If like me you live in the country, the world does look blue and green. To fulfil Tina’s Lens-Artist Challenge, looking at the cool palette of blue and green, today I’ve rarely looked further than a few miles round our house. All I’m doing today is presenting a gallery of quiet images from the natural world. Most are from the gardens of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, and from the Yorkshire Dales. I’ve ventured to the North Sea, and to the Aquarium of the Horniman Museum. That’s about it. I think I qualify for Debbie’s Six Word Saturday too.
This is what I saw as I was walked through West Tanfield, the day before Earth Day.
Drawn to this bright and cheery vardo, a traditional Romani caravan, I stopped to chat. No, they weren’t going to Appleby Horse Fair. It’s been postponed. Instead, one man, one woman and their horse were spending the next months travelling simply, exploring as the mood took them, always one of them walking, leading their horse as the other rode in the wagon. They’d travelled fewer than fifteen miles that day, on side roads and country lanes. The slogan on the back had attracted anger and rebellion from many passers by. But others, like me, had liked the clear distinct message.
I was one of those ignorant types who thought ‘gull’ and ‘seagull’ were interchangeable terms. In fact ‘seagull’ is a fairly meaningless word, though often used to describe herring gulls. But not, definitely not black headed gulls. These birds we so commonly see round here, some fifty miles from the sea, are quite at home here in the fields. They’re sociable: they’re quarrelsome: they’re noisy. And they’re happiest snatching a meal when tractors are out and about, sowing seeds or harvesting and generally making free food available. As you can see. These scenes are from exactly this time last year, from a farmer’s field just up the road.
I thought a ditty, a bit of doggerel was called for, helped along by memories of a Harvest Festival hymn.
They plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land. Black-headed gulls will follow - rapacious thieving band! ‘All good gifts around us come from the farmers’ fields We’ll scoff the lot, not care a jot and decimate your yields.’ We’ve had some snow in winter. The gulls have had it rough. Now seeds and rain and sunshine mean life’s no longer tough. ‘All good gifts around us come from the farmers’ fields. We’ll scoff the lot, not care a jot and decimate your yields.’ Six Word Saturday
With apologies to John Masefield, here’s my take on missing the Yorkshire Dales, just as he missed the swelling seas in Sea Fever. If I’m not allowed to go walking there at the moment, a few pictorial memories will have to do
I must go up to the Dales again, to the lonely hills and sky.
And all I ask is a packed lunch, and a map to steer me by:
and drystone walls and the wind’s song and the curlews shrieking
and a soft mist on the moor’s face, and the grey dawn breaking.
I must go up to the Dales again, for the rippling of the brook
is a glad sound and a clear sound I cannot overlook.
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds fleeting,
and the springy turf and a distant view and the young lambs bleating.
I must go up to the Dales again, to the vagrant hiker’s life:
to the hare’s way and the kite’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
and quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long day’s over.
So many of our favourite springtime flowers have cheerful sunny faces., beginning in January with aconites, then going via celandines, daffodils, marsh marigolds, primroses, dandelions and cowslips to glorious meadows of buttercups in June. Here are just a few of them.
I can’t end the post though, without reminding myself of the crowds, the hosts of daffodils in the woodland slopes of the Pyrenees, nearby to where we lived in France. The French don’t have the same love affair with the daffodil that we have here in England, but this was a spectacle I’ve never seen bettered anywhere.