Sunday, January 29, 2023

A Mist Makes Things Wonderful

It's not been a particularly inspiring few week weather wise.  I like winter, but even I have struggled to muster any enthusiasm about the relentless damp, cold and flat white skies that have greeted me most mornings recently.  So imagine my excitement when the mist descended!  This blog title is a quote from Oscar Wilde and I couldn't agree more.

I like drama in my weather.  For example, I can cope with a little wind and rain (coming home is even more welcoming after getting rained on).  I love the blinding light and beauty of a covering of virgin snow or glittering hoar frost on the landscape.  Incidentally, check out this little video taken in between blogs after one such frost.  I've never experienced a thaw like it - shards of ice falling from the trees.

As for mist, it's really what many people associate with the UK - a patchwork quilt of a miniaturised landscape covered by a blanket of visibility compromising moisture.  It exemplifies our reliably unreliable climate and adds mystery and intrigue worthy of a tale from Arthur Conan Doyle.

I'll go with the mystery theme for reasons which will become apparent.  We headed out into the mist for a 5 mile walk through an ever changing landscape, starting with a cluster of silver birch trees.  I was later thrilled that this image was selected and featured on the Instagram account Capturing Britain.

We were joined for some of the route by a very vocal Robin.  I thought he was being friendly, but knowing how territorial they can be, I suspect he was warning us to keep moving.

The gnarled branches of the naked trees contrasted beautifully with the mist pervading the atmosphere.

Further along we encountered a crop of the tallest pine trees, criss-crossed by mountain bike tracks.  Here I insisted Gareth pose.  He's still at the breaking in stage with his DMs, hence the loosened laces.

We climbed 121 steps...

....and arrived on top of a hill, spotting this rather intriguing house in the distance...

....before picking up our original route and descending a densely wooded hillside.  It was here that we encountered this once inhabited building carved into the sandstone.  It's clear that work is ongoing to make it safe for visitors.

Feeling emboldened by this, we continued.  No one knows when these caves were first inhabited, but they remained so until the 1950s when the properties were condemned by the local authority and the occupiers forced to leave.

The area just beyond looked very Hobbiton, apart from the sandstone carvings...

...and graffiti.  

We're the more respectful rule breakers.  Clearly this place is an open secret locally.  Hopefully one day it will be open to the public and afforded the protection it deserves.

Back at home, the hyacinths have flowered and the fragrance is off the charts.

I wonder if Marg smells the same?

I've made a few acquisitions, some old, some new (more on those soon).  When buying new I always focus on quality, durability and timelessness, not wishing to contribute to the ever increasing clothes mountain.  Having called into a local supermarket the other day, I was horrified at the amount of clothing on sale.  Even worse, the ridiculously crammed sale rails - even as we near the end of January.  Aren't manufacturers getting the message?  They are clearly over-producing.  There can't possibly be the demand to justify this level of production.  It's obscene. 

My "old" is probably not so old, but a black and white jacket I know I will wear and wear again.  Here, in my usual hurried selfie, I've teamed it with some black cord dungarees (old) over a black and white spotted thermal polo neck (second hand), a vintage tribal necklace and recycled cashmere gloves.  Slippers just out of shot.  Note to self:  I must really work on my outfit photos.

This weekend was the UK's Big Garden Birdwatch.  I layered up and headed out into the garden with a de-caf coffee, the camera and a notebook, for an hour's solitude.  The temperature was around 5 degrees, but the damp conditions made it feel a good deal colder.  I did smile to myself when I wondered what my 18 year old self would have thought of this decision.  She probably wouldn't have been up and available for comment.

Last year the conditions were pretty similar, but I saw very little bird activity.  This year, the garden was alive with birdsong, principally from the resident Robins.  

I also counted more birds this time, including a brief sighting of a Song Thrush and an even briefer glimpse of a bird I've been unable to identify as a result.

