Category Archives: Landscape

Heptonstall Church(es)

Thursday 2nd April 2020, 1.35pm (day 3,143)

Heptonstall churches, 2/4/20

For obvious reasons none of the present run of photos are being taken very far away from one another. This one looks across the valley of the Nutclough Woods, above our house, towards the two churches of Heptonstall, one extant and one ruined: they share a churchyard, and look further apart on this shot than they are in reality. The yellow stuff? Not sure of the exact species, but the buds confirm that spring is on its way, out there in the world where we used to play.

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Above the woods

Saturday 28th March 2020, 2.05pm (day 3,138)

Above the woods, 28/3/20

This day last year I was in Singapore. Horizons are rather more limited in late March 2020, for all of us I imagine. I acknowledge, however, that I am one of the lucky ones in that this landscape resides a few minutes’ walk from my house and at least here, one can be immersed in the countryside for a time each day: like this father and son, taking the air. Cooler today, though: it is inevitable that the run of good weather we have been having will end, but confinement will be harder to take once the sunshine ends.

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Stoodley Pike

Monday 23rd March 2020, 11.20am (day 3,133)

Stoodley Pike, 23/2/20

I did not have to go very far from my house to take this picture, and nor did I have to interact with anyone in order to do so. For all sorts of reasons, it makes me sad that I have to say these things at this time, but it’s where we’re at. Yet the world is still out there, folks.

Maybe I should have cropped the birds, but I left them there in the end.

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The healthy option

Monday 16th March 2020, 12.45pm (day 3,126)

Watson's Dodd summit, 16/3/20

I have exhibited no symptoms of viral infection. No one around me has exhibited them either. So I am not locking myself up in my house, not yet. What will be the overall impact on public health of the proposed lockdown (and along the way, creation of a police state)? On mental health, levels of domestic violence and abuse, et cetera? The UK is not the only country launching a massive experiment in depriving tens of millions of people that they have come to rather like. Maybe it will relieve pressure on the health service. But maybe it won’t.

Anyway this lockdown is not quite yet in operation. Hence, I got outside today, because there may not be many more chances in the next few weeks. This is the summit of Watson’s Dodd, above Thirlmere in the Lake District — behind, the peak of Helvellyn, at 3,117 feet the third-highest mountain in England.

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God’s Golf Ball

Wednesday 11th March 2020, 10.20am (day 3,121)

God's golf ball, 11/3/20

I said yesterday that Lincoln cathedral stands at the top of one of the few hills in Lincolnshire. This beauty — a radar station, apparently — stands near the summit of one of the others, Normanby Top (a County Top). This looks exactly as if God is waiting up there with his 3-wood, ready to smash it over the nearby water hazard (the North Sea) and out into Europe.

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First (and possibly last) snowfall of the winter

Monday 24th February 2020, 10.05am (day 3,105)

HB snow view, 24/2/20

The first snow I’ve seen anywhere since 1st February last year, and that didn’t make the blog, so today’s shot is the first white stuff to be depicted since 22/1/19. And, as on that day, this covering was ephemeral. By mid-afternoon, all was gone — possibly for another year? I suspect not; since my ‘first day of spring’ moment on the 1st in Bucharest, February has deteriorated considerably.

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This is how close we are to Europe

Wednesday 29th January 2020, 10.55am (day 3,079)

Strait of Dover, 29/1/20

I know that on my ‘About’ page I claim that this blog is intended to be apolitical. But now and again I make exceptions, and this is one of those days.

Today I have travelled to Romania (which you will see photos of over the next few days) for a conference that ironically is on cross-EU collaboration in higher education (a.k.a. the Bologna Process). I say ‘ironically’ because while I have entered Romania as an EU citizen, with rights here and indeed in 26 other countries across the continent, I will leave it on Sunday without these things, thanks to the piece of childish idiocy that has become known as ‘Brexit’, a shorthand term for the spasm of ideological, racist stupidity which a minority — and it is, be most assured, a minority of the UK population (do the maths) — decided in 2016 that they wanted. This then being reinforced by basically the same people who last month elected a lying, lawbreaking, over-privileged, credential-free buffoon to lead the country at this critical time.

On my way this morning from Heathrow I got the chance to take this shot: apologies for the alarming tilt on it but it was the only way to do it. Just below is Dover, its harbour walls clearly visible. And over there, under the plane’s wing, can be seen Cap Gris-Nez, near Calais. This is how close we are to Europe. I have flown over Lake Michigan and you can’t see one side from the other even from 30,000 feet. Here it took less than a few minutes to cross the Strait of Dover — or Pas de Calais, if you prefer.

And what do the Brexiteer morons and lunatics and bigots think will happen now? Do they think that the island of Great Britain is just going to float merrily off into the Atlantic, to engage in some blissful rendezvous with the Trumpiters somewhere near Bermuda? Are we supposed now to think that this narrow strait, this tiny defile that could still be walked across 6,000 years ago, is going to become a gulf and we will all get on with our Little Englander lives as if Europe, and all its economic and intellectual strength, its culture and history, wasn’t still there? Especially now that we have consciously revoked all ability to directly influence its politics, to vote in its elections, to oblige its ministers to hear us, as a member of a union, with all the deep legalistic meaning of that term?

I am ashamed.

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Snowdonia (probably)

Thursday 23rd January 2020, 3.15pm (day 3,073)

Snowdonia cloudscape, 23/1/20

Up in the air again, from Manchester airport heading roughly north-west, though not very far (so if you want, you can deduce where I travelled to before I post from t/here tomorrow). Not long after take off, visual interest was added to the flight to the south, where this cloudscape revealed itself. I wasn’t sure at the time where this might be but a subsequent look at the map suggests the hills in the background must be Snowdonia, in the north-west corner of Wales. It’s the general golden wash that I like about this photo, however. Far better weather up there than down on the ground today — as is often the case, of course.

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January afternoon

Wednesday 22nd January 2020, 3.10pm (day 3,072)

January afternoon, 22/1/20

One of those days that was spent sat at home, marking.  On such days, photographically, I’m glad my house has a view. It’s been a mild winter thus far, which doubtless some will attribute to climate change but frankly I think Britain always does have these, every few years: the last really mild one was 2013-14. But then again maybe some east wind will cover us in snow in March, as happened in 2018….

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Walking to Keswick

Wednesday 8th January 2020, 12.45pm (day 3,058)

Keswick path, 8/1/20

These two walkers had the same idea as me — that there are better things to do sometimes than sit around in an office on a Wednesday. I started my trek in Keswick and had come along this path just previously, so I know where they’re going.

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