Friday, 8 January 2010

Stopping By Woods 2

It's all black and white in Unmitigated England at the moment. Photographing out of doors usually means everything's reduced to tones of grey, but still very beautiful for all that. If the sun does come out, snow scenes can somehow look very chocolate boxy, but perhaps that's just me. I needed to take some shots of this tower the other day for a new book, and was quite pleased that not only was there no sunlight, but a fresh storm blowing in from the west to this high point in Leicestershire brought not only tons of atmosphere but also a remarkable lack of people. One can't usually move up here without a brightly-coloured fleece hoving into view. Old John is a landmark tower converted from a windmill in 1786 on a rocky outcrop in Bradgate Park (home to the Nine Days Queen Lady Jane Grey) as a memorial to an aged retainer who was felled by a flagpole falling on him. It had been thoughtfully placed at the heart of a celebratory coming-of-age bonfire. I've been coming up here since I was a very small child, but this week it was somehow unique. To be alone in these woods and snowy paths and looking out over hundreds of square miles of white-out landscape put everything into a fresh perspective.

10 comments:

Vinogirl said...

It does indeed look black and white, but very atmospheric.

Wartime Housewife said...

Beautiful.

Thud said...

The lack of vehicles on my fav runs this week has been a boon.

martin said...

You're very lucky to live in the area where you grew up.Occasionally,I imagine,it might be a curse,but mostly its a blessing. There are many places I would be happy to re-visit,but time and geographical distance too often get in the way.

Martin H. said...

Well, martin, it depends what you call lucky. I am living in the house my father bought in 1957, on the edge of the South London suburbs, and very grateful I am to have inherited it. The area is not without interest; for example, Croydon Airport, the birthplace of international air travel, is a couple of miles away, but the area is definitely far from picturesque. I spent my teens and 20s hating it and wishing I was in the Peak District, or Northumberland, or even the Sussex Weald. Now, of course, I appreciate the proximity of the shops. Ho-hum.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Another stunning photograph. Landing back in England from snow-bound Prague (which has its own palette of greys and pastel shades) I too was struck by the black and white tones of England this weekend. But I've had little time to appreciate it fully, what with landing at the wrong airport and having to go around the houses to excavate my car. Home feels especially sweet after such travels and travails.

Peter Ashley said...

Welcome back Philip. I bet the Cotswolds look the business. Particularly around Snowhill.

Philip Wilkinson said...

The Cotswolds look magnificent. I've not been up near Snowshill (or Snozzle, as we call it in our house) since the snow fell, but it should be well named.

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