From Lucy - AGAVE and Detail

Below Are Details

These photos are also shown at AGAVE AND DETAIL on PICTURES JUST PICTURES

You can see lots more monochrome photos from photographers round the world at MONOCHROME WEEKLY.

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From Esther - I Once Met a Man Who Wanted Everyone To Wear Rubber

I once met a man who wanted everyone to wear rubber. He said the Fairies had told him to cut rings through the bark round the trunks of trees. He hadn't got his pension book because someone had offered to 'look after it for him' and he'd let them. And he was homeless. At least, he had been homeless until he'd been given a place in a house for men coming off the streets - men who didn't want to live rough any more and might have a chance to settle.

I was staying in that house for a few days, visiting a friend. That's how I met him. The room I was sleeping in had no windows and there was a hole in the concrete floor by the door - so you had to be careful if you got up in the night! It was the first place I'd visited where fleas were as much at home as the humans who lived there.

The conversations I had with him were worrying. Not because of their content - but because I couldn't see the difference between him and Hitler. I'm not wanting to cause offence by saying this. What I mean is that although Hitler was clever and had a philosophy and would never have given his pension book to someone else 'to look after' - he was only able to wreak the havoc he did because other people let him. What if they had found him a place to live instead of making him their leader . . . had cooked for him as they did for the man who wanted to cut rings round trees. No-one called the man I met 'evil', however disconcerting his manner or unpleasant his views. But neither did anyone put him in a position of power so he could put his ideas into practice. Who is evil? Who is not?

I was once stranded in Berlin. I'd gone to a student conference and was planning to go from there to Czechoslovakia to visit a friend in Prague - but it snowed. The Norwegian delegates thought it was hilarious that the trains had stopped - but stop they had . . . and I was stranded.

I'd been billeted with an elderly lady who was organist at her local Church and she let me stay on. She fed me. She took me to her Church with her. She introduced me to her elderly friends. They came to visit - and we slipped and slided together on our way to visit them.

One evening, she talked about her brother. He had been a pilot during the second world war and had been shot down and killed. She was younger than him and had been part of the Hitler Youth. "We all had to join," she said. Then she paused - and changed it. "We wanted to," she said.

She talked about what was, by the time she was speaking to me, the situation in Germany. Students were protesting because society was too strict. When the police intervened strongly, the students protested more - so the police got tougher . . . . It was a vicious circle. "What we need," she said, her eyes brightening and her voice growing deeper and louder, "is for someone to say 'No!' ". And, with the 'No!', she brought her fist down with a smash on the little table where we were eating. She was shouting. It was winter (obviously is was, with the snow) and the room was lit with candles. I'd learnt a new word 'Gemutlich' - cosy, homely, warm and pleasant. It wasn't gemutlich any more.

Then she subsided. "It's hard for you British to understand," she said. "We aren't used to democracy. Sometimes we just want someone to say 'That's enough!'.

I don't know. I don't know how many people thought like her. She was lovely. I still remember her with warmth. She housed me and fed me when I had little money and no-where to go and there was lots of snow outside. She would have liked someone to say 'No!'. She would have liked someone to take control; someone she could follow, who would protect her, who would break the circle, stop things getting worse.

I've been thinking about these people - the man to whom the fairies gave unpleasant instructions and the woman who was trying not to want a dictator . . . because I'm re-reading 'Rebecca' by Daphne du Maurier.

(If anyone doesn't know the story and doesn't want to . . . you'd better stop here because I'm about to give a summary.)

. . . . A young woman, little more than a girl, marries a much older man (Max de Winter). He is handsome and wealthy but harbours a dreadful secret - that he murdered his very unpleasant (though strikingly beautiful) first wife - Rebecca. Overawed by him, his house, his servants, his wealth, his age, his fame . . . the new Mrs de Winter allows herself to be bullied by Mrs Danvers, the sour and dour housekeeper who harbours such a morbid devotion to the dead Rebecca that she sets out to destroy the new wife. In the end, she destroys herself, along with the house and a way of life which could have been gentle and fresh and full of country air and sea breezes. And, in the process, she comes to symbolise female obsession, jealousy and evil for book readers and Hitchcock fans alike.

