Archives for the month of: January, 2013

Thursday was clear and snow crystalised like winter in the south. The Tarrens blushed rose as we walked down the long and stony track from Giles and Helen’s, full of good coffee and feeling continental among the cowboy hills. By late afternoon I was brambling under a powder dusk moon, hoiking them out of the ditch, untangling them from hazel whips and wild roses and blackthorn. I’ve made a big scratchy heap for burning, and the water runs clear in the culvert.

SaltingsFriday, snow still graced the hills. At RSPB Ynys-hir the sky stretched pale and white over the Dyfi. The wetland was semi frozen like Siberian perma frost, ice crisp then yielding underfoot to squishmud. The birds were not afraid of my scarlet snow trousers. A pair of tree creepers weebled up the oaks, reed buntings accompanied me along the sedge, and a goldcrest a-blur in the brambles, was unperturbed.

In Saltings hide you can look out across the estuary, or inland over the marsh. It is built from strong wood and has a subtle scent of something old and secret, like a Japanese temple. From here I saw an egret fly, white as the hills behind it.


When we woke there was no muffled light, and the branches I saw sadly bare. But they were the ones by the stream and always wetly green – the rest of the valley was white and snow was swirling thick and wonderful.

snowBy the tap, the blackthorn twigs and old bracken fringe is an intricate theatre. A flash of colours floods backstage, I’m eyeballed by a blue tit and then my container is full.

In the woods long tailed tits dot and flit through music score branches, and epiphyte fronds are packaged in white.

We walk into town for chocolate and garlic and wine and the sky is a dusty wool blanket.  Bedraggle sheep I thought white are now brown in the fields. There is no-one about and the sky behind us grows filthy but at last at the bridge we see distant figures flying down a hill.

The river looks grey and worried and the trees are hung in strange and lovely icicles like wall-paper paste, or apple sauce.

I can see why Rob’s Mum felt claustrophobic in Wales, the Lincolnshire sky dominates the landscape. The Lincolnshire sky is the landscape.

HumberWhen we arrive it is the inside colour of a creme egg, sailing broad across the beet field. I could watch it for hours from the arm chair if it wasn’t for all the home baked distractions. When I look again it is sadder and silver.

One day I will wander round the steelworks and see the sky through the towers and wires but for now we’re caught up in Christmas and the blast chimneys remain an enticing promise on the horizon – at the edge of the sky they billow cumulus colums of steam, solid as stone angels.

When we get back from the football it is dark, there is apple pie to eat, and an owl is disturbed. It wings out low and silent over the waterlogged beets, it’s underwings a handkerchief in the dark.