July Photo: I love this beach in Cornwall, mostly because it reminds me of Cape Town with its large boulders and rocky coves.

June Photo: When growing tomatoes in my greenhouse, I discovered a few rogue poppies who had snuck in there. My daughter called it ‘the unsupervised poppy’!

May photo: There is so much to delight me whenever I visit Asthall Manor from the gardens, to the sculptures to the history and the links with The Mitford Sisters. This June, treat yourself and visit On Form 2018, an exhibition of contemporary stone sculptures set in these beautiful gardens.

I took my children off to Tate Britain to saw the Impressionists In London Exhibition. At first my heart sank when we went in as it started off quite dryly but I was able to chat animatedly to the girls and we all got into it and it got better especially when we discovered Monet. We each chose our all-time favourite picture giving 5 reasons why it was our favourite. Next stop was the Imperial War Museum inspired by reading Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams. It was excellent – quite hard-hitting in places – but teaching us all. I received a start when we looked at the twisted window frame from The World Trade Centre and my daughter aged 12 asked what was 9 / 11. For me it was still recent but for her, it happened long before her birth. My younger daughter took photos of a Spitfire for a Rotary competition with the theme  ‘A Different Perspective’. Well done to her for winning first prize in her category. All in all an illuminating day which enlarged our horizons.

April’s Photo: There is nothing quite like the thrill of red spring tulips in the morning light.

March’s Photo: I love the form of this succulent (Echeveria Elegans) and the grey green with touches of nipple pink. I especially enjoy the strange flowers that it produces annually that seem to uncurl and then grow upwards. There is definitely something primitive about it. These three succulents are in pots in my sitting room and remind me of our Cornish holidays as well of South Africa.

I found this artwork ‘Memory of a young boy’ at the Ashmolean so inspiring. It is ethereal and as I walk around, it disappears and all I can see are sheets of slippery glass. Each section of the mummy outline is drawn on a separate sheet of perspex and from some angles I can see the whole form but not from all perspectives. It made me think about faith in God and it all depends on what you look at. Sometimes you need to have faith and believe and EVEN when you can see nothing, you have to know He is still there. Just like the artwork – it was still there when I could only see the edges of glass.

What a privilege for my children to go to school in England with world-class museums around the corner – after 20 years in the UK, I am still savouring this fact. My youngest child was studying the Egyptians so off we went to the Ashmolean to go and see the real thing. There is an excellent permanent exhibition of mummies, funeral objects, sculptures and artworks. The stylised shapes and the forms of the crocodile god captures the essences and the cruelty of this reptile with minimal lines. I loved the concentration and interest of my daughter and then enjoying a hot chocolate together in the cafe. There is also the beauty of the Asmolean’s architecture to appreciate.


February’s photo: When I lived in Cape Town, this was the hottest month of the year however now it is so cold and bitter that I need to look hard to find beauty. But it is there. The barren sweep of countryside, the frosted teasels and the bare tree silhouettes against a dawn sky. There is always beauty to be found.

January’s photo: It was a nail biting month waiting to hear if my daughter would be offered a place at the school that we believed was the right one. I took the photo on the morning when I had just heard the good news and with much thankfulness in my heart. It certainly felt like a new dawn for a big adventure.

Towards the tail end of last year, I created dinky desk calendars as a gift for friends and family. Sometimes a scene whether intimate or dramatic is worth pausing for and reflecting upon. The photos in this calendar captured images that delighted and pleased me. It has also inspired me to share them on my blog along with their stories.

Private road1My brother says it is just a private road. But actually it is The Private Road. There is a sense of mystery and ominous foreboding as the long linear line of trees overpower with their shadows and their height. But we still dare to use it, openly by foot or bike and if in an emergency skulking along in a car. It feels like such a bygone route running parallel to another ancient route – The Ridgeway.

And I wonder where the path ahead leads as we wait on the eve of a new year. May you travel courageously and safely remembering to enjoy the journey and slow down to appreciate the views. Don’t always let the signs stop you either!

Much love to all, Tessa

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About this post: I plan to have a countryside photo session once a month during 2015.

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During November we went to Wales for two long days of walking. And what a fabulous time we had especially as the weather was crisp and clear instead of the forecast of greyness and fog. We were walking above the clouds and the views were nourishing for the soul. Richard had his maps although we laughed as they were over 15 years old and paths had been added and full forests had grown up since he had them – I offered to scratch out and add in but we will most likely invest in a new map next time.

I returned to the fray revived and refreshed and looking at these photos reminds to see all problems and challenges in perspective.

About this post: I plan to have a countryside photo session once a month during 2015.

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It was heartening that so many people missed the mini desk calendars that I produce. They are back… so enjoy the 2016 calendar featuring many of the monthly photos I have taken over the year. They make good stocking fillers, thank you gifts for hostesses or to enjoy on your desk depicting the beautiful (mostly) local countryside. They’re also perfect for posting as overseas gifts. The calendars are 95mm square and are within a small perspex box (a bit like a CD box) and you can buy them directly from me for £4.00 (plus p+p). Contact me by email tessa@casebase.co.uk.