Saturday 15 July 2023

Intermittent Signal

Seven months..........not really "normal service resumed" but we're still here, still trying, still batting on......

Cartworth Moor, above Holmfirth.

The Face Map.

Decades of life left scars,
Faint ribbons of contour lines,
Yours recorded laughter, optimism and love,
Mine more the history of beer, tobacco and deep loss.

Yours the ability to shine, to rise, to glow,
To dance and grow, and flower,
Smiley brown eyed girl,
Revives the hope, and wonder, and love.

Dispels and dismisses the sadness,
Banishing my grief, my wallowing sorrows,
And lifting my heart to the living plane,
Still decades of healing and life, and laughter,
And, that glorious glint in your eyes......

The Flight North

Leaves, broken pieces, salty,
Shards, splinters of hearts and hopes,
Returns, sorrow drive North,
Dead lovers' wasteland, questions.

Not dead, sleeping, smouldering guilt,
Lives collided, as quick divided,
Three hundred miles, inexplicable,
Waves of gravity, spectrums of grief.

Embers flare, refuse extinguishment,
Gordian knots of decisions and hope,
Flame, bringing the cancers,
Unfathomable fire-ring survivors.

But no, 'twas not to be,
Mirage, late night telephone rows,
Thousands of unanswerables, and leaves,
Remembered hypocrisies, and loss.

The clearest hindsight everyone had,
When they wouldn't, or couldn't,
Hear alarmed, veiled misty warning,
Gentle advice from good friends.

Leaves the trinity diverse,
Irreparable, perhaps, as the chapter ends,
Her choices, and change, and his,
And in living fading memory, mine.

Riddle me this, connection,
Completion, inexplicable destruction,
Part healing, dear feeling,
And yet more lessons forgot.

Walked in the Woods

Walked in the woods,
Cool, dry, scented, safe,

Seeking the silence.

Deep into the secret valleys,
Within the greenery, beech and firs,
And rocky lost places,
Deeper silence, places, dreams.

The Fisher King

Undergrowth, where it over-hangs,
The glassy depths, of deepness,
Is your shady realm, the places of secrets.

Azure, faith and turquoise glints,
Secreted vantage points, above your purview,
Boundary places between two worlds,
Lightning flashes tiny flames.

Ridiculous camouflage, so brightly tuned,
Betimes invisible, the fleeting, peeping,
Evasive flight and a leap of hope,
Arises in her heart again......

All the Faces.

I searched all the faces,
Tracked the lines, cracks, eyes,
Smiles, crows-feet, frowns, dimples,
Reading all the histories.

The loves, scars, broken spirits,
Glints of humour, generous, rare,
Road maps of late night adventures,
Midday loss, grief, sad sad mileage.

Dry river-beds of old tears, laughter,
Wordless expressions of a million tales,
Glances of fear, insecurity and more,
Bright, clear eyes of soaring hope.

Smiling eyes dismissing old regret and hurt,
The serene, wise, confident, self-aware,
Safe in their self-knowledge,
But none were either you, nor me.

That didn't hurt too much.

Two written today, and the others were just scribbles in a note-book, though to be honest one might already be on here somewhere a few years ago, I couldn't just find it when I looked though.......

It's a wet and disappointing Saturday in July, so why not update the old Blog? 

Sunday 4 December 2022

Thief on a Cross Next to Yours

 Enigmatic title, just one I've been toying with in countless started, then abandoned mish-mashes of "Creative writing(s)" recently. My mojo comes back, but only for short visits........she doesn't stay long enough to really get me through to the finish line.

Wonder if anyone's used "The Finnish Line" in a Scandinavian poem? Hmm.....

Anyway. It's been dark, gloomy, wet, drizzly, mizzly, foggy, and that makes photography more of a challenge than ever.

Turned my thoughts to "outside your comfort zone" as I was kind of forced to, and invested in a Canon 90D early in September, so the subsequent crappy light has been little short of utterly disappointing. Especially after joining a User group on FB, where international amateurs post their (mostly) best shots, and ask for friendly advice, which is usually forthcoming, and absolutely no sarcasm, or bitchiness, which I am relieved to report, following many sour experiences in some photography, and wildlife groups over the years.....

It got me thinking more about a post I have thought about for ages, so here we go:

What makes a good photo?

Enormous question, and wholly a subjective one, maybe with objective elements......

