December in Old England

December in old England has been mild and easy, the quiet before the storm?  I am still playing golf, walking with the camera and, very occasionally, venturing out on two wheels. At heart, I am a fair-weather rider and there are plenty of reasons to keep the machines safe in the garage – ice on the roads, salt that creeps and corrodes and, not least, the wind chill factor when riding at 70mph into the face of a cold northeasterly.

Nevertheless the desire to be out eventually over-rides common sense and off I go – only ninety miles this month, better than nothing.  These are some images from the month to date, including yet another timelapse sunrise across the fields.  Northumberland has finally lost its autumnal glow:

On high ground ... Jacob sheep ... The Allenheads Road ...Across the Tyne Valley ...Across the Tyne Valley ...Monster Dark ...Monster Dark ...Monster Dark ...

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Dismal Day

After a relatively long dry spell, the weather in the northeast turned this morning.  Even the sheep have taken to sheltering under the trees.  There maybe something else going on though. Having lived in the same place for nearly twenty years and observed the habits of our nearest neighbours, it is surprising how the different generations do exactly the same things, year after year; just like sheep I suppose.  For instance, lambs and ewes alike will bury their heads in the folds of a tree trunk for minutes at a time – it only recently occurred to me that they are probably nibbling at the bark, not sulking.  Something to fill the hours on a rainy day:

Barking mad

(click on the image to enlarge)

Cruel sport

For years they have ignored me, now they want to be friends.  It started as an innocent discovery – I was walking to the end of our driveway to put rubbish in the bin.  It was carried in a stiff plastic bag which crackles in the wind and this sound must share the same properties as the bags used by the local farmer to carry their feed. This sudden friendship feels a little sinister, like something from the mind of Guillermo del Toro (his Pan’s Labyrinth period)  – click on the image to get the full cinematic effect:

Sheep selfieI can now summon them from across the field at will but of course it all ends in disappointment – it is a cruel sport:

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in The Life

A day in the life – I guess it should be “my life” but I enjoy the oblique reference to Lennon & McCartney:

Woke up, fell out of bed 
Dragged a comb across my head 
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup 
And looking up, I noticed I was late 

Saturday 30th March 2013, the clocks change tonight in the UK and the light begins its return to the evening skies.  I hasten to add this is not a typical day, indeed these last few weeks it has been very untypical, there being more chance of snowboarding than playing golf. First thing this morning it looked like more of the same as our new neighbours looked distinctly uncomfortable in a north easterly blizzard. Nevertheless, as the morning progressed the weather eased and by 11:30 conditions were relatively benign.  The day starts from warming up the car, heading along the Military Road to Matfen Golf Club, completing a very enjoyable round, mostly in the sun, and then heading home to once again sit in front of a PC screen – I omitted a photo of the latter, it being sort of self-evident from this post.

All the photos were taken on a Samsung SII smartphone and then given the Instagram treatment:

More neighbours

The temperature dipped well below freezing again last night so I thought it time to pay tribute to our immediate neighbours who suffer the rigours of a Tyne Valley winter without complaint.

The truth is I have acquired a new prime lens and I was keen to try it out – not that I travelled far for my ‘art’ exactly, these were taken from our drive immediately after breakfast.  I didn’t stay out long.

The neighbours

The neighboursThe verdict: very pleased, the problem is that once converted to jpeg, the resolution dropped to 72dpi and then compressed by the wordpress gallery process, the obvious improvement over my previous lens has disappeared.

(Thanks Patrick – father follows advice of eldest son and isn’t disappointed!)