(I'm talking about a symbol here. How 'female' emotions come to be perceived and stereotyped is a separate matter. Symbols are symbols.)

I don't usually re-read books and, with this one, it's not much fun; I don't know why I'm putting myself through it. (Maybe to prove I'm not a wimp?) All the time, I'm wanting to shout 'Don't wear the dress. Don't wear the dress. Whatever you do - don't wear the dress!'. (You have to read the book to know why.) And all the time, I'm thinking - I don't think Mrs Danvers is the villain here, whatever the tradition. It's Max de Winter. Why didn't he sack the housekeeper? Why didn't he tell his new wife he'd murdered Rebecca? Well, he couldn't have done that - but he might have mentioned that, in his opinion, she was terrible and cruel and not all she was cracked up to be; that he'd stopped loving her long ago. That way, the poor mouse of her replacement might not have tortured herself by thinking (the poor mouse) that she was a gauche failure in comparison.

Not very deep thoughts. But you've got to think of something while you hack back your garden because it has become a forest instead of a glade. I don't think I would vote for a man who wanted me to wear rubber. But I might be weak enough to let politicians take more power than is good for them and then blame them for the result. And if I were to have a society beauty as an ex-wife, instead of an extra-terrestrial as a husband, I might be half pleased with the memory, hang on a bit to the glory which had rubbed off on me, even if she had been the kind of person best not to marry in the first place.

This isn't a post. Not a regular one. I'm in the middle of a gap. It's just that I'm feeling sorry (and grateful) for (and to) people who have this blog in their sidebar despite the little note underneath which says it hasn't been updated for five weeks. And I thought, I bet I can come up with a better headline than 'WEDNESDAY WORD AND HOUSEHOLD NOTES - ON A THURSDAY' so I've changed it to 'I Once Met a Man who Wanted Everyone to Wear Rubber' instead.

I suppose I could add 'Gloves' - then it might count as boring.

I Once Met a Man Who Wanted Everyone to Wear Rubber was first posted on Esther's Boring Garden Blog. To add your comment to those left there - click HERE

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This was the view acros Portland Harbour in Dorset on the morning of the Autumnal Equinox, earlier this week. (September 22nd 2009) It wasn't as dark as it looks when I took the photo - it just came out that way. But I suspect, if I had come an hour earlier . . . this is what it would have looked like.

Notice the rays of sun pointing vertically down along the horizon? Someone phoned and said to go and look at them. I ran. I needn't have bothered. Three-quarters of an hour later, they were still there - and still people were photographing them.

See the boats? Portland Harbour will be the base for the sailing events in the 2012 Olympics. I'm not sure they will be terribly exciting as a land-based spectator sport. I may be proved wrong. I hope I am because it's not often you have the Olympics on your doorstep. But for people who have televisions . . . remember the Autumn Equinox. (If you are watching!)

For skies around the world - go to Skywatch!

More of Lucy's photos can be seen at Pictures Just Pictures

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From Mary - To 'Hugh and Camellia' Readers

I'm getting in a right muddle remembering where I am up to so . . .
I'm not . . . at least, not here.
BUT . . . (more dots!) you can continue it somewhere else - in fact, you can romp ahead until you catch up with others who are reading it. Then you'll have to wait a bit until I've written more. But the story goes right up to episode forty-six so it might keep you going for a while.
This is the link for SIXTEEN
And this is the link for anyone who would like to start at the beginning - THE BEGINNING
Then . . . (more dots!) . . . I'll spend more time writing and less time copying and pasting.
Sensible, eh?

Well, there isn't any more to read. It's just that we put the 'Read More' html in the blog template and, until we get round to organising it differently, - - - - (change from dots) - - - - sometimes there is more . . . and sometimes there isn't . . . and, it seems to me . . . that the 'Read More' html doesn't work if the blog is accessed through Google Chrome. Huh! (Can you tell that I'm in a bit of a grumpy mood this afternoon?)


