A Winter’s Day

After a short Christmas break, I returned to a frozen Priory.


Icy, sparkling,


frosted, prickly.


The valley softened by cloudy breath (if you’ll allow me a little purple prose)


and the ponds frozen hard.


As I crunched about the grounds, I pictured a favourite childhood book – the marvelous Ladybird ‘What to look for in Winter’.  Only I had no herons, the ducks have fled and sadly Bewick swans don’t visit here.  Oh, and there was no snow.  But otherwise ….


My fingers burned grasping a cold metal tripod.  Maybe some gloves, David?


The west pond leaks.  Full with recent rain, it froze and then leaked a little.  Hence this ice-tonsure.  Friends from the village asked if they could throw ice about.  It is satisfying (no, really) to send ice-shards skittering across the glass surface.  Accompanied by an occasional and startling gun-shot as the water level falls a little more and the ice loudly cracks.


Ice skimming done and exhausted by chatting, I hunched over my needy bonfire and alone once more watched a tall, white column of smoke rise against the airless, blue sky.


It has been a fine, bright day.  Happy New Year.

38 thoughts on “A Winter’s Day

  1. Stunning. We were treated to some fabulously frosty and clear days over Christmas. I love that Ladybird book. I’ve got a growing collection of old gardening/nature books. I bought some of the Observer books in a second hand bookshop in Lyme Regis on New Year’s Day. Is 7th January too late to wish you a Happy New Year? May 2015 be a fabulous year for you and your family. Lou x


    • Hi Lou, I’ve got quite a collection of gardening and natural history books too (including Observer books). Far too many actually. And how’s this for anorak? In my wallet is a list of all the Observers I have so that when I go into a second hand book or charity shop, I’m sure to only buy ones I haven’t got. Sadly, my Ladybird collection is so big, a list wouldn’t fit in my wallet. And not at all too late for wishing me a HNY – I hope 2015 brings you further success with writing. Dave x

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love that you have that list. I don’t live too far from Hay on Wye so there’s plenty of temptation for second hand gardening books. I don’t have many Ladybird books though so they’re on my wish list for this year. Lou

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for these photos David. Takes this heat struck, sweaty SE Queenslander to a happier place. For all the 2014 articles, thanks also. Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have enjoyed your posts and especially your photographs over the past year. There is something special about photographing everything covered in ice or hard frost. I look forward to another year at The Priory. Happy New Year to you and your family!


    • I’m going to give up, I’m afraid Janet. One of the things I was burning were my frosted echiums. I might try growing them in my other garden which is considerably warmer than the Priory. D


  4. Happy New Year, Dave! What a beautiful post to celebrate.

    (Gloves are such a pain when trying to take photos. You put them on, you take them off. Over and over and over. If I were ever the kind of photographer who deserved a tripod, I think I’d move to the Bahamas.)


  5. I love the icy globe-thistles and cat-tails….
    so crisp, so monochromatic…
    and then, the robin (!)
    (quite different from his American counterpart)
    so colorful against his drab backdrop.
    Happy New Year!


  6. What a beautiful set of pics , Dave. Fabulous evocation of atmosphere. I’d forgive your “cloudy breath” but not your “airless blue sky”. Nevertheless a very Happy New Year!


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