This photo was taken in the same location as the Man on a Bike posted on 5 March. Again the point of interest is a solitary figure in a vast open space. In this case the man is an angler who seems to have finished for the day. Whether or not he has caught any fish probably matters very little. No doubt he feels refreshed by the smell of sea air, the soothing rhythm of the waves, and the temporary escape from the presence of others and the demands of everyday life.
Monthly Archives: March 2013
As the snow retreated from the sheep field next to my garden, the birds quickly returned to forage for food.
The starlings came in great numbers – scores at a time
– and pecked away voraciously.
The fieldfares withdrew from the melee of such greedy guzzling.
The redwing felt left out.
The thrush looked on with disdain.
The lone blackbird peered from a safe distance, beyond the fence.
The colourful goldfinch found his own quiet patch on the farm track, seemingly oblivious to the goings on.
Winter is often portrayed in pictures displaying mid-distance or panoramic features – fields, trees, buildings coated in snow. But as I looked out through the kitchen window yesterday morning, my attention was drawn to the many ‘micro-landscapes’ – mini winter scenes – formed by the thawing snow, and all just a few feet away.
I’ve presented a small but varied selection below. Each of the areas photographed was less than 1 metre square.
Click the photo to enlarge.
In the first, the ice crystals glisten in the sunlight like jewels in a tiara
Sometimes there is a suggestion of frozen movement
The third presents a scene of contrasting textures and colours.
Except for the Nag’s Head, included in yesterday’s selection, most of these rocks seem to lack any local name by way of identification. Indeed, only two of the pictures have appeared in any ‘gallery of images’ or literature about St Agnes that I have seen. I find this very surprising.
In the absence of any acknowledged alternative, I have always referred to the first picture as the ‘Mysterious Feline’. The second is a Troll-like fellow or, perhaps, a puppet. In the third, I see a lizard (or similar creature) emerging in search of food or sensing danger. The fourth is clearly a prehistoric tortoise!
Several months ago, I wrote about the Isles of Scilly, located almost 30 miles off the south west tip of Cornwall:
‘In addition to their natural beauty and evidence of earlier cultures – such as the standing stone on Gugh and various cysts and burial chambers from the Bronze Age – the Isles have an air of mystery about them. Especially St Agnes. Granite outcrops suggest strange creatures from a fantasy or mythological world – giant lizards, serpents, turtles, birds of prey ……… You are never alone on St Agnes!’
I am returning to the topic. I have since remastered the original photos in an attempt to capture a little more of the magic and mystery of the rocks. I intend to post the results today and in my next post. All of the pictures are from St Agnes. The background context to the images can be found at The Isles of Scilly and The Two Faces of St Agnes.
The first image was not actually used previously. It is a natural outcrop, known locally as the Nag’s Head, and seems to have been used as a standing stone in the distant past. In my wife’s novel, Narwhal, it is the focal point for a pagan ritualistic dance.
It seems appropriate that the garden allotments pictured here lie in the shadow of an Anglo-Saxon church dating from the seventh century. It was during Saxon times that the parcelling of land began.
Of course, over the centuries there were many changes and the present system has its roots in the nineteenth century when land was given to the labouring poor. Provision was gradually extended and at the end of World War I land was made available for all. A statutory obligation was placed on Local Authorities to provide allotments wherever need arose.
The demand has inevitably been greatest in war years and in times of economic difficulty. In 1944, encouraged by the Government’s Dig for Victory campaign, the number of allotments was estimated to be 1.75 million. By 1970 the number had fallen to 532,000, partly because of the pressure to find land for building, partly due to the advent of supermarkets, and partly to other social changes.
In recent years there has been a revival of interest fuelled not only by economic problems but also by a growing demand for fresh food. Virtually all Local Authorities report a sizeable waiting list for available plots.
The site pictured has approximately 100 plots, most of which are in an advanced stage of clearing and preparation for the new season.
A feature of allotment sites is the camaraderie and community spirit. For some the ‘shed’ is more than just a place where tools are kept.