From Mary - 'HUGH AND CAMELLIA' - Fifteen

continued from

While Hugh was gone, Stephen was at liberty to look round the room. The walls were painted oddly orange and the light from a central bulb, under a parchment shade, made everything distant from the AGA seem flat and dull. The windows were high, right up against the ceiling. They hadn't been touched for months, possibly years, for the pole with the brass hook on the end which would be needed for opening and closing them, and which was propped handily in a corner, was coated with cob-webs and the skeletons of . . . spiders.

The room was bigger than any kitchen he'd been in before. The table would have been better sited in the grand dining room of The Hall than in here but there was still plenty of space between it and two arm-chairs (islands in a tide of newspapers) for broken baskets and cardboard boxes.

He had just sat down in one of them and was ruffling through the papers, thinking it might be interesting to read about something which had happened a long time ago, when he heard Hugh shout.

Then again.

His voice was muffled but coming closer. When he'd left the room with the tea, he'd gone through the door which led to the gun room and the yard so Stephen leapt up and headed for that. But the handle was round and brass and slippery and loose. There must be a knack. No. A catch. A catch to lift. It stuck. He rattled and pushed. It shot up - a second nick to his finger! . . . and Hugh burst through a green baize door on the other side of the kitchen.

“Stephen! I’m so sorry. It’s Camellia.” He steadied himself against the back of a chair. Stephen ran to help. Took his elbow. Waited.

Hugh drew a breath but couldn't say more.

“Show me,” Stephen said gently, his own heart thumping. Hugh didn't look well. What if Hugh and Camellia expired on him? Both of them. "Where's Camellia, Hugh?" Hugh just carried on staring. “Show me,” Stephen said again, raising Hugh's elbow a little.

Hugh turned and went back through the baize door. There was hardly any light on the other side. Just the smell of mould and manure. Stephen took Hugh's arm again, not to offer support but to know where they were going. Then they came out from under a huge staircase into a burst of semi-sunshine. A great long, high, wide, entrance hall, with tall windows and oil paintings, and a standpipe, and donkeys pulling hay down from wire baskets on the wall.

"There." Hugh nodded towards the open drawing room door.

Stephen let him rest, leaning against the wall, and went in.

Late afternoon light was filtering through dust into the most extraordinary room he had ever seen and Camellia was there, as if stranded, slumped like a drowned mermaid on a slimy rock that had once been a chair. A standard lamp lay smashed on the floor beside it and a shovel, half filled with muck, lay abandoned at her feet. She was pale. Very pale. And cold, with her hands resting limp on the arms of her rock, her head sideways against its mouldering back. Now Stephen knew what ‘digging up the carpet’ meant. There was a heap of the stuff in the fireplace.

“It could be lovely,” she whispered - and fainted again.

Stephen was worried he too might faint for want of anything worth breathing so he went to one of the windows and tried to push up the sash. It wouldn't budge. Something snorted behind him. He paused. Listened. Wondered. Didn't like to turn and look. Then there was tapping. A series of little taps on the granite floor where the carpet had been scraped away. He drew his arm across a dirty pane. He could see the barn in the courtyard now. It helped to know where he was. Thus strengthened, he turned.

Several sheep were standing in the room and more were arriving, clattering out from behind what had once been a sofa - to look at him. Sam appeared at the doorway. A duck shuffled past Stephen's ankle and hopped onto a chair opposite Camellia and settled on what once had been a cushion.

Hugh said something.

That was it. They must get her head down.

It wasn't easy. Hugh was feeling weak and worried. Stephen was feeling sick and scared.

“She wanted to make it nice for our daughter,” mumbled Hugh. Suddenly, he was angry. “I told her she'd be too tired.”

His voice didn't come out loud. He was anguished and tired and worried and cross and wondering if it would be more comfortable to despair.

Camellia groaned.

“Doesn't he go on!” she said. Then she smiled. It was a weak smile - but a definite one.

Stephen found himself grinning back.

“We though you might like some tea,” he said.

