Sunday 19th November 2017, 11.40am (day 2,278)
Seems superfluous to add much commentary. A truly beautiful late autumn day today.
The clocks have gone back, and there’s no denying we are now firmly in autumn. The first intimations of sunset came worryingly early this evening. For some reason I feel especially reluctant to let go of the summer; the coming of winter gives me no feeling of comfort this time round.
There have been very few Hebden Bridge pictures on the blog recently; in the last sixty pictures, since 14th August, there have been only 10 before today (and five of them were in the first week of September). But there will be a run coming up; time to reconnect with home turf. The trees are just beginning to turn, the nights drawing in.
In the near six years that I have been doing this blog, my spreadsheet reveals I have been to Russia on twelve separate occasions, and I know I went there at least four times before August 2011. And in all those sixteen occasions I have never been outside Moscow or its immediate environs (airports mainly).
This time is an exception. I currently reside in Khanty-Mansiysk, at 61ºN, 69ºE approximately: thus firmly behind the Urals, and in Siberia. (If Siberia, even by its most conservative definition, was a separate country it would still be the biggest one in the world.) What did I expect this place to look like — in the summer at least? Well, this pretty much sums it up. This is not out in the genuine taiga — this being a Russian academic conference they can never resist the ‘cultural programme’ so we were taken out this afternoon to the local open air ethnographic museum to see a bunch of log cabins in the woods (and the associated mosquito population). It was interesting though, and I was rather taken with this storehouse, built on stilts to keep the contents away from bears and other scavengers, but I can quite picture it as the legendary hut of the witch Baba Yaga, which could sprout chicken legs and chase after naughty children.
Most of the university campuses featured on this blog — and there have been a good many over the last five and a bit years, at least 20 I make it — have plenty of nice, green space. But the one on which I spend the most time, Manchester, has hardly any, it is the most urbanised, built-up campus I can think of. So it’s nice to picture some of its very rare green space on another very pleasant day. Even if this shot isn’t ‘green’ in the slightest. (It looked better in monochrome.)
Worked at home today, and tried to enjoy doing so as it’s my only chance this week. The weather relented, at least for today, and it was quite sunny and pleasant. I took a walk in the woods at lunchtime for the fresh air and while I did a most delicate rain shower came down, just for half a minute or so and backlit by wan November sunlight. This shot has probably turned out a bit too messy to be quite the capture I wanted it to be, but it was my best attempt in the moment.
A dismal, rainy morning turned into quite a well-lit, mild and sunny afternoon, at least in Manchester. This leafy spot has appeared on the blog before — it is certainly one of central Manchester’s better locations if leaf-fall is your bag, despite being right next to the main arterial road that is the Mancunian Way.
Toompea is the district of Tallinn’s old town elevated up on a hill. Two birds with one stone — the ‘autumn leaves’ shot and also a pleasant district of the pleasant city I currently reside in. In fact this is right next door to the Estonian parliament. Why don’t they feel the need to block it off with fences and roadblocks like they do in London or Washington? I dunno, perhaps because their government aren’t a bunch of assholes? Just a thought.