I dug two of them.

I was fortunate that it hadn't got too wet. Some years it would be waterlogged by now.

Picked some chard for lunch. The plants that were sown this year are still going strong, although the self set ones have been chomped by deer...

Oxford full term is over. A very busy eight weeks it has been!