For the post before this - Fourteen

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From Lucy - ROUGH PLANKS OF STAINED WOOD - For My World Tuesday

People who have children won't need to read this . . . nor will people who are ill more than once a year . . . for they will already know what life looks like from ground level or from in the middle where their pillows are. But for everyone else . . . I recommend lieing on the ground sometimes and looking round. See what the dangers are. See what the colours are. See the structures . . . Sometimes the scene is boring; sometimes things which are, at first sight, without interest or repetitive turn out to be very interesting indeed - like these planks which are helping keep a bank up.

You might like to travel the world to catch glimpses into the lives of other bloggers My World Tuesday.

This photo is also shown at Lucy Corrander's Blog - Pictures Just Pictures

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Lucy Corrander - 16th September 2009

There are lots of wonderful photographs with Monochrome Weekly - Click HERE

This photo can also be seen at Pictures Just Pictures

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I took this photograph last September. Today is a day precisely like it - so why take another?

What specially interests me is that, when I took it, I was taking a photo of the branches. Now I am posting it for Skywatch and it seems 'just right'. Interesting how the reason for a photo influences how you see it.

I posted this photo first on Pictures Just Pictures on 16th September 2009

Skywatchers may also like to take a look at the photo of the Portland Bill Lighthouse which I posted here a couple of days ago. I was planning to use it today but liked it so much, I couldn't wait. (No discipline round here!)

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From Mary - 'HUGH AND CAMELLIA' - Fourteen

To read this on a white background - click Here

continued from

Stephen's hesitation lasted only for a moment but Hugh had noticed and cursed himself. Cat-smell meant 'home' to him. Camellia, he admitted, had been right. No-one else could bear it. And there was this horrible contradiction. The only people he wanted to invite back to Thorncombe were people he liked - and they were the very people he least wanted to offend.

But Stephen was stepping forward.

“Do you like cats?” Hugh asked.

“Love them,” said Stephen, triumphing over nausea. “Perhaps not . . . this many at once . . . . . But I am, indeed, very fond of cats.”

(He wasn’t.)

Out of politeness, he wondered if he should stroke one but couldn't see any he was prepared to go near, let alone touch. Mostly, they were emaciated, their coats dull and their spines showing ridgey under their fur. Some had oozing eyes. Some were old and barely able to move and these watched and glared, warning that they'd fight if he came too close. Some were young though, with a bit of liveliness left. Of these a couple were taking it in turns to chase a pipe-cleaner across the floor and three more were playing catch-tail round saucepans.

Hugh swept an almost flat, doormat style cat off a chair.

“Sit down,” he said. He was apprehensive. “The tea’s ready. I made it before I showed Sam round. I thought you might be cold when you arrived.”

He fetched tea-cups and saucers and a tea-pot neatly wrapped in a stained, hand-knitted cosy from the back of the AGA, where they had been keeping warm, brought them over to the table and set them next to an enamelled milk jug.

It was, no doubt, very kind of Hugh to have tea waiting, very welcoming, thought Stephen, sipping the luke-warm, sludgy brown liquid. It was so bitter it worked backwards, taking moisture out of his mouth instead of adding to it. He tried not to wince and wished Hugh hadn’t been so well prepared.

Hugh poured milk for himself, took a gulp and slammed the cup onto its saucer.

"You can't drink this!" It was awful. "I thought this was what Camellia would do! She left me to it." He stopped and looked so deflated and dejected, Stephen decided to take over.

"Don't worry," he said, taking both their cups to the scullery and tipping the tea into the sink. "It was kind of you to be ready like this. I appreciate it."

Then he lifted one of the covers on the AGA, tested the weight of the kettle and set it to boil again. "Where do you keep the tea?"

Hugh smiled weakly; grateful. Whatever was Camellia thinking? To abandon him like this? Well, he knew. She wanted Rosemary for Christmas. But the sheep had slugs in their wool and there was no-where to put the cattle and there was far too much to do in the drawing room and Rosemary had never liked cats but in the spring there would be lots of lambs for the children to see and he might have bought another donkey by then. Perhaps a dog.

He pointed sadly to a cupboard in the dresser. Stephen reached for a caddy - then took his hand back quick. A finger was bleeding. He looked round at Hugh but Hugh was thinking; hadn't noticed. So he peered into the gloom, grabbed a spitting cat away from her nesting kittens and dropped her gently to the floor where she went and crouched under the table and swished her tail. Stephen left the door open so she could go back when she wanted and made the tea.

