Location:United Kingdom

An avid tea-drinker who likes nutmeg in her coffee and warm lavender-scented quilts. She knits, crochets and partakes in random acts of craftiness (and kindness). She likes obscure works of literature, philosophy and the idea that her mind exists separately from her body. She enjoys moving furniture around, literary criticism and baking bread. She writes haiku about nettles, would like to swim with seals and become completely self-sufficient. She writes as if her life depends on it, listens to beautiful music, and loves her darling husband Mr. VP.

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Saturday 11 March 2017

Amongst the trees and the birds in winter

Weekends are so short these days. They fly by in the blink of an eye, so, so quickly. What’s different? We’re busy with little Baby VP who is definitely not a baby any more! But weekends… they disappear. So we try to make sure that we go out and do Interesting Things together as a family.

So a couple of weekends ago we donned warm coats, Baby VP wore her thick all-in-one bunny coat, and we headed out for a decent countryside walk. I must admit that since having a baby, our walks are not as long as they used to be, and certainly shorter now that we don’t use a pram any more. But we make sure that we stop to enjoy all that nature has to offer and now that spring is so tantalisingly close.

We find that getting out early is best as we not only avoid the crowds but we make the most of the pre-nap energy. I also think that getting out and about early is best to see wildlife and we were lucky, seeing a treecreeper, lots of blue tits, coal tits, great tits and chaffinches as well as a pheasant, robin and moorhen. It was the first time that Baby VP had been into a bird hide for quite a while, and this time it was magical because she was so open to seeing the birds. We made sure we pointed each one out.  We’re not ‘twitchers’ by any means, but there is a lot I appreciate about seeing birds come and go and spotting new ones I haven’t seen before. They really are beautiful things, birds.

I think about the things I want to pass on to Baby VP, the things she’ll remember forever, and one of the greatest things I can think of is a love of the outdoors. An abiding love and deep appreciation for the wonder and beauty of nature; the awe-inspiring brilliance of the world’s living body. I think of how much information there is to teach; how much I am learning alongside her and I feel so humbled by it all. The weight of this duty is immense. What a wonderful job to have.

By the time we were finished walking and bird-watching we were ready for a sit down and a coffee, complete with a toasted teacake shared between us three.

Saturday 19 November 2016

Autumn, wearing her finest colours

I think you can tell from the photos above and below, we found autumn in all of her splendour.  Despite the temperature – 3ºC; it was Baltic as they say around these parts – we wrapped BabyVP (and ourselves) up well in many, many layers and ventured out for a walk. Most of the trees are bare, but not the beeches.

We walked and took photos here and there of leaves on the floor, chattering all the time to BabyVP about the birds flitting around us; from blackbirds and blue tits to the robins that suddenly appear in such large numbers around now. We came around a corner and were struck silent by this one, lone beech tree.

It was photographic perfection; all black-line branches and yellow-orange-brown leaves. So different to the pines, oaks, horse chestnuts and yews around it. Not that the oaks and chestnuts don’t have beautiful leaves – they do – but unlike all of the beech’s deciduous neighbours whose leaves were long gone, this tree was still clothed in the most wonderful golden coat.

I wonder what BabyVP made of all of this; she must have wondered what on earth her mother was getting so excited about.  I hope to pass this pure adoration of nature on to her; and I see it in the way she points out birds and trees.

I have had a reason to go out with camera in hand. This last week I have been taking part in an online photography course that was free. It’s only 4 weeks, only takes 3 hours a week of taking part in ‘webinars’. I have really enjoyed reconnecting with my camera and its myriad of functions.

We all had a good time, cold hands and rosy cheeks and all.

This week’s lesson was on aperture priority. This is all stuff I knew already but I am learning tips as we go, too. Aperture priority is what gives you amazing bokeh as well as certain lenses (usually the older analogue ones); it controls focus in the same way that scrunching your eyes up allows you to focus a bit better on certain things.

Photography courses aside, when the sun was shining and the birds were singing and BabyVP was cuddled up in her many layers, it really was the perfect day to be outside.  The sun, when it did shine, was almost warm enough to make you forget the icy chill. Almost.

Gosh we were glad to get back into the warmth of the cafe and have a bite to eat. Then home, with a very sleepy BabyVP in the back of the car, who nodded off to sleep shortly after we set off. Those colours though! Those colours…

Thursday 18 June 2015

Lilacs, Roses and Rhododendrons

Thursday 19 March 2015

VP Photo Challenge: Day 6. Pick A Colour

Saturday 14 March 2015

VP Photo Challenge: Day 1. Glowing

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Frosty Winter Walk

Saturday morning loomed bright and glorious and I knew that I had to make the most of every moment of sun we get at this time of year.  Mr VP was feeling the after-effects of his night of raucus festive celebrations with his company, so I jumped in the car with my Wellibobs, camera and warmest coat, collected Mum and her dog and headed off into the countryside.

The drive was a little ropey at times, as this far out in the ‘sticks’ they don’t always grit the roads, and being more northerly, they’d got the worst of the snow we’d had the other day.  The roads were cold and snow lined the verges and covered the hills in the distance.

By the time we got into the woods, the temperature had ‘risen’ to 0ºC and the whole place had been transformed into an icy wonderland reminiscent of Narnia.  Ponds were frozen over, the snow had refrozen into thick sheets of glassy-clear ice.  Everything was eerily quiet as the low winter sun glinted through the trees.

Not a single thing had escaped the icy fingers of Jack Frost.

Look at that low sun glinting through the trees. The rich red colour of the forest floor and the deep Christmas green of the evergreen needles.  This woodland is mostly pine and spruce with the odd hardwood and yew thrown in.

The paths were not always easy to traverse, but the trees had kept a lot of the paths clear for us.

At every turn, I imagined Mr Tumnus to jump out and say hello.  There’s something about snow that turns everything into a magical world of fantasy.

We headed off to a wildlife hide, partly to get out of the cold and partly to see what wildlife was taking refuge on the feeders.  We weren’t short of birds to watch.  Chaffinches, blue tits, robins, nuthatches, blackbirds, coots, moorhens, woodpeckers, coal tits and all manner of birds were flying around the feeders, desperately trying to fill themselves up to keep warm.

It was a veritable Piccadilly Circus of birdlife.  In amongst the hustle and bustle of the smaller, more plentiful birds, I noticed this woodpecker.

The nuthactch wasn’t a persistent feeder; she kept taking small morsels of food and then flying off.  Soon after, you could hear the tap, tap, tap of her pushing the sunflower seeds into crevices in the bark of nearby trees.  What an amazing little bird!

One of my favourite oaks.  It has the most perfect oak-shape, don’t you think?  By this time, my feet were achingly cold and I’d lost sensation in the tips of my toes.  The dog had begun to shiver, too, so we decided to head back.

Just before we got back to the car, we noticed that we were being followed by this little fellow.

Friday 14 November 2014

NaBloPoMo 2014: Day 14. Spiral Staircases.

Going through photos on Mr VP’s camera, I noticed he’d taken two lovely photos of the grand old staircase at Seaton Delaval Hall and knew I had to share.  They knew how to make an impact in the eighteenth-century, didn’t they?

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