Archives for category: seasons journal

When I read the new topic, my heart sunk – how would I get an exciting photo? But then I realised that what may seem mundane to me will be extraordinary to someone on the other side of the world. So here is the photo taken today that represents everyday life for me.

I feel so privileged to live in the countryside and daily be able to cycle my children half a mile across the fields to school. Many of my neighbours cycle their children too and the furlong is abuzz with bikes as we beetle along. We are a hardy bunch and children from the age of three are cycling confidently without stabilisers.

I love my walk and enjoy the changing seasons so much that for one year I captured the essence of each month and recorded my daily journey to school. I designed it as a book consisting of photos, recipes and emotions that make the months unique. It is a short walk but a rich and rewarding journey. You can read more about this project by going to the category ‘Seasons Journal’ (at the bottom of this blog) or by clicking this link.Weekly Photo challenge: Each week WordPress provides a new photographic theme for creative inspiration. We take photographs based on our interpretation of the theme, and post them on our blogs anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme is announced.

An extract from my Seasons Journal: ‘The countryside has been stripped of its clutter and reveals its true shape and structure. We can see the distant cricket pavilion and new views appear. We still see colour on our walks with fat juicy rosehips and crab apples that glow red as if they are lit from within. The holly shrubs are coming into their own and are festooned with berries. Soon there will be more decoration as the Christmas wreaths start adorning the doors and supplementing the natural colours. It is glorious December when winter is still a novelty and the excitement increases as Christmas approaches.’ Wondering what this project is all about? Have a look at this entry.

An extract from my Seasons Journal: ‘The ground is an autumn carpet of leaves in the narrow Twilly Springs short cut. We swish through them, spotting lumpy hard pears and know we will watch the fruit turn into mush over the next few months. At either end of the carpet, the leaves disintegrate into slithery mud. It is a month of putting down, a month of laying to rest, a lonely month, a somber month. It is the right month to remember Armistice Day with the poignant symbol of a poppy.’ Wondering what this project is all about? Have a look at this entry.

An extract from my Seasons Journal: ‘Trees are slowly shifting from pale orange at the top down to green on their lower branches. The fields have now been tilled and are brown and empty and there are no cows, only rooks. I am guessing they are rooks because of the proverb: “A crow in a crowd is a rook. A rook on its own is a crow.” Rooks are meant to have grey-white faces, thinner beaks and peaked heads. Carrion crows are black with blunted beaks and are solitary birds. To be frank it is hard to tell if they are crows or rooks across the damp, misty fields but the cawing is quite haunting.’ Wondering what this project is all about? Have a look at this entry.

An extract from my Seasons Journal: ‘The poppies are still out but have a very different structure from the floppy poppies of June. We are now enjoying poppy heads which are highly ornamental and an inspiration to designers everywhere. The grass is yellowing and it tickles as we walk along The Furlong. There is a dry heat which makes me feel as if I am in South Africa especially as I start to perspire uncomfortably even though it is early in the morning. The crickets’ chirps are all that break the silence as the birds have gone quiet having started twittering some time before 4:00am. I love the very early morning music and the layers of sounds and tones that the different species produce but it does make for a restless sleep.’ Wondering what this project is all about? Have a look at this entry.

If you are near Wantage, do drop into The Vale & Downland Museum and take a peek at the exhibition ‘Small Worlds’ which is part of the local Summer Festival. Miniature landscapes, close-ups, sci-fi fantasy, childhood memories, village life… so many interpretations of two words. I have exhibited four pieces: Memories, Walking Home, West to East and Journey to School. My friend Ali has submitted two of her handmade bags, and you can see others on her website

The exhibition is on from 7 June – 9 July at 9.30am – 4.00pm (Mondays – Saturdays). The museum offers great cake in their tea room if you need a further incentive!

