About

Name:VintagePretty
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 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 11 June 2015

Meadows in June

Is there a more beautiful sight to behold than this?  I mean, it’s not grand or austentatious; it doesn’t inspire awe to most as, say, a vast snow-tipped mountain range might.  But to me, this little world that barely breaches ankle-height is no less awe-inspiring.  It is the sight of June, these lush meadows full of green and growth and I realised it had been far too long since I last saw meadows like these.

This is the best bit of summer; before everything is crispy and brown, when everything is still gloriously green.

I still can’t get over a good larch, all pale green and softly-needled.

This beauty is a pyramidal orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) and was the reason for our evening walk.  I love our wild orchids and try to make it out to see them whenever they’re in season.  Having seen a few on the roadside verges as I whizzed past in the car, I knew it was the right time to seek them out.  Upon first scanning the meadow, I couldn’t see them, until I trained my eyes towards the deep pink-purple splodges of colour that could be nothing else.  After seeing one, I saw a whole meadow full.

I mean, it’s quite something, isn’t it?

When I say that this meadow was alive, I don’t just mean the flowers.  Bees, beetles (can you see the cardinal beetle on the clover?), spiders and all sorts of winged insects were busily going from a to b as we watched.

It’s also really nice to see that after May’s chill winds, we have gained a bit of warmth back, with evenings staying mild well into the night and days often too warm to stay any length of time in.

Clover love.  Our former neighbours used to cast aspersions at our lawn for having clover in it.  There would be the odd pointed comment about how nice lawns looked if they have only grass in them…  At which point I’d say how terribly fond I was of the pink and white clover that not only fed the lawn but helped to feed the bees that would hum busily around them.

This is a grass spider whose latin name, Tibellus oblongus, speaks of its long, oblong-shaped body.  At first, I thought it was a grasshopper moving through the grass, as it was so big (large house spider sized), but lo and behold, once we got up close to it, we realised that it was a spider and that she was carrying a huge ball of her eggs around with her.  Whilst I’m not a fan of spiders in the house (money spiders and zebra spiders excepted), I am quite happy to see them in their natural habitat.

Most of the May is finally over, but in shadier, cooler spots, there is still some to be found.  This  pink May is such a picture of beauty.

As we headed back to the car, I came across these pine trees and their showy pollen heads that will eventually become cones.  Don’t they look exotic?

Who says that pine trees are just green and brown?!  I think I can deal with all of the pollen dust on the car for a few weeks of tropical-coloured pine trees.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

The May in May

True to its name, the May is out in abundance both in the countryside and at the bottom of our garden. Each time we open the back door, our noses are met with the powdery, sweet smell of the early May blossom, before it starts to take on that slightly foetid odour that attracts the flies to it.  Whilst different to the apple, plum and sloe blossom of April, this blossom is totally unique and yet no less splendid as it fills roadsides and hedgerows up and down this green and pleasant land of ours.

Even though we had a slightly reluctant walker with us, we had such a nice potter through the countryside.  You might be able to tell that I’m so happy that the light, bright, spring greens are back again.  No more – for a few months at least – will we see the dull, drab greens of autumn and winter.  These bright greens are everywhere, from stinging nettles to ramsons to the Queen Anne’s lace and even on the pines and larches whose new needles are vivid and soft.  We paused to admire the red campion outshining its green and white neighbours, enjoyed the pungent tang of the ramsons on the air (yes, that sea of white is all garlic!) and stopped to gaze at the vast expanse of the Tyne river.  It really was a splendid day to get out of the house and enjoy the gloriousness of spring.

Thursday 30 April 2015

April: Short but Sweet





April has been one of my favourite months in a long while.  Maybe because this month the weather has been glorious, the flowers have blossomed and the greenery has taken on a fresh new-life green hue that I’ve missed.  It is the month that I’ve revelled in sunshine on my skin and the return of a whole swathe of wildlife to our shores.  Unfortunately, the month has also gone quicker than I think I can remember any month going ever, even when I was working 40-hour weeks or revising for exams!  I would like to press pause and just savour these last moments of April before May’s arrival, when it undoubtedly takes on a more summery hue.

Friday 17 April 2015

Alone Amongst the Blossoms

I mentioned the other day that Spring! had sprung in a most spectacular fashion and I was definitely not wrong!  We might not have had the temperatures that the south have been enjoying, but we have been revelling in the strengthening sun and the blue skies that we have been gifted of late and it has been glorious.

Seeing the hedgerows green up and change from silvery-brown and dark green to bright green again never fails to fill my heart with gratitude for the return of the sun.  Hearing the birds busily rushing to and fro, always with a song, is such a welcome thing and makes a change from the lone robin song of winter.

Every living thing in the woods is waking up from a slumber, brought around from their nap by the sunlight.  Ah, dappled sunlight!  I’ve missed you too.

Some trees were clinging on to the last of their old leaves despite them having a brand new layer of green.

There is something magical about walking alone amongst the anemonies.  I have such happy memories of visiting Southrey woods in Lincolnshire and snapping some wonderful pictures of them.  I love how they carpet a whole woodland floor in such profusion so as to cover completely all of last year’s leaflitter and debris.

Perhaps my favourite view of all?  A literal tunnel of blackthorn blossom, banked high on either side.  Pretty amazing, eh?  I snapped an identical photo whilst waiting for Mr VP to have his interview at around this time last year and I must say, it brought back all of those memories of hope and excitement (and nerves!).  Who knew where we’d be this time last year?

I don’t think I could ever get enough of the blossom.  I think I have fallen in love with spring, utterly and completely.


I found a secret short-cut and followed my adventurer’s spirit, which found me in amongst a dappled bank of trees overlooking the river below.  I was surprised that I didn’t come across more people on my walk as the weather was so lovely, but in other ways I’m glad that I had it all to myself for a couple of hours.

I saw my first bee-mimicking fly (Bombylius major) of the year!  Can you spot him?

Nope, that blue-and-frothy-white combination will never grow old :)

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Days of Spring

Have you felt that first, heady rush of spring yet?  I keep getting odd whiffs of it in the air and I’m instantly excited by the lengthening days and the warmth that the sun now possesses, not to mention the sight of blossom and imminent-blooms just waiting to unfurl.  It reminds me of this time last year, when we were in the midst of packing up our tiny Cambridge life and waiting ourselves to unfurl into the wide open spaces of Northumberland.

I certainly have enjoyed getting to explore and re-learn this new landscape of ours.  I can’t believe it has been a year and we’re still exploring.  I could spend the rest of my days here and still never see all that it has to offer.

We are finding new places all the time, however, and loved finding this little walk that bordered a farm that allowed us to idly pause to admire the donkeys and the pigs.

I started seeing butterflies on the Easter weekend and have since seen quite a few more, but none were so happy to stop and sunbathe in a photogenic manner as this tortoiseshell and this comma!  Mind you, a hedgerow of hawthorn and blackthorn blossom is probably one of the nicest places to stop and pause.

Thursday 19 March 2015

VP Photo Challenge: Day 6. Pick A Colour

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