Blue Tit


House Sparrow

Male Blackbird

The remainder of my week has been dominated by a little mother/daughter trip booking, mood boards, phone calls, admin and light reflectors!  The styles for my forthcoming photo shoots are quite different from each other.  The first is very romantic and Nordic in style.  For the second, David Bowie is my muse.

In an effort to inspire and spur myself on, I'll leave you with the latter; this image and quote, firmly and metaphorically pinned to my mood board.

I'm off to watch the remainder of the truly brilliant but bizarre Everything, Everywhere, All at Once (currently free with Amazon Prime) and the penultimate episode of the gripping Happy Valley.  Until next time!


  1. you should move to our little mountains - last week many roads were blocked because of tons of falling ice and collapsing trees..... now we are in the mid of a 2 day rainstorm... *we are never being bored*
    and we have mist, spooky forests and lots of bizarre sandstone rocks too :-D
    love your photos of the misty woods!! <3
    gareth standing at the tree looks like he´s plotting a robbery ;-D
    your black´n white jacket is fab - and gorgeous shots of the cute little birds in your garden. wishing you success with your projects - will we see some pictures here?

    1. A two day rainstorm? I expect you have high winds to go along with it too.
      Glad you liked the misty woodland photos...and I agree, Gareth has the look of a master criminal in that shot. In reality, he was probably thinking about what to cook for dinner! ;-D
      It was lovely to hear birdsong. Spring is definitely on its way. I will of course share some photos on here when the time comes.
      Stay warm and dry! xxx

  2. Hello gorgeous! Loving the outfit and your hair's still looking fabulous.
    I'm glad you enjoyed Everything, Everywhere, All at Once - I don't think I've ever seen a film like it - or ever will. It was even trippier in the cinema.
    Your video was amazing, other-wordly in fact. Your photos are beautiful even if I'm not at all a fan of Winter. Gareth's very brave walking in his new Docs. I bought Jon a pair for his 50th and 6 years later he think's he's almost broken them in!
    Your bird photos are fantastic. The last few years we've done it, not one turned up for Bird Watch, I swear they do it to spite me. xxx

    1. Hello you! Thank you. It went mega curly when I first washed and plaited it when damp (even with serum), but it dropped nicely the next day into a more relaxed curl, so with trial and error, hopefully I can maintain it.
      Believe it or not, those Docs aren't new, but like John, Gareth's still trying to break them in.
      Last year's Bird Watch was pitiful. I think I saw a solitary pigeon, but this year, even though it was really cold again, the garden was alive with bird song. It must be a sign of good things to come! xxx

  3. I too wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Wilde!
    Your misty photos are fantastic, and well done on getting that photo featured on Capturing Britain. Imagine coming across that cave dwelling and the Hobbiton area beyond, which look truly magical, even with the carvings and graffiti.
    Your black and white jacket was a fantastic find, and I too have been horrified at the crammed sale rails.
    You've got quite a variety of birds in your garden. We have only spotted blue tits, a robin and a pair of blackbirds in ours. I guess next door's renovation works and the loss of quite a lot of the ivy has put them off. xxx

    1. Thanks Ann.
      The birds will come back I'm sure, but given you have a courtyard garden, that's a pretty good turnout. I love to hear blackbirds singing. xxx

  4. A very apt quote! I love the fog and mist - we get quite a lot of it here on the west coast of Canada (we have a similar climate) and I adore when it's so thick you can hardly see.

    Ack, the breaking-in period for Docs is not fun.

    1. Me too! It makes me want to put on a cloak and hail a horse drawn carriage! :-D xxx

  5. Wonderful photos Claire. Apologies, I honestly don't know where I've been for the past month :0 Funny, hyacinths do have a Marge like form. Lovely birdies. It feels good to get up early with a decaf cuppa for some bird watching. My younger self would be staggering home at that time & be utterly horrified!!! :) xXx

    1. No worries Lulu. Blogger is a beast to keep up with!
      I think we'd all have interesting meetings with our younger selves if face to face now. xxx


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