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The start of Summer.


Having emerged from what seemed like the longest Winter I have ever known, the frenzy of summer has begun. Nature is literally abuzz: apple trees have been pollinated, hedgerows are speckled with Hawthorn flowers, for one short week in Spring, sloe  bushes erupted in bloom, wild birds have already given birth. Nature is in a hurry now and we are reminded that time waits for no one. These are elderflowers and according to folklore herald the start of Summer, the season of abundance, a time where nature is seizing every opportunity and so should we. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  196 Hits

Not an ordinary miracle.


The Winter wheat crop is bolting in our current 'hot' weather. Having survived sub zero temperatures and frost, usually known as the Grim Reaper of agriculture, I am reminded however as I walk past everyday that the crop is weed-free and this thanks to the farmer's once-weekly chemical spraying. I find this image of not a single weed to be quite sad and a reminder of what the planet has endured for us. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  327 Hits

No better friend.


My darling doggie. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  313 Hits

Happiness is...


...finding newts in the pond. Photo copyright  SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  451 Hits

Cloud spaceships and lambs.


On my walk this evening. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  401 Hits

Things that make me happy...


Today in my garden. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  239 Hits

Crop Circles: Secret Finally Revealed!


 They are in fact tractor tyre marks as the farmer sprays his crops. As told to me by this alien. Photos copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  242 Hits

I look like wheat. Animals and humans don't eat me. What could I be?


I have been driving past this field every day and scratching my head wondering what crop the unusually tall wheat-like grass could be. Last week the crop was harvested and over the weekend it was baled.Today I grabbed the farmer who informed me that it is more profitable than wheat or corn (which he has abandoned altogether) as it requires no special care or chemical treatments and the price is stable. MISCANTHUS grown for bio fuel. Look it up. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  709 Hits

Broken promises.


On my walk this evening with the hound. According to Blandford Nesting Birds (Windwood Reade & Eric Hosking), these are Hedge Sparrow eggs. The culprit would have been another bird such as a magpie. I have on occasion, at dusk, heard in the woods as magpies would decimate nests. The defending birds would swarm into the tree where the nest was and in unison, would cry as loudly as possible to scare away the magpies, who emboldened by the fear they could hear, would carry on with their dastardly act. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  377 Hits

The sun has arrived.


In the last twenty-four hours nature has taken off at full throttle. The wheat in the field grew two inches overnight and the trees are beginning to come out in leaf at the very top. A pair of mating partridges have turned up at our offices (they scuttled rapidly away as I tried to take their photo). This was the vista as I drove home for lunch today. Now really, is there anything more beautiful than the British countryside? I am very grateful that I live in this paradise. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  324 Hits

Spring at last!


Spare a thought for us Brits who have been wearing Winter coats since October 2017 - that's six months! The stereotype of British weather: rain and soggy temperatures to match - has never been truer. On my walk in the woods over the weekend I did however spy this fledgling bluebell, just barely emerging to initiate the Spring. To say I was wild with excitement as I stood in the rain staring at this symbol of change is an understatement. I feel as I have been lost in a fog for six months desperate for just enough sunlight to warm my bones. Could Spring be here at last! Hoorah!!! Now if it would only stop raining.... Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  374 Hits

Count your blessings


Photo copyright SvD. A newborn lamb stares at his mate who froze to death last night. This morning the farmer told me he was lucky to have lost only one. Another lamb had escaped from the field and I helped the farmer catch it. All of this before breakfast. Remember, there is always someone worse off than you. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  415 Hits

Think a bit differently now and then.


Revelation: You don't need a bread tin to make bread. Why not improvise with whatever you've got? This may sound obvious but it only dawned on me when I was watching a documentary about an elderly woman who chooses to live alone as a hermit in the Russian wilderness. I suddenly realised: think. Think outside the box in your head. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  418 Hits

Beast from the East meets The Therapist


They say dogs are therapists on four legs. Here's my hound enjoying himself in spite of  The Beast from the East. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  441 Hits

What really matters...


What are the chances of walking into a wheat field, feeling like hell because you've spent the past week lying in bed wracked with fever and never felt so despairing, that you'd spot a heart-shaped stone poking out of the frozen earth? Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  449 Hits

Ahoy!


This sheep greets me every morning, or rather, she races off in that skittish, Benny Hill way as she sees the hound approaching, out of breath, careering towards her on rheumatic, geriatric legs. I love the black patch surrounding the ewe's eye. This is a ewe by the way, that means she's a girl. Rams have broad faces which resemble satyrs.  A ram's face is quite literally one of the most captivating and spellbinding images- it evokes mythology and mysticism in its sheer beauty. A ram's life is especially envious because he must shag the ewes to produce lambs. Whereas the ewes will eventually be sold for mutton, as long as the rams can keep getting a leg over, they stay out of the abattoir. A...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  466 Hits

All Men Are Mortal


News of Neil Diamond retiring from music due to ill health, the death of one of my heroes, Paul Bocuse and also that of Jazz legend, Hugh Masekela, this morning, make for sad reading and the realisation that life is short. All three of these men have one thing in common- they made their mark by living a life less than ordinary and they will be remembered for generations to come. Not everyone will become rich and famous but we do need to have the courage to follow our own path and define ourselves in a harsh and demanding world. Each of us has some sort of destiny and we must have the courage to find it and create our own language. Great sculptors like Henry Moore and painters such as Picasso...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  501 Hits

A Place To Think


This room is where I do all my thinking, parked up on an old rattan sofa. The feathers are from Percy, the peacock, that everyone wanted to shoot because they found his crowing early in the morning, quite annoying. Percy was given a reprieve at the last minute, the complaint was mysteriously withdrawn, who knows, perhaps a horse's head in a bed was involved. We'll never know. Percy moulted in October last year and one of his avid supporters, Sue, who just happens to be a hunt saboteur but more on that later, gathered up some feathers for me. I think of Percy every day - may he live a long and happy life. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  472 Hits

Someone to watch over me


I see this tree which is in a farmer's field near my home every day. There are hundreds of sheep on the farm and had this tree not been protected by the metal fence it would have been munched to the ground long ago. As I walked past the field this morning, the fog was thick, the air damp and the sun, as usual, was nowhere to be seen. The tree shielded behind its metal fence fascinated me. What happens if there is no one to watch over us. No one who takes any interest in whether we manage to survive life with our sanity intact? I get a lot of junk mail and recently a message pinged into my Inbox about homelessness. The stark image of a young child forced to sleep on the streets in this suppos...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  435 Hits

Some pictures tell the whole story of life


This is one of my favourite photos and it was taken as an afterthought as I prepared to leave a French village after a wonderful lunch. I'm not going to explain the how and the when or what the photo is meant to represent. You decide what you see.  Wissant, France. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  465 Hits