Light/Weather..... Time of Day etc.
Subject Matter (And knowledge of it if appropriate)
Composition/Eye for "Art" or something along those lines.......
Focus/Selective/Broad and therefore Depth of Field in the interpretation of a scene.
Some basic knowledge of ISO/Aperture/Shutter Speed and how they interact......
Luck/Timing/Preparedness/Dedication/Experience (Maybe a separate heading.....)
Camera, but especially the lenses attached to it...........on a broader level, "Equipment" perhaps.
Post-Production Software, yes, I do have to include this, even with my very limited knowledge of anything beyond LightRoom 5.5, as I refuse to subscribe to a forever commitment to keep throwing more and more money at it all...... For the record I still have a very old version of a now unsupported ArcSoft Program called PhotoStudio, which I very occasionally use for one thing or another, not that often to be fair, but still........

If I think of any more, I may well edit this list, but it's a reasonable place to start. I am only a very keen, and often frustrated amateur after all........This post is for my benefit really, whilst I try to figure it all out.........

There probably ought to be a "Special Mention" for your cataloguing system, the way you can relatively easily find something from way back, when/ if the need arises....... I imagine there are loads of ways of categorising my/your photos, but mine has just self-evolved over the 15+ years since I got my first DSLR, a Canon 400D, which I instantly fell in love with....... 

One very good way of judging your own shots, and those you see on-line, as we're bombarded with awesome, and not-so, constantly, is to filter them through what I like to think of as:

"Yes, but would YOU print it?" 

It soon sorts the "Meh" out from the "Ooooh" but, of course, is utterly subjective, and even your own tastes might change over time, mine certainly have. "Would I like it in a frame, on my wall?" works for me, and rules out pretty much the entire world of fantasy Photo-Shop creations of imaginary scenes that simply couldn't be remotely real, even  if they can look "Wow" when you see them......that's just personal taste though, and I'd love to master PS to have the ability to even try them...... Art is Art after all.

There are hundreds of YouTube videos, from hundreds of Pro, and Amateur Photographers, on countless aspects, some well worth a watch, some a bit "WTF?" and occasionally a proper gem, even if, at times you might, like me, choose to up the speed on the playback to cut through the chit-chat.......What a time-killer!

I think I'll have to try to tackle these in individual posts. I've set myself too big a challenge for a Sunday night......!

"Digley Brook" just below the reservoir itself.......Holmbridge, West Yorkshire, UK

Is an ISO of 256000 ever acceptable? I think it can be......depends on a whole raft of things.......

Hamlet at Cartworth Moor, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire 

"Cook's Study" a hill above Cartworth Moor, Holmfirth.

Cartworth Moor Road. 
Getting a lot of quarry wagons on it for the last couple of years.......

"Lane" a hamlet by Holme Village, on the fringe of the Peak District....

It's not been the easiest few years, but here we are, batting on, and keeping going. I will get pen to paper when I can, and will carry this on too, as it's past of avoidance strategy, as my books are due..... so, anything to get me away from typing hundreds of numbers into a spreadsheet for my accountant....... 

Feel free to comment, not that anyone ever does these days. 

Thursday 1 September 2022

Trying Hard to Wake Up Again

 I ran into Bill Nighy, or at the worst, a very bloody good look alike, even down to the hair and eyes, and mannerisms, on one of my regular local walks as the first main "lock-down" was relaxed. It was a lovely sunny warm Sunday morning. 

I did a "double-take" as I know I'm not 100% reliable on look-alikes, but I was utterly convinced, and still think that it WAS Muriel Gray in the pub in Holmfirth that time..........

I wished him a "Good morning" and he stopped, looked at me, smiled, and said "Hello". 

That was it, and I knew all was ok in the world after all. It just felt a bit seriously shit at the time.

In the mean-time, I am trying to write, and draw, and concentrate on the camera, and my dog.....and well, I'm making a fist of things as usual. Here's my imaginary girlfriend's video from April. Filmed in Kyiv seemingly, must have been before Putin went nuts.

(Aiming for normal service, but bear with.)

Saturday 10 July 2021

Thoughts and Doubts.

Once in a while I'll set myself a little photography challenge, or at least try to get out of my comfort zone, just to see what I can come up with.

This morning, for no particular reason, I opted to only crop square "in camera", and only in monochrome. (Well, when I got home I changed the camera back to "Faithful", hence the one of Nell.) 

These are some of the results, and overall I'm pretty happy with them, and would probably think about getting one or two printed & mounted.

