Smiddy Shaw and Hishope Reservoirs 3 February 2015

After a trip to Lanchester today I made a detour on my journey home over part of the North Durham Moors near Consett.

Smiddy Shaw Reservoir

Smiddy Shaw Reservoir

When we were kids we used to picnic here and paddle in the edge of the water, I don’t know about the picnicking but the paddling was banned years ago.

Hishope Reservoir

Hishope Reservoir

This shot of Hishope Reservoir just a very short distance away shows just how inhospitable these moors can be at this time of year.  A third reservoir, Waskerly, is behind me, all but hidden in the gloom…..

Re-work, Re-model…. 1 February 2015

With the withdrawal of Aperture and I-Photo due sometime this year, I have been looking at other options for processing on the Mac.  Adobe Lightroom is a possibility so I have been having a play with a trial version this evening.  Lightroom seems a bit fiddly and lacking to me but perhaps in conjunction with Intensify it may be quite interesting to use.

Tried a little re-work of this photo from 2011, seems to work…

Northumbria  2011

Northumbria 2011

Rooflines 23 January 2015

Wentworth Rooflines

Wentworth Rooflines

Hilary and I had a quick shopping trip to Hexham this afternoon, one of us for groceries, and the other for wheelbarrow wheels and boiler valves and and such things that we chaps know little of.

During my wanderings, the sky closed in, becoming more threatening by the minute.  I passed the Wentworth Sports Center just as the light cast dramatically across the grey roofline, underneath the even more grey sky.

Rats!! 22 January 2014

Or  “Longtails”  as they are known to my Manx friends have been a real problem here this winter.  As they have not made their presence felt over the last few years, we have not been paying as much attention to them as perhaps we should, and the general disruption caused by the move here and imminent building works may have encouraged the little blighters to feel at home….

Before the “bunny huggers” start complaining, I don’t actually mind the odd rat around but in numbers they are a real problem, first chewing wires in the loft (nothing concentrates the mind at two in the morning like the sound of a longtail gnawing something vital in the loft!), we sorted him out a few months ago before he got into the house!  The last week has been spent trying to control those near the poultry and horses, when you start seeing them in the evening you have a problem.  Fortunately the light covering of snow has made it easier to track the “rat-runs” back to the nests and place poison in the most effective places.  Hopefully this will bring their numbers down to more reasonable levels.  I have noticed that they have been digging underneath the new concrete floor in the field shelter but this morning I discovered that one had, more seriously, chewed it’s way though the floor of one of the hen houses.  Not acceptable!  This meant that the morning was occupied by replacing the floor with new and heavier ply, the hens can now sleep in peace.  From our personal point of view, Weil’s Disease is carried by rats and we just can’t have them running riot over the place.  Hands duly and thoroughly washed……

The joys of living in the country……..

The morning run up the field with the terriers in the hard frost and bright sun was a pleasure but with most of the top of the field and the meadow by the burn still shaded by the trees at this time of year, cold with few opportunities for photos.

I liked shot of the veining in this bramble leaf.


This afternoon Hilary asked me to take some pictures of a moss she had collected, my favourite shot because of it’s graphic, slightly surreal feel is this one.

Tortua muralis

Tortua muralis

Snow has arrived 20th January 2015

The first real snow covering of the winter arrived here overnight, not much at this level, only an inch or so but nice to see.


In the little meadow beside the burn, the light was very flat and wintery but seemed OK to try a panoramic shot with the new Lumix.  Quite pleased with the result.


Walking back along the burn towards the cottage there is an ox-bow forming, the downstream end of which is partly dammed by this tangled old willow tree.  Some of this will need to be pruned back in due course but for the present it is fascinating to look at, with it’s tangles of roots and layering branches, the dead of which are sprinkled with various fungi.

I spent most of last Easter Weekend cutting back scrub in the wet meadow below, and on the bankside, adjacent to the new orchard, in this snow it’s appearance is transformed once again.  More work is needed before the new fruit and nut trees can be planted but not long now.


The caravan that we will be living in when building work starts is just visible, perched in the existing orchard and has a lovely view over the fields towards the Hall.  I would have to say that in the gales it does feel somewhat insecure up there, with visions of a sharp nocturnal descent into the burn after some particularly aggressive blast of buffeting…….

Frosty Morning 14th January 2014

The frosty sky last night was full of promise for this morning and I was not disappointed.  The moon was crisp and clear allowing me to get my only decent picture of the moon in 40 years of trying!


A walk up the field with the terriers and a cold wait while they dug holes looking for moles in the bankside ensured frost nipped finger tips.  Fingers quickly thawed out in time to take a few pictures of gloriously coloured bramble leaves in the scrub.


Back in the orchard Pip was not looking too impressed with her first winter.


And Duck was having a damn good look before he committed himself……