An extract from my Seasons Journal: ‘The bushes and hedges are heavy, thick and secretive with their luscious summer growth. Roses are pouring over walls, doors and fences with honeysuckle tendrils joining in the great escape and creating a riotous tangle of summer. The elders have bloomed and the large bunches of tiny elderflowers hang from their branches. They have a sweet and delicate scent but it can become overpowering as it hangs in the air and its perfume is most obvious at night as I go to put the chickens to bed. Making elderflower Champagne is one of the simplest recipes needing only four ingredients and it feels like true country living to create this refreshing drink.’ Wondering what this project is all about? Have a look at this entry. P.S. Email me if you would like the recipe for elderflower Champagne.

An extract from my Seasons Journal: Finally the weather is noticeably warmer and it feels as if summer has begun. Blossoms flutter down like confetti while cow parsley has sprung up and is at its best with drifts of tiny flowers. There are so many different shades of green from the palest off-white to dark bottle greens and everything in between. This is offset by the violently yellow field of oilseed rape which is eye-wateringly bright and we detoured to see it close up and enjoy the sensation of being surrounded by yellow, yellow, yellow. Wondering what this project is all about? Have a look at this entry.

An extract from my Seasons Journal: The hawthorn blossom is appearing and the cow parsley and nettles are out in force but it is still hard to tell them apart at this stage. I can’t discover why it is called cow parsley although one source suggested it is because the young foliage looks like its culinary namesake. I love the way the article continued describing it, ‘by the time it comes into flower, it has transformed itself and acquired a rather grander title – and Queen Anne’s Lace could not be a better description: it froths along the base of the hedgerows and rises up to form a delicate mist of creamy flowers’. Wondering what this project is all about? Have a look at this entry.

I have finished my Seasons Journal and it feels good! When I started this project in September 2009, I did wonder if I would complete it as it was a whole year of taking photos and making observations on the walk to school. It is a short walk in the scheme of things but such a rich and rewarding journey. The pages have been digitally printed on Naturalis stock 160gsm and is 21cm square. The book consists of 44 pages bound in two sections with a simple hand stitch and it is then covered it with a loose cover and a wrapper. The seal is the Case crest and the book is wrapped with string to increase the allure. I have 10 books in total and will ensure each of my lowercases gets one when they become uppercases!

An extract from my Seasons Journal: The most exciting thing on our walks this month was spotting a Mallard duck shuffling amongst the shrubs on the main village road and we plan to keep an eye on Jemima Puddle-duck and see what becomes of her nest. Talking of eggs we had excitement from our own hens that started to lay eggs on 9 March. It is like being given treasure each day and I have never before marvelled and appreciated eggs so much. Isabel couldn’t believe they came from hens; and I thought I was raising a country child! Wondering what this project is all about? Have a look at this entry.

An extract from my Seasons Journal: February is the season for Seville oranges and there is nothing more satisfying on an icy day than working in a warm, steamy kitchen making marmalade to be eaten on hot buttered toast. So maybe it is not such a dull month after all.

A spin-off of my journal is that I have images of all the seasons. So I made dinky little desk calendars as stocking fillers and thank you gifts. They are packed into cases and were a great success celebrating the beautiful local countryside.

An extract from my Seasons Journal: Out came the sun and with a blue sky, the snow sparkled and shimmered, it was breathtakingly beautiful. It was like sugar that scrunched and squeaked underfoot while the long grasses were encapsulated in ice looking fantastical as if they had just been delivered from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. All colours became more extreme: the river appeared black against the whiteness and shady areas turned clear blue.

For over a year, I have been working on a ‘Seasons Journal’ and I am almost finished. I say almost, but I still need to complete the headings, have it digitally printed and then hand bind the books. The seasons are beautiful and yet fleeting so for one year I set out to capture the essence of each month and to record our daily journey to school. We do the same walk each day and yet it is so different as the year progresses. I took plenty of photos and each month made a focussed ‘observation walk’ where I wrote down the sights, the sounds, the smells and my emotions that made the month unique. What a satisfying challenge this journal has been. Some months have been harder to record than others but it gives me much pleasure to view the changing seasons.