They'd just started drinking it, and Hugh had gathered himself enough to be offering a fur laden scone, when Stephen thought he heard a distant, sharp cry. Hugh didn't seem to notice. Stephen listened more, and tried to answer Hugh's questions about Clapham and America without looking too distracted while, at the same time, concentrating on the sound. For a few moments - nothing, then . . . there it was again . . . distantly but definitely, a cry - in the house.

"Do you think Camellia would like us to take her some tea?"

Hugh stared at him a moment.

Stephen heard something crash.

For a moment, Hugh said nothing, startled because he had been interrupted. Then he smiled, glad of the excuse to go and see if she could be persuaded to join them.

“Good idea,” he said. “I’ll take her mine.”
* * *
For the post before this - Thirteen

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There is absolutely no reason for putting this photograph here - except that I like it! It is of the newest lighthouse at Portland Bill in Dorset - it was opened in 1906 - which is still pretty old, depending on the way you look at it!

There are lots of pictures of this lighthouse on the internet and on . . . postcards and in books. Many of them are from precisely this angle - and many of them set against the background of a similarly blue sky. But it is such a colourful lighthouse and the skies are often this blue - and I was there yesterday. So, although it is a bit daft to add my own picture to all the others . . . I make no apology! (It may even be new to some readers!)

P.S. People often think the whole of Portland is called 'Portland Bill'. It isn't - it's called Portland. 'The Bill' is this southern end, where this lighthouse is and where the land has got so narrow there is sea on three sides. (And very rough the sea is too!)

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From Mary - 'HUGH AND CAMELLIA' - Thirteen

