There is a street in my local town that is lined from end to end with the most beautiful cherry tree’s. I didnt have long to shoot but here are just a couple of images…..
I just love this atmospheric derelict old building alongside the canal with it’s shattered fascade, the lifting platform where goods were once hoisted from the barges below as the smoke rose from the engines through the open windows to be breathed in by the workers with blackened faces. Workers who sweated and toiled from dawn until dusk and beyond. Stand for a moment and you may imagine the scene, smell the industry and remember the workers, the people who made this country great, a bygone era of industry and development sadly lost, the people gone, the skills gone too along with the pride in being a working man…… as the buildings melt towards the earth from where they once rose.
I just had to capture these two cheeky fellas whilst I was out and about in my local park. They began by charging past me at speed as I was walking through the woodland section and they really were on a mission, disappearing in and out of the trees, undergrowth flying around as they scampered through the grass. Just as I focused my camera on them they vanished from sight, but reappeared travelling vertically towards the canopy, one on one side and one on the other! A high speed game of chase, equally matched in pace and each outwitting the other! Hilarious!
Last year I visited Burghley Horse Trials, a three day event covering dressage, cross country and show jumping. Horse and rider are expected to compete in all three disciplines over the three days, a pretty gruelling challenge by any standards and the Burghley cross country course is renowned for being on of the toughest alongside Badminton horse trials. Set in the stunning grounds of Burghley House in Stamfod Lincolnshire we visited on the day of the cross country competition, 33 fences ranging from the sublime to the scary, the course is timed to be completed in just under 12 minutes……that’s all? I hear you say, but riders must judge the fitness of their horse (and themselves) and pace themselves accordingly to avoid tiredness and a fall. Towards the end of the course lies an avenue of trees named as Winners Avenue, with fence 22 ahead of you, here the horse and rider can gauge just what is left in the tank as they negociate the fence, check the watch and allow the horse to gallop on towards the finish. It was at this fence that I took a photograph that is now the May edition of Central Horse news cover shot! Never in a million years did I ever think that one of my photos would grace the cover of a magazine! But there it is, the rider Joy Dawes smiling and enjoying every second of her ride, her horse Finnisterre hooves mid air light as a feather, riding for their lives towards the finish and the celebration of completing the infamous course safely! Thank you to Central Horse News for choosing my image!
For the last few days I have noticed a beautiful blossom tree at the top of the road where I live, its bows arched regally towards the ground laden with the softest of pink blossom flowers. So, yesterday I decided to wander up, camera in hand and take a closer look, most of the blossom trees around here have already lost their flowers and are now all leaves but this one is simply beautiful. Its unusual because there are no individual clusters of blossoms that you would usually associate with this type of tree, but each and every bow is covered from end to end, which gives the appearance of fireworks trailing across the night sky and blossom is not a deep cherry pink, it is the palest pastel pink you could imagine which against the light appears white, almost translucent, with a heart of deepest crimson. Shooting upwards towards the sun gave me the best angle at which to show the blossom in all its beauty, the sun just giving the softest of highlights, like a ballerina in the spotlight.
Even horses need hugs…after a difficult dressage test this horse seems to be enjoying his hug! Dressage is a real test of control for both the horse and rider and although it seems to look effortless and easy there is a tremendous amount of work going into the combination to ensure success. In fact if you watch a dressage rider and their horse and it looks effortless then they have succeeded! It is a display of all the paces a horse needs to master including walk, trot and canter although these are just the basic paces most people associate with riding and there are many more difficult movements that the horse is required to perform including extended trot and counter canter. The rider should always remain almost static with very little movement coming from the body arms or legs, as if the horse needs no instruction and is performing the test from memory, something which the riders sometimes suffer with – memory loss half way through the test! But this combo performed to perfection, smooth flowing and rhythmical, in tandem, perfectly together, a well deserved celebratory hug!
The sun has finally made its appearance! So in honour of this rare occurance I donned my gardening gloves and ventured into the shed, located my somewhat spiderweb encrusted trowel and rake and headed into the unknown….after several minutes acclimatising to the rather strange sensation of sunshine on skin I remembered just what hard work gardening is! But it is another of my absolute passions, getting you hands dirty and breaking nails all totally worth it to see those new shoots appearing from beneath the soil, gardening is in our blood and was something my Grandfather and Grandmother all taught me about from a very young age. One particular plant is absolutely stunning at the moment, a brilliant yellow Forsythia, all sticks and shoots until 3 days ago when it burst into the most glorious of yellow flowers from top to toe! Instant Summer! The house I live in does not have the best garden, mainly due to the poor quality soil which would suit clay pottery studies better, but having toiled over it several times I now have a border that is ready to accept the first seeds of the season. Hopefully comes Summer the border will be a riot of wild flowers, playing host to bees and insects, butterflies and bugs….my neighbours even kindly donated some rooted cuttings from a fabulous climbing plant that I have admired several times, so hopefully in a few months I will be sharing some of my efforts on here! Green fingers crossed!!
The older I become the more my own mortality plays on my mind. Silly some may say as I am still relatively young, but it is something that creeps into my thoughts more and more, triggered by some song on the radio, or by the sight of another season passing you by. Someone once said ‘Youth is wasted on the Young’, maybe, for sure I couldn’t wait to be an adult and live my life my way when I was a teenager. But now I see things so differently, almost as if I’m losing my grip on the life I so wanted and yet still eludes me, all the things you set out to achieve suddenly seem so far away that you wonder if you will ever achieve them. It’s my Mum’s birthday tomorrow, I wont give away her age as she would be most upset, but every year that we celebrate becomes a reminder that my beloved parents wont always be there, a sobering thought, for something so constant, so reliable and predictable will one day be lost forever. But that is where my thoughts turn to a new way of thinking, Ive never been one for practising religion but I believe in something more than just this life, that one day I will be reunited with all the loved ones that I have lost, somehow that thought makes the anguish subside just a little. At some point in our lives we all have to let go, whether that is letting go of a past that haunts you, a deed that you regret or words that were said in the heat of a moment, or the loss of a loved one or a pet that loved you so unconditionally in return, we all hold on for as long as is humanly possible, until the time comes for letting go……….
Some may call it a ruin other may disagree, for Holyrood Abbey still stands proud all be it a shell of its former glory. Founded in 1128 by King David 1st and was the home of the Canons who came from St.Andrews, it has survived attack by the English under Edward II and was burnt by Richard II in 1305 before being restored. In the 16th century Holyrood Palace was added by James IV but only a single tower remains of this addition and the palace that you see today was built by Charles II in 1670. In 1547 most of the main buildings, including the choir, lady chapel, and transepts of the church were destroyed by the commissioners of the English Protector Somerset, and 20 years later followers of John Knox destroyed the interior of the church in a Protestant frenzied attack. On July 22, 1565, the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots married her cousin Lord Darnley in the Holyrood Abbey church, and just a year later her Italian secretary and suspected lover, David Rizzio, was murdered by her jealous husband and friends in the stairwell of the palace royal apartments. A plaque – and a bloodstain still visible on the floor – marks the spot where Rizzio died. For all its history it is still a place of inspiration, the workmanship of those who laboured to create it still evident and an atmosphere still hangs around its ruined stones, thought provoking and haunted yet calming and welcoming to those who find themselves stood at its heart.