Camera: Canon 760D. 
Lens: EFS 10-18mm IS
Location: Yateholme Woods, near Holmfirth.
10th July '21

I know there are some obvious clichés here, but if you're walking around the forestry, and reservoirs, they're not easy to avoid, and anyway, sometimes there isn't anything wrong with "cliché" it just depends how it's executed really. If 100 people are drawn to the same view/subject/angle then it must have something about it, which doesn't automatically make it "bad" or "cheap" in my opinion.....   

This was entirely a "chance" shot, as I was driving home, and Robert just appeared around a corner. If it had been 5 minutes earlier, or later, then there wouldn't have been any sort of background worth using, and I think the angles of the buildings really bring this one to life, well, as well as the handsome pairing of man & horse of course. But the adage about "always take your camera" fits here too. No camera, no shot. Better to take it and not use it, rather than not take it and wish.

As models go, Nell is very hit and miss! Every time you think you've got a potentially interesting image, the chances of her looking in to the camera are no better than 50:50.........

Don't suppose it really matters, as un-posed, candid shots often carry more of a story, or interest than posed ones.....

Then the times that you accidentally press the shutter.......!

Even though I have no idea who this couple are, I much prefer this picture to the previous one, which is devoid of life. They chit-chatted happily as they caught me up, and never stopped. They seemed so happy with each other, and were hand in hand, which was lovely to see.  

This only sort of worked with the flash. I took another without, and the Foxglove melded into the background. Here the flash lowers the surrounding shadows, while filling in, and highlighting the flowers. I realise it's not really all that, but it did make me look at things a little differently, which was kind of the point of trying different things, and challenging myself.

 I haven't written much for months now, and want to try to get back into it all again. It's what should have been our local Art Festival, and while there are some "fringe" things going on, two or three of which I managed to go and have a look at. If nothing else, it did make me realise that the only barriers to creativity are your own internal blocks. Just put pen to paper, or whatever your medium might be. What could go wrong?

My problem is that it's been such an awful, soul destroying time, since May last year, that anything I have written has just been pretty nihilistic, and dark, mournful, morose, and even if the process of writing might have helped a little cathartically, the end result(s) were just too bleak to keep. 

Having said that, my most creative times have usually been when I've been in a low place, when it's all going swimmingly, its hard to find the inspiration to be all upbeat and jolly, there must be a happy medium somewhere.

So this is one of my rarer posts which don't have any poetry, or creative prose at all, just photos.

Will try harder!

Stay safe out there.

Monday 1 March 2021

I Am Still

 Forgive me if I've posted this already, but a quick check.....and I couldn't find it.......

I've neglected the Blog again, and now I feel I ought to give it more Oxygen.


Leaves, broken pieces, salty,
Shards, splinters of hearts, and hopes,
Returns, sorrows, drive North,
Dead loves wasteland, questions.

Not dead, sleeping, smouldering guilt,
Lives collided as quick divided,
Three hundred miles, or yards, inexplicable,
Waves of gravity, spectrums of grief.

Embers flare, refuse extinguishment,
Gordian knots of decisions and hope,
Flame, bringing the dancers,
Unfathomable fire ring survivors.

But no, turns not to be,
Mirage, late night telephone rings, rows,
Thousands of unanswerables, and tears,
Remembered hypocrisies, and loss.

The clearest hindsight everyone "had"
When they wouldn't, or couldn't....
Hear alarmed, veiled misty warning,
Gentle advice from good friends.

Leaves the Trinity diverse,
Irreparable perhaps, as the chapter ends,
Her choices, and change, and his,
And, in living fading memory, mine.

Riddle me this, connection,
Completion, inexplicable destruction,
Part healing, dear, dear feeling,
And yet, more lessons

Dearth of new writing to post, but I do keep occasionally scribbling thoughts, and short essay type things, which are unlikely to ever see the light of day.......

Wish I could recall everyone who came to my 7th Birthday Party picnic here, but now the one person who might havbe helped has left this world, I'll spare you the bits I can remember...........

Will try harder in the next post, I promise..........

There are some positives after all. Possibly New Beginnings........bit soon to say though.

When did it all get so.........oh, you know.

Happy St David's Day whatever. x

Monday 16 November 2020

Lockdown #2

My Church

Shambling, ambling, doesn't count as stride,
Gloom, holly-bound path, wet, autumn tears,
My dog appears, steaming, panting and bright,

Gone again, mad squirrel pursuit, rain clears.

Enter the oak, sycamore, ash, hazel and birch,
Yellows and browns, reds, dirty greens, bare trees,
Air still, deep, weighty, here is my church,
Stop, stand, inhale my prayer, not on my knees.

