Cow-parsley meadow

All photos were taken with my old 50mm MF lens, with all but the bottom one with f/2.0. I love the dreamy textures the extremely shallow field of depth creates (demonstrated beautifully by the photo third from the bottom). Being manual focus, it’s somewhat stiff to use, and occasionally it’s difficult to see how well in focus the pictures are, but the end result almost invariably is worth the effort.

The relentless march of spring

Magdalen Walks

The little white clouds are racing over the sky,
And the fields are strewn with the gold of the flower of March,
The daffodil breaks under foot, and the tasselled larch
Sways and swings as the thrush goes hurrying by.

A delicate odour is borne on the wings of the morning breeze,
The odour of deep wet grass, and of brown new-furrowed earth,
The birds are singing for joy of the Spring’s glad birth,
Hopping from branch to branch on the rocking trees.

And all the woods are alive with the murmur and sound of Spring,
And the rose-bud breaks into pink on the climbing briar,
And the crocus-bed is a quivering moon of fire
Girdled round with the belt of an amethyst ring.

And the plane to the pine-tree is whispering some tale of love
Till it rustles with laughter and tosses its mantle of green,
And the gloom of the wych-elm’s hollow is lit with the iris sheen
Of the burnished rainbow throat and the silver breast of a dove.

See! the lark starts up from his bed in the meadow there,
Breaking the gossamer threads and the nets of dew,
And flashing adown the river, a flame of blue!
The kingfisher flies like an arrow, and wounds the air.

Oscar Wilde

IMGP0006IMGP0019IMGP0134IMGP0139IMGP0232IMGP0299IMGP0235IMGP0278IMGP0298IMGP0309IMGP0328My favourite place in the spring is the Magdalen College park, where Oscar Wilde walked when he wrote this poem, and where I took these photos between February and April.


IMG_0165One of the great things about working in education is holidays; though I don’t get as many as the teachers, couple weeks off between the terms is great. By its very nature, the school year is varied in its busyness, and from now till the end of the academic year, things will be hurtling forward at dizzying speed – there will be exams, events, another arts festival, all on top of all the regular things. Like most people returning from the holiday, I feel the sort of slight guilt that comes from not doing all those things I intended to do – read piles of books, redecorate the house, bake cake every day… I did manage however to visit one place I have never been to before – the National Portrait Gallery. I love museums in general, and occasionally seeing the “original copy” of a familiar picture, like Vanessa here, can be incredibly riveting.IMG_0188IMG_0192I also finished my socks and did some other crafty things too.
IMG_0178I love candles. My favourite smell in the world is a mixture of stearin and coffee – it’s the smell of my childhood spent eating cake after Sunday church service. I picked up a rhubarb and raspberry -scented candle in the M&S, and found a warning printed on the label: harmful to aquatic life. The candle also had a list of ingredients long as one’s arm, and that caused a mild consumer panic. A quick search online later, I happily ordered some Beefayre organic candles, which are dolphin and bee friendly, burn nicely and smell good. The packaging doesn’t hurt.
IMG_0222The spring creeping forward, despite bitter, cold winds.
IMG_0254IMG_0274IMG_0311IMG_0294IMG_0305IMG_0304At the end the hols, I went to the Isle of Wight for the first time ever, with some friends. We sailed across the Solent from Portsmouth and stayed in the Yarmouth marina; having grown up by the sea, I miss it every in the terribly landlocked Oxford. The sea is both constant and ever changing to me, a bridge – I cannot imagine how living deep inland, hundreds or thousands of miles away from sea is like, but think it must feel terribly isolated.