Out like a lion…

On the last day of March the temperature drops 10 degrees and the next day the snow arrives on a cold north wind. March goes out like a lion. At the start of March, the weather is not lambish at all. The skies are a constant stone grey and the sun entirely absent. The trees…

Le Quié

Some mountain’s in the Pyrenees comprised of sheer, smoothed limestone are stunning; my local one is known as Le Quié de Lujat or Quié de Sinsat or more simply Le Quié. The best view is from the winding road up to the Plateau de Beille on the opposite side of the Ariège valley, especially when the sun comes out…

Étang de Lers

The road from the small town of Massat winds up a narrow, wooded valley to the Étang de Lers; the onward route to Val-de-Sos and Tarascon over the Port de Lers is closed and so is the lakeside restaurant. The Étang itself is still frozen over and the snows have only just left the hills…

Le château de Montségur

19th March 2022 marks 60 years after the signing of the Evian accords that brought to an end the Algerian war of independence. At 11o’clock, in a small village on the way to the château de Montségur, a service of remembrance is taking place; lines of white-haired men and women stand in silence around the…

Spring in the Ariège

I have a few months to watch Spring unfold in the high mountains, the wooded hills and high pastures of the Ariège around Ax-les-Thermes in the heart of the Pyrenees. The land is wild and the few roads follow the narrow, river valleys. The Château de Lordat is perched on a small hill and is one…

February

The cherry plum is in full blossom and at its best; the first shots of Spring have been fired and the dull winter colours of the hedgerows and narrow lanes are lit by the otherwise inconspicuous, small trees. So far, February has been warm and mild unlike last year when ice and snow covered the…

Salt Fleet Flats Reserve

The compensation provided by the construction of a huge container handling facility on the northern edge of the Thames Estuary included a new inlet of inter-tidal mudflats just across the river on the edge of Cooling Marshes. Salt Fleet Flats Reserve as it is called was created by building a new sea wall inland of…

Καλά Χριστούγεννα

Happy Christmas! A large handful of colourful postcards from the Mani Peninsula taken in Spring 2019, bringing back a kaleidoscope of memories from one of the loveliest places on the planet.

The fox and the field vole

The fox appears in front of the kitchen window; he is in perfect condition with a thick winter coat. Immediately, he steps into the abandoned ground of grasses and nettles that one day may be a back garden. He seems to know it is the right place to hunt and is entirely alert and focussed….

Shellness again…

The tide is forecast high again at 1:30pm and at 10:00am the waters are well up with just a fringe of mud and bays half-filled. The wind is from the north and the blockhouse provides shelter and a view of the shore. The oystercatchers are already neatly regimented on the ness and Brent geese slowly…

The unstoppable sea

On Saturday, the day is warm with a southerly breeze and the oystercatchers gather on their familiar stretch of shoreline at the far end of the ness of shells that gives the place its name. Another spit near the blockhouse is filled with a tight knit flock of grey plover, dunlin and knot. On the…

Sunset on the North Downs

We had a great sunset here here on the North Downs the other evening. The clouds appeared to have been whisked…