All nature has a feeling

Everywhere we look are remarkable things. At the bottom of the front garden, in the black elder tree, right at Kemo Sabe’s eye-level, a perfectly pinkish-grey collared dove sits patiently on her nest, flattened against discovery. The hebe beneath the study window has burst into white spears in today’s full sun; the front sparrows –…

Blow the wind southerly

May is nearly upon us and at last the wind has finally changed. After over a week in which Winter dug its claws firmly into us all again, all springtime activity has resumed in the bustling households of our sparrows, jackdaws and blue tits. However, this change for the better was not before we were…

Ordinary times

If Candlemas be fair and bright, Winter has another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Winter will not come again. It’s a funny time of year; neither here nor there, if you like. Recent early morning temperatures have been all over the place. Over the weekend, crossing the rocks in the dark was utterly…

A new year and a new boy in town

The sea is the land’s edge also, the granite Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses Its hints of earlier and other creation: The starfish, the horseshoe crab, the whale’s backbone; The pools where it offers to our curiosity The more delicate algae and the sea anemone. It tosses up our losses, the…

Somewhere out there – soaring with the birds

Sometime earlier this year, at the height of the summer when our sky was filled with the life and light of the bustling birds, when hope was heavenly, when flowers curled around the stems, toads multiplied and martins chattered in the eaves, I listened to and wrote about Mahler’s music as I pondered their comings…

Much of the hearing of it but little of the marking of it

In yesterday’s eerie pre-dawn light, with a ribbon of cloud running right along the horizon behind it, Inner Farne was transformed: our perspective on it altered, as though we saw it from above, surrounded by the sea, instead of set upon it, against the horizon – the way it actually looks, because that is the…

Each shining hour improved

Plenty of ups and downs this week, and plentiful holidaymakers to witness them. Weather-wise, we’ve had a bit of everything (including this magnificent double rainbow early one morning – immediately followed by the torrential rain which drenched us all over the three miles home), and for the next few days more extreme tides than usual,…

One season following another

Although the heathland meadow behind Bamburgh Castle is bejewelled with wild flowers of all kinds and though it is only the end of July, you can feel that summer is already preparing to move on – particularly when the weather’s dull or drizzly and rather sorry for itself – and the ebullience of the busy…

Walking on water

Over the last month the northern part of our country has been inundated: literally.  Some unfortunate folk in the Lake District and Yorkshire have been flooded repeatedly; unimaginable devastation of lives and livelihoods which has left them reeling, as the rain continues to fall across the land.  This week Scotland is awash, and as I…

Lights, camera, Johnny

Today is the fourth anniversary of the passing of Uncle Johnny. As if in awe of this terrible day, the winds have been blowing ferociously for the past twelve hours, literally threatening to raise the roof and keeping us all awake with worry, and the skies are as leaden and unpromising as they have been…

Berwick-upon-Tweed to Whitby

The sea is tentacular today, the kraken stretching his arms in restful joy out towards the Farnes as hardly a breeze moves above the surface. And thus it was predicted and thus, it is predicted, it will remain for the next few days. Things are settled, and high pressure apparently reigns in Dogger (where under…

It’s those birds again

After three rambunctious days on which Force 8 gales swept down from the north west, hurling massive tides so high up the beach first thing in the morning that there simply wasn’t any beach left on which we could run, summer has returned with a blaze of glory – a set fair sun in a…