To read this post on a white background - click Here

continued from
Surprised to find himself nervous, Stephen pulled the car over to one side, turned off the engine and got out to breathe the stillness of rain-freshened air. It was even better than he'd expected so he reached into the back for his coat, shut the door quietly, and set off down the hill on foot as a sense of homecoming settled about him. The Thorncombes were strangers but - England was pulling him back, switching on the memories of toast and crumpets; memories of raking up great piles of leaves as a child, rolling in them, flattening them, raking them up for bonfires, barrowing them to the compost heap and coming back for more; days when he'd revelled in getting muddy because, even then, he'd known that, for the rest of his life, his adult time, he'd want to be specially neat and clean.
The drive was now running between a broken fence on the left and a holey hedge. Branches and tractor tyres had been piled loosely across gaps and pinned in place with rusty metal stakes. Old doors had been wired between gate posts and a Jersey cow and her calf stared over a thicket of barbed wire. A bull in another field skulked almost knee deep in mud, its legs and belly caked with clay and the hair at the end of its tail clogged into a heavy lump. Oily water filled the imprints of its hooves round the trough and what was left of the grass had been pounded, flattened, stretched and bruised into nothingness. Stephen frowned. He knew nothing about cattle and the weather was mild still but . . . Were there no winter quarters?
Another half mile - and the road dipped again, winding into a small cutting. Sparkles of water trickled between huge ferns on the rock faces and splashed from ledge to ledge. Dripping through heavy mosses it was making its way into a paved gully. At the bottom of the incline, the now fast flowing stream spluttered down a grating in a narrow yard but the main thrust of the drive twisted round the front of a stone barn and ended in a moderately sized courtyard where Hugh and a small brown donkey were emerging from the front door of The Hall.
“Welcome!"Hugh hurried enthusiastically down the last couple of steps, stretching his earth-caked hand towards Stephen for him to shake . "Meet Sam,” he said, with a flourish. But Sam had already peeled off and was looking in a cardboard box beside the open gate to the kitchen garden. “I bought him earlier this week." Hugh shut the gate before Sam moved on to nose among the brussel sprout stumps and empty fruit cages. "He's for my grand-daughters. They're coming to visit but our other donkeys are too old for riding now. I'm only hoping they won’t quarrel over this one.”
Sam went back to the house.
“Oh, don’t worry about him,” said Hugh, seeing Stephen look puzzled. “He’ll be alright. He's still finding his way around but he's quiet and calm - just exploring. I hope you don’t mind tea in the kitchen? It’s warm there. We hardly ever use the other rooms.”“Not at all,” said Stephen, thinking it would be perfect. Cosiness, warmth and, with any luck, toasted scones and home-made jam.“I’m afraid Camellia won’t be joining us,” said Hugh, leading the way. She’s got this bee in her bonnet about digging up the drawing room carpet. I tried to persuade her it doesn't have to be done today but, once she’s got herself organised for something, she doesn't like to change tack.”
“Oh, I’m sorry if this has turned out to be inconvenient,” said Stephen, wondering what Hugh meant about the carpet. “Are you sure . . . . . ?”
“Yes, yes, of course I’m sure, I don’t want to be mucking around with mouldy old carpets on a Sunday afternoon. I think we should have a break from work sometimes, don’t you?”
“Indeed,” Stephen said - and he followed Hugh into a smaller yard where the smell of honey fungus drifted from a wood stack and where a door to a tool shed was hanging off its frame and where a row of castellated pig sties were stores for bits and bobs of rubble and broken brooms.“I have no idea,” said Hugh, noticing Stephen was trying not to smile, “why anyone would think it necessary to put battlements on pig sties! And the paint (he meant the paint on the guttering which was brightly green) " - well, that was a mistake."
Stephen grinned. “Arrow slits too!”
He was surprising himself. He should have been discomfited by the disorder. Usually he would have been but, this afternoon, he simply couldn't feel out of place. Hugh was so friendly and the idea of warmth was so tempting that he accompanied Hugh through the back porch and into the house without expecting anything but pleasantness. It did smell a bit. Sort of acrid. But there was a gun room on the right. That was probably it. He glanced in, expecting to see a half de-composed pheasant on the table, or the skeleton of a hare hanging from a hook. But no. The room was almost empty. Dusty and sparse but no dead animals.
“Come on in and make yourself at home,” said Hugh cheerfully, striding ahead and pushing open the door to the kitchen.
For a moment, Stephen stood there, not daring to move further. The smell had intensified. It filled his lungs. He knew it was already sticking in his hair, probably seeping through his clothes and right into his blood. His sight blurred. He thought he would be sick. He thought he might faint. He'd gone pale. He knew that - because his skin had gone cold and clammy. It tingled. But he gathered himself. Stood straight. Tried not to breath much. Forced his reluctant feet off the ground. And stepped forwards.
* * *
For the post before this - Twelve.
It says 'Read More' - but there isn't any more to read for this post, apologies. It's because I used Chrome by mistake instead of Internet Explorer and Chrome doesn't seem to like Blogger!


From Mary - 'HUGH AND CAMELLIA' - Twelve

To read this post on a white background - click Here

continued from

In the 1960s, when suddenly there were a lot of cars - the lanes were full of them; chugging around with fathers at the wheel, wives in the front seat, travel-sick children in the back; thousands of happy families exploring in a trail of exhaust, with bonnets rattling and big-ends at risk. There were sandwiches wrapped in grease-proof paper in almost every boot (along with a thermos flask of tea and a little brown medicine bottle for milk and a screw of paper for sugar). There were picnics in almost every farm gate and breakdowns in every lay-by. There were enthusiastic hootings at every bend in the road and unwieldy reversings whenever the way grew narrow. Trails of cars followed tractors; and trails of cigarette butts lay in the wake of cars. But by the time Stephen came to Thorncombe this tide had been swept onto by-passes and the lanes had grown quiet.

Indeed, they were even emptier than they'd been in Mediaeval times because sheep, pigs, cows and geese no were no longer expected to walk to market but were driven there in double-decker lorries. The farmyard one minute. The abattoir the next. Hedges had thickened across drove roads, and fields which were once the workplace for many were now ploughed (later harvested) by one man (or maybe two). There were no stonegatherers, birdscarers or reapers and no wives bringing lunch in covered baskets. Chemicals killed weeds and gleaning was theft. There were no horses, no carts, no wagons, few robbers and hardly any beggars and the world seemed empty to Stephen as he drove to visit Hugh and Camellia that afternoon. It was him, his car - and the countryside.

