Posted by Tania Kindersley.
There is a strange aspect to living in a calm, peaceful part of the country while the world goes crazy. I am surrounded by hills and trees and grass. Each day, I take the dogs out and gaze at the moss and the lichen and the new buds starting on the bare branches, with their promise of spring. I think vaguely of the new planting I would like to do, and try to remember that I must order some compost. I make coffee and think about the book. Then I write some of the book. (911 words today, to be precise.) Outside, everything is still and unchanging. I am conscious of the thread of history than runs through the trees. Some of the yews in the old walled garden would have been planted when Charles II was a boy.
Then, through the miracle of the internets, bringing the world to my distant door, I can see all the news. I check the papers and the blogs and have a look at Twitter. There is a cyclone heading for Queensland, as if they had not had enough natural disaster. Young men are setting themselves on fire in Algeria. A day of rage is being planned in Damascus. The ruler of Yemen has bowed to street protest and declared he will step down in 2013. In Jordan, an oddly under-reported street protest has been going on for three weeks, leading to the king dismissing the prime minister and his entire cabinet.
Meanwhile, the older niece and I laugh a lot as we watch our dogs take the first swim of the season in the burn.
I'm not making any particular sort of point with this. It's just an oddity of life. Turmoil out there; water dogs here. Although, along with my intense appreciation of electricity, and opposable thumbs, and central heating, and my ability to type, it does remind me not to take one single thing for granted.
Now for the pictures. It was a bit of a gloomy brown old day today. The lighting director was having a day off. So I had to stare hard for the beauty. I appear to have found it mostly in tree trunks.
The most majestic of the Wellingtonias, which is, as you can probably tell, a grande dame of the Edwardian era:
A knobbly old lime:
Not sure what this one is, but I love its great elephant foot, with the dogwood and beech hedge in the background:
A pair of elegant beeches:
A mixed stand:
I sometimes think that wood is the most miraculous material the natural world ever produced. Here are two very different close-ups of its wonders:
Even though it was a drack old day, there was still some singing colour in the views:
Closer up, the colours were more magical still. There was the pale gloriousness of delicate branches with lichen:
And the defiant amber of the little beech:
Down by the burn, the dogwood was gaudy and unrepentant:
Off went the dogs:
Many things to sniff:
Pigeon taking guard behind a tree:
Duchess nobly gazing from the rise:
Having a small rest:
Older niece's dog in the burn. That expression on her face is her 'please please please throw me a stick' look:
I am very, very serious, so do not think about messing with me:
I would also be serious, except for the fact that I have a stray piece of straw hanging out of my mouth:
And today's hill, alone and palely loitering: