Tuesday trees

Surely all photographers and artists like trees? Whatever the season they have so much to offer, from the young leaves and vibrant colours of spring, the fullness of form and structure in the summer, the browns, yellows and golds of autumn or the complex yet graceful skeletal branches in winter.

These photographs were taken a few years ago when a particularly strong hoar frost added yet another aspect to the trees.

“Trees have personalities. They’re individuals. Tall or bushy, thick or thin, well-established or struggling, they’re like people, each with its own character. Sometimes as I walk around, I look at people and try to work out what sort of tree they are. Just for fun of course.”

Eddie Askew, Love is a Wild Bird.

Monochrome Monday

Here is the first of a series of posts on the theme of ‘alliteration days’. I have noticed that on several blogs I follow, fellow bloggers will publish ‘Wordless Wednesday’ or ‘Friday Flowers’ and the like. So with my self-imposed challenge and attempt to beat lockdown lethargy, winter woes, and January jadedness, I’ll start the week with Monochrome Monday.

When walking around Stapenhill Gardens and Woodland Walk by the river Trent I am frequently drawn to this Victorian gothic-style shelter. It is in a quieter and less well known part of the walk and yet still close to the footpath along the side of the river. It may well date back to the 1860s when the woodland walk was first laid out as one of the earliest public parks in Burton on Trent. It has been suggested that it was built from stone from the 12th century medieval bridge which was replaced in 1864.

The Victorians were fond of ‘follies’ but at least this structure has a practical purpose and has provided welcome shelter from the rain to countless walkers over the years. To me it has a slightly eerie atmosphere even in daylight. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a hermit in there one day!

The river Trent at Stapenhill

Our morning walk today was by the Trent, mainly because we were interested to see how much the river level had risen. Fortunately not as much as floods in some parts of the country but enough to cover a few of the footpaths making them impassable in parts.

This meant that one of our regular circuits was not possible but it was still an enjoyable walk, rewarded at the end by the sight of daffodils pushing through the wet ground and the remaining autumn leaves.

A welcome reminder that, in the words of C. S. Lewis, “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

Death of the humble postcard?

Looking back over the last twelve months I realised that we didn’t receive a single postcard during the whole of 2020. As outlined in the ‘About’ page, the sending and receiving of postcards has been in steep decline for a number of years and the pandemic has accelerated the decline. We were down to receiving just two or three a year and those people who could be relied upon to send us an obligatory ‘Wish you were here…’ rarely left their homes in 2020, let alone travelled to a destination worthy of a postcard. It’s not that long ago that we would enjoy receiving postcards from near and far, and pin them to our notice board where they would remain for several months until eventually being despatched to the recycling bin.

A few years ago, a duty which made me think more about postcards was that of clearing out mum’s apartment. In so doing, we found an old biscuit tin containing a good selection of the postcards she and dad had received over the years. They dated back to the 1950s and were from a wide range of family, friends and neighbours. Looking through them was a welcome trip down Memory Lane.

The limited space available forced the sender to be succinct but each one told it own short story – of seaside holidays in Skegness, Blackpool or Great Yarmouth or further afield of fishing villages in Cornwall, walks in the Lake District or of visits to Scottish lochs and castles. Later, with the availability of package holidays, the more adventurous folk would send postcards from Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland or Austria. I remember those latter ones were my first encounter with foreign stamps.

Now, with texts, emails, FaceTime and mobile phones readily available, it is understandable that people prefer the wonder of instant communication rather than rely on the snail-mail pace of traditional postcards. Sadly the switch to modern communications does mean that old biscuit tins are no longer being filled with postcards for someone to discover in years to come.

I can’t remember the last time we bought, wrote, stamped and posted a postcard. I sometimes use an online service to upload my own photo whilst on holiday and send it as an actual postcard – usually printed and posted in the UK and delivered the following day so the best of both worlds.

Questions…. Did you receive any postcards in 2020? When did you last send a postcard?