Ancient, but ageless, rock-piles, mossy boughs,
Internal settlings, reflections, regret, meditations,
Damp leaf carpet, soft-treading my vows,
Reviewing my promise, in this holy station.

This inner stoic turns, slowly breathing in heaven,

To the east seems a nave, high vaults above,
Glints of holy beams, through branches are woven,
Deeply trailing stoles of ivy, framing this love.

My arboreal cathedral, deliver your peace,
Save this disciple, your communion my dog and I need,
Lichen skinned trunks, deflecting the beast,
Holy broad-leaf sanctum, my soul do you feed.

My prayer, the peace of the deep places,
My woods, my church, lifts weight from my mind,
Escapes with my breathing, the last of our races,
Answered or not, ambling, shambling, my dog walks behind.


Foundation, roots, sanctuary,
Emerging from oppressive valley deep,
to the sunny uplands, shocked,
Rocked by a page in your own history,

Unexpected, unwelcome, and random.

Gone are central certainties, securities,
Too late for apologies, for hugs,
For shared ice-cream moments,
Sunny gardens, terminal memory,
Blue lights, and oxygen deficits.

Echoes of rocked foundations, linger,
A week, a month, tidally random,
Unsaid, untold stories, histories,
Sense of sanctuary remains, altered,
Sunny sometimes, heavy dampness, inundate.

Strive for the higher ground, clear,
Sunlit, breezy, clarity of thought,
Helps not, allowing the cloudy grief,
Tidal waves, cliff side, unwary,
Unwanted, but unstoppable, coin obverse.

An emotionally, forced, adulthood,
From deep valley drifting years, granted,
Clouds revealing golden shafts of love,
Then dark, threatening, glowering drizzle,
Mist, thought-fogs, dark slides into hell.

Small steps around cliff bases,
Overwhelming tasks, much too big “asks”,
No ladders, no lifts, just silent pitons,
Small uphill steps, some clarity,
And threatening, and reality avalanches.

Even when you stumble on a sheep trod,
A route to higher space, clarity,
Storm clouds gather, black dogs bay,
Rooks and ravens, circling your dreams,
Hide some of the dry spells, the cold air.

Searching for joy, free thinking, unbridled,
Impossible cliffs, unreachable uplands,
Brought to earth, and kept by your heart,
A hood, a falconers burqa, rufter,
Keeping me from seeing my way out.

A bloody double rainbow, after hellish,
Tiring nightmarish, and sleepless wallowings,
The prayer to a god you don't know,
His/her answer, and a pre-dawn walk,
Pilgrimage to grief, loss, and deep love.

Months after brain categorised healing,
Perhaps editing, portraying, remembering,
Changes, but can't stop odd waves,
Or avalanches, or dark moment tears,
But strangely can also carry love and smiles.

Did my eulogy, this isn't it,
It's my catharsis, attempt at, is all,
Rationalising the already rational,
Squaring the circle, or vice versa,
Tyring to get it together, and acceptance.

Can't rail against the clock, the diary,
The night, loss, circles, nature,
Nor the unsaid, over-sights,
Taking a lovely sanctuary for granted,
Before personal earthquake armageddon.

I haven't written about my grief, not directly, but one of these clearly isn't even meant as a poem, as such, but it does relate to the avalanches of sadness, and unbridled grieving moments that occasionally threaten to overwhelm me.

The clock is one from St David's church, near where I live, and the time portrayed is AM, not PM.

At present, that is pretty much all I think I'm ready to say about it.

Lockdown #1 started off in a surprisingly wonderful and surreal way, empty roads, empty hills, peace, unseasonably warm and sunny weather, and good grief, the outstanding thing was the birdsong, not that we're ever really short of it hereabouts, but it was just out of this world.

Lockdown eventually palled though, and then the world tilted on it's axis, and my life will never be the same again.

Lockdown #2 is just a mish-mash of seeing your neighbours ignore the rules, and people start to lose their patience with one another. It's like they're reverting to type for some sad reason. The hills are fuller than ever, and the roads are only marginally less busy than pre-Covid-19.

I have turned back to trying to write, to improve my photography, difficult though that is seeing as how it's raining or misty all the time, more or less, and the days are so short now that evening walks can't really involve a camera much anyway.

Loss upon loss, my entire photography archive: gone, poetry? Gone, and countless other creative projects, my business accounts for the last 20 years......all gone. Don't rely on a single external hard-drive for "back-up" use two..... lesson badly sadly learned........

Life as we knew it, gone, but that's nothing to do with the computer.

2020? Can I have my money back please?