Spring may very nearly have sprung, but the grass certainly hasn’t riz – not in our garden and fields anyway. I thought the couple of recent hard winters were difficult enough. It’s not that I don’t like the snow, but it makes life almost impossible – trying to look after the animals AND driving in to work during near blizzard conditions. I don’t think I’ve seen more than three frosty mornings this year and those were borderline. Soft frost that doesn’t crunch underfoot and that disappears at the first glimpse of a sunbeam. Now I wish I had taken the time to photograph all that beautiful hoar-frost from a couple of years ago.

Meteorological spring is only four days away and I think the whole country is waiting to welcome it in. We got off very lightly and for that I will be forever grateful, but it’s been hard watching so many suffering through months of floods and storms. The small river that runs between us and our neighbour burst its banks on several occasions and my poor husband has been kept busy pumping out our flooded cellar. The animals have done pretty well considering, although there is a broken panel on the roof of the chicken run that needs replacing when conditions are better. They had new tarpaulins the other weekend too, as the old ones finally managed to break free and were threatening to take off and fly up to Scotland.

As I sit here typing this afternoon, I can see blue sky and fluffy white clouds drifting gently past. All feels well with the world. It reminds me of a similar afternoon I spent a few years ago at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum. It had been a busy time at work and I promised myself that once the pressure was off I was going to treat myself to a day out with the camera. That day arrived with wall to wall blue sky and sunshine. Not exactly my idea of perfect conditions, but it felt good to be heading off for a little adventure on my own. (This was my non-working day, so my husband was stuck in the office).

It’s a fair drive and not easy to find, so I didn’t arrive until much later than planned. Nothing new there then! As if I was trying to make up for lost time, I paid my entrance fee and threw myself headlong down the grassy slope to the first collection of houses. It may have been the strong light, but I didn’t see anything to inspire me and I moved on to the next house. And the next. Before I realised, a couple of hours had passed, I hadn’t stopped for anything to eat or drink and more to the point, I hadn’t taken a single picture. I felt like a fraud.

I grabbed a sandwich and fruit juice and sat outside where I rang my husband. He’s used to me in frustrated artist mode and he told me to enjoy my lunch and try again. The second time round, rather than being my enemy by creating lots of strong contrast, the sun became my friend and I started taking photographs of the shadows. The two images below are examples of this, while the featured image at the top was taken through the kitchen window of a little 19th century cottage.

Bayleaf – a timber-framed hall-house dating mainly from the early 15th century.


The Smithy – built in the mid 19th century.


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