And there was Thorncombe Hall in the green bowl of a valley. It was large, grand and grey, with battlements on some of the roofs. Most of the gardens were hidden by the dip and there were woods which got in the way of a proper view - but he caught glints of water; a river beyond the house? Trout?

Not bad. Space, privacy, freedom and comfort. Not bad.

He looked up through the black tracery of ash branches and oak which would form a green tunnel in the summer. And he looked sideways at the lattice of beech roots where rain had washed earth from the banks. On the high levels, he'd passed thorn trees, bent and twisted like witches, but everything was softer down here. Even in winter, it was faintly green.

He checked an open map on the passenger seat. Turn right.

Thorncombe estate.

Huge stone columns stood empty on each side of the drive. He held his breath as he passed between them. Before long, they'd probably fall and smash against the massive wrought iron gates which were already lying flat in the nettles. And the way ahead, which once had been smooth and gold with gravel, was now little more than a rutty track with ridges and bumps, and potholes and wide spreads of seeping mud. He glanced in the mirror. The lane was already out of sight, hidden by the overgrowth of bushes. But, in the distance, on the other side of the valley, beyond the house, he could already see the estate road rising to a T-junction where Edgington Forest ran along the ridge. And, in the side of the forest, he could see the wide gash in the trees which marked the entrance to the Army Training Camp

But in between . . .
* * *
for the post before this - Eleven

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From Mary - 'HUGH AND CAMELLIA' - Eleven

continued from

"Oh, Hugh! How could you?" Camellia complained through a mouthful of scrambled egg on toast. She was really cross. "You know it never works. They look uncomfortable, drink only half their tea and leave the first moment they can - and some don't stay even long enough for pretend politeness. I thought we agreed you wouldn't invite any more holiday makers; and he looks such a nice young man!"

"Well, that's the point, isn't it?" said Hugh, concentrating on his plate so he didn't have to look at her. "I wouldn't have invited him if he seemed unpleasant."

Camellia sighed. "And I wanted to start on the drawing room floor this afternoon!"

"I know," he said wearily. "But it's the wrong time. We're always tired after church."

Which was right. Since Camellia's seventieth birthday, they had begun to find the two mile walk rather a trial.. They only took the Land Rover to the village if there was something heavy to carry - like a calf or sacks of kindling, or if they'd be coming back with shopping.

At least they didn't have the church right on their doorstep like some big houses. That would have been unbearable. Hugh always imagined he could hear people thinking about his sheep when they were supposed to be praying and if the sheep were only a couple of hundred yards away it would be even more oppressive. Silence never seemed quiet to him and he knew Camellia found being in the village difficult too. She didn't like to be looked at. Not in the way the people in the congregation looked at her anyway. Sometimes, he thought she would suggest they shouldn't go but, however hard it was, he wouldn't have liked that. It was one of the few links remaining between them and the rest of the world, even if it was uncomfortable. Besides, they had always gone.

"Well," said Camellia huffily. "I'm going to start on the floor. You can entertain."

Hugh examined his knuckles. They were huge. They hadn't been like that when he was a boy, he thought. He was trying to distract himself. He didn't want to admit his eyes were stinging.

Camellia gathered up the plates and didn't look at him either. It wasn't often that they quarrelled.


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From Lucy - On and On - For Skywatch

This photo was taken in the graveyard of St George's Church on Portland in Dorset. Once again, the sky is the backdrop. The ground wouldn't look the same without it!

For Skywatch Pictures from Round the World - Click HERE

Lucy Corrander is taking a break from her usual blog - Pictures Just Pictures. (She'll be back there in the autumn!

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From Lucy - LEAVES DRYING - for Monochrome Weekly

Dry leaves, flaked into dust, make wonderful compost. Here, they are waiting for the miracle to happen. It's a bit like paint drying - only the patterns are better!

For more monochrome photos - Monochrome Weekly. (It's worth it!)

Lucy Corrander is taking a break from her regular blog Pictures Just Pictures - but she'll be back there in the autumn.

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