The landscape photography book which I have been reading says that I should avoid the mundane and aim for the mysterious.
The mystery for the spectator can be one of four things; what is it? what does it mean to me? does it touch my emotions? why did the photographer take the picture? In this case as far as I can see, the answers to these questions will be very obscure, especially the last one. Does this make it a good picture? It’s a mystery. (Please do not try to help me out here as this will only raise more questions.) I am going to have to stop reading books which make my head hurt. Note for certain male readers: the photograph shows items on the draining board after being washed up. I realise that this will make the mystery only deeper for you. You thought that things washed themselves up and then put themselves away.
The last day of the year threatened to be as bad as any that had gone before. When I woke up, the wind was howling round the house and it was raining. When I went downstairs, water had leaked through the window and the back wall. I was just working up to a really thoroughgoing rant with a choice range of selected swearwords of a kind suitable for old gentlemen in a temper when my day brightened. The rain let up and Sandy and Dropscone came to join me for coffee.
Dropscone had just taken his daughter to the dentist in Hawick and he arrived bearing gifts of a bakery nature. We couldn’t exactly say what they were but Dropscone did point out that they were the first things that he had ever brought to eat with our coffee that either he hadn’t made himself or which he hadn’t purchased at a discount on account of them being very close to their sell by dates. We were suitably grateful. They had a hint of cheese about them and were very good, whatever they were.
No birds had come to the feeder in the early part of the morning because the wind was just to strong for them but it let up after coffee and I took a picture or two.
The birds seemed nearly as cross as I was.
One brambling simply couldn’t wait at all amid scenes that resembled the January sales.
I had resigned myself to another wasted day until I looked up after lunch and saw that there was some blue sky about. I thought that the wind would be still be strong but it had dropped away. There was no excuse. I got the winter bike out, tucked my trousers in and set off up the road to Bentpath.
This route involves a short but stiff climb at the start and I was worried that I might not be up to it but all was well and I floated up the hill on a wave of euphoria brought on by the unexpected pedal.
Although the day was dry, the surrounding countryside was anything but.
This little river was running over a wall and across the road in fine style and I was pleased not to meet a car coming the other way while I was splashing through it.
The fields had puddles in every dip.
There were glimpses of sun to be had but I had no need of sun cream as they were far off.
I made a point of stopping regularly on the way out as I was pedalling into what was still quite a noticeable breeze and this gave me the opportunity to take some illustrative pictures as I went.
This is the Esk at Bentpath and the picture shows how very flat the valley bottoms are among the steep sided hills.
The puddles weren’t just in the fields.
Luckily, I was going so slowly that there was no danger of getting myself soaked as I went through.
I had to look twice when I saw these.
I’ll go back and try to take a better picture of them next time if they are still there.
I had just crossed the Meggat Water….
…and reached the furthest extent of my ride at Enzieholm Bridge when a wobble of the handlebars indicated that something was wrong. I had a puncture. This was annoying as I didn’t fancy a seven and a half mile walk home. I looked rather nervously in my back bag and was pleased to find two tyre levers, a spare tube and my little pump. This was a bonus as I don’t always carry spares because my usual Schwalbe tyres are so hard wearing that I haven’t had a puncture for ages.
I set about changing tubes and to my amazement and delight, I managed it and, what is more, without hurting my thumbs to any great extent. I was also very heartened to be twice offered assistance, once by a passing pedestrian and once by a couple in a car. My morning gloom was entirely dispelled by now and I cycled home down wind and at peace with the world.
The turkey mountain having now disappeared, I am setting to work on reducing the cheese mountain and so I enjoyed a plate of macaroni cheese for me tea. It will be sad not to have Mrs Tootlepedal here for seeing in the New Year but thanks to the wonders of technology, I managed this.
I think that as the poet says, that should be ‘paradise enow’, though I couldn’t run to a jug of wine since I am restricted to a glass per week.
Since the night was calm and clear and the next competition at the camera club is night photographs, I went out to have a try.
I don’t feel that I have understood the point of night photography except for catching badgers playing since photography is writing with light and there isn’t much light at night but I will persevere.
One of the things about night shooting is that you can’t use your auto focus and mu eyesight is so bad I can’t tell whether the shot is in focus or not until I get home, which is too late.
I notice that many other bloggers have posted a retrospective look at 2012 so I had better do mine:
2012: very disappointing.
The final flying bird of the year.
I wish a very good and successful new year with all that you wish and deserve in it to all of those of you who have persevered as far as this down to the post.