Friday, November 26, 2021

Balls to Black Friday

The week started with a timely reminder that nature still has some semblance of grip on the seasons.  The temperature plummeted, we had our first significant frost and Autumn's glorious display is hanging by a thread.

On Monday, a large part of my day was taken up with screen time, finishing off a total of six images I have decided to turn into sets of postcards.  I've chosen an eclectic mix and selected a company that appears absolutely dedicated to ensuring that its products are, as far as possible, sustainable and eco friendly.  Finally, when they were press ready, I hit SEND and crossed my fingers and toes that they turn out as I envisage.

As seems typical these days, by Tuesday, I was already overwhelmed by the news.  Our NHS is struggling now in the face of what is being called "a pandemic of the unvaccinated" and with two friends now being directly impacted by the pressures on our health service, I am all out of patience with the anti vax movement.  I switched off, decided to face the gloom head on and took myself off through the garden gate for some self-prescribed nature therapy in the form of an afternoon walk in the wood.

En route to the garden gate, I made a mental note to commence the Autumn clear-up operation and rake up the remaining leaves carpeting the patio and garden.  I have been trying desperately to capture Lotte (who really should have been christened Autumn), camouflaged amongst the russet coloured leaves.  Unfortunately, she either runs away and heads for one of her favourite spots on top of the Rover P6 or snakes around my legs, rendering the possibility of obtaining a decent photograph impossible.  Here's the best I could do to show off her own unique Autumn display.  

Ridgehill Wood as it's now known, is often referred to as "Cally Wood" locally.  I never really questioned why and it wasn't until we bought our house in the late 1990s that we spotted the woodland  referred to as "California" on our deeds.  One theory is that the crop of pines, planted shortly after the first world war echoed the woods of California with their statuesque silhouettes pinned against the ridge's horizon.  This was once my view from the bedroom window.  The pines were cropped 2 years ago now and have been replaced by a mix of broadleaf trees.

Just an hour in the wooded area so familiar to me (as a child I used to call it "the plants") and all is well in the world.  Even though we have exhausted every route around and through the wood, it is still possible to see something new and I strive to capture it differently every time.

For example, the elements and wildlife have taken their toll on some of the trees and I was captivated by these exposed and ghostly branches.

The golden pathways won't last for long, but they give the area an ethereal glow.

The remaining leaves are sparse now, but beautifully highlight the shapes of the trees.

Nature inspires romance.

Don't forget to look up!

In other news, on Wednesday we all had our flu jabs as per the Government's recommendation for our first winter of freedom since Covid struck.  All was fine until I crashed at around 9 pm with overwhelming tiredness.  I stuck it out until 10pm, but slept like a baby - for once.  I felt better, but still quite tired on Thursday.

By Friday morning, I was back to normal, but the day delivered yet more bad news with reports of a concerning new Covid variant.  It's all too reminiscent of early 2020 and the writing's on the wall I fear.  Nature beckons (not that I ever left her).   Black Friday is living up to its name in every sense.

Instead of embracing the planet polluting Black Friday, the Woodland Trust are encouraging us to "Make Black Friday Green" and plant a tree.  We have more than enough trees on our patch, but here's the link if anyone's interested.  Delivery is free.  Even if you're not in the market for one, scrolling through this site is good for the soul.

British Trees For Sale: Buy Trees & Packs - Woodland Trust | Woodland Trust Shop

I also spotted that ethical menswear brand Brothers We Stand have closed their platform for 24 hours with this message.  

Ethical men's clothing | Brothers We Stand

With inclement weather setting in for the next couple of days, I shall focus on sorting out my wardrobe and maybe supplementing it with pre-loved bargains.  Having decided that I needed some new ankle boot wellies for monsoon season (much easier to pull off), I settled upon a pair of Crocs wellies in cherry red I spotted on eBay.  I made an offer, which was accepted and these shiny lovelies are on their way to me.  

My old knee high Hunter wellies have been retained for those occasions when the wood identifies as a swamp (usually by mid January) but given that I almost put my back out getting them on and off, the Crocs boots should be much easier to manhandle, not to mention more stylish.    

I have to admit, that when I started trawling charity shops for second hand bargains in my late teens, it was out of necessity, but I can honestly say now, hand on heart, I find it way more fun than the instant and short lived fix of buying new.  So balls to Black Friday! I'm advocating Second Hand Saturday!


  1. Hello Claire, your gnarly woodland photography is sublime, and that look on hunched, camouflaged Lotte's moggy face- if looks could kill!!! Here here for Second Hand Saturday :) Money or no money, gotta love a charity shop trawl. We have the hatches battened down for the storm tonight. Stay safe, and hope you manage to get out in those fab cherry red wellies once the storm has passed. Lulu xXx

    1. Hi Lulu, She does look particularly evil in that photo. She’s a sweetheart really. I hope the storm has passed for you without too much damage. We’ve lost the felt from our workshop roof and it’s white over! xxx

  2. here´s for second hand saturday too! :-D
    wonderful photos of the magical woods at yours! and lotte is such a cool cat in her camo fur....

    1. Hello, Thank you for leaving a comment and I’m glad you’re a second hand aficionado too! I shall grab a coffee shortly and have a read of your blog now I know where to find you! x

  3. Just like you, I've been somewhat overwhelmed by the news, particularly because the pandemic seems to be a bit out of control here. The news of the new variant is making things even worse. I try to limit my news intake, but it's easier said than done.
    Nature, however, delivers every time. Even just looking at your as ever fantastic photos makes me feel better. How lucky you are to have a magical place like "Cally Wood" just beyond your garden gate! I'm all for Second Hand Saturday, although I did have my weekly chazza fix on Friday. Swooning over those shiny red ankle wellies! xxx

    1. Hi Ann, It is difficult at the moment. Our PM has just held a press conference and said that we will all be required to wear face coverings on public transport and inside shops again (not that I ever stopped wearing mine). No mention of hospitality though. Our scientific advisors are worried that the public might not be so amenable this time. It’s just ridiculous the amount of fuss people make over such a small concession. Anyway, nature is the one constant and yes, I try and tell myself how lucky we are every day. So glad the photos help lift your spirits. Take care. xxx


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