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A Real Tree


Whenever I come upon a tree which has not in it its entire long life ever been lopped or pollarded or tormented by human hands, my heart skips. On my 5 mile walk today: Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  428 Hits

Cows in a row


This morning on my dog walk making way for one hundred dairy cows freshly milked and let out to pasture: Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  428 Hits

Did Towns Civilise Humans


When we consider the recent terror attacks, the scourge of gang-related knife crime and the higher than average proportion of homelessness in major cities, one has to wonder if urbanisation did indeed civilise humans. There is a theory that the creation of towns, densely populated areas of human interaction by way of trade and skills, was the harbinger of civilisation. Where people of varied backgrounds and cultures came together, a certain liberty also emerged which encouraged the development of trade, religion, philosophy and invention. Those from different tribes found themselves living in harmony within the loosely defined structure of an evolving society. I agree wholeheartedly with the...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  595 Hits

Paris


I've just returned from a few days in Paris which in spite of recent terrorist atrocities, remains shockingly beautiful. They say that you cannot expect to go to Paris and not be influenced by the culture and the language- whenever I arrive in France - the only place I ever go to on holiday- I always feel as if I am returning home. Look closely behind me- that's the Arc de Triomphe which the German Army walked through on June 14, 1940 when they invaded France. The atmosphere in Paris was tense but there were many police everywhere. I felt safe and would urge tourists to visit this wonderful city. PS I drove from England to Paris and it was an absolute doddle- three hours from the Eurotunnel ...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  624 Hits

The best way to relax


We all live pretty frenetic lives- even on a subconscious level we are anticipating the next thing to do on our daily lists, hence the reason many claim to be too stressed to even relax. I know a couple, for example, who take regular holidays abroad (which cost a small fortune) just to be able to escape the mad, demanding pace in their professional and personal lives. For them, Heaven is a remote beach away from everyone and everything. When they're back in the fray of family and work commitments, they need sleeping pills every night. The mad cycle where the mind and body never get a real rest can be ultimately detrimental to our health. Sure, lying on a beach sipping your umpteenth piña col...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  713 Hits

Huge skies north of London


It wasn't until I discovered the countryside north of London that I experienced these huge, endless skies which make you feel that you can touch Heaven. I had seen skies like this in rural America and marvelled at them then. Every time I drive out of London and reach Buckinghamshire, the magnificent skyline begins. BBC3 in the background with preferably Dvorak or Schubert and I am lifted outside of the monotony of daily living. This vista and a melody to move my innermost core remind me of the fragility and beauty of life. Simply wonderful. Funny, isn't it, how sometimes everything we need is right there waiting. Last night on my way home from work:     Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  740 Hits

What that selfie says about you...


I'm in the second half of my life which means that I'm in my 50s. This is a strange time to be alive- no longer young and nubile and not officially a geriatric either. As the body ages, the thought of mortality is ever present on our minds. There is a sense that time is running out and all those things that we would like to still do, well, we may never be able to. The luscious ripeness which women, in particular, display in their child-making years, disappears completely after the menopause. By your 50s you have grown into your face and body and if you don't like what you see, that says more about what's in your head than on your face. I wondered what had become of my classmates from my prim...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  592 Hits

Give me the sodden British countryside any day.


How I wish I grew up on a farm such as this. I would have spent all my time playing with lambs and fishing for guppies in the babbling brook. Some kids play pokemon, others live in their imaginations, chasing butterflies. This remains my idyll where my muddied wellies are my faithful companions (and my two hounds). There is more poetry in the dawn and setting of the sun and in the dance of starlings or wild ducks streaking against a crimson sky than there could ever be in humanity. Photo copyright S. van Dalen. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  720 Hits

My latest article on The Huffington Post


01 February 2017 Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  949 Hits

Sunshine and showers


I was born at 2.30pm which explains why I was never an early morning person or so I thought until I conditioned myself to get up at the crack of dawn. Human beings have an incredible built-in mechanism which allows them to get used to most things and to program our minds however we want, even in matters of the heart. I've been thinking of a former French boyfriend quite a lot in the past few weeks. When that happens it usually means the person in question is wondering about me too. I think we were madly in love once- I use the word 'think' because more than twenty-five years have passed since we met. Were we? Who knows? The fact is we're not together and much has happened in both of our live...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  697 Hits

'Clean eating' = AAaaargh!


I watched the lovely Ella Mills on you tube the other day out of curiosity as the 'clean eating' movement was garnering criticism in the press. She was making a 'risotto' by puréeing squash and pouring it over rice. That ain't a risotto, honey. That's puréed vegetable mixed with boiled rice. Risotto is made with Arborio rice, stock and takes time over a gentle heat. It's a bit like calling me Sophia Loren when I'm obviously not her. I despair and have much experience of being a vegetarian- I used to live on soya mince and other 'good' stuff. Having been brought up eating bloody steak I eventually relented and returned to my carnivorous ways when I began working in London where the pace is re...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  829 Hits

My favourite things


Every once in a while I find something in an antique fair that makes me go: 'Wow!!!' and I literally just have to have it. Here's an example: A disjointed hare. Around where I live, these hares are meant to bring you good luck. Isn't he lovely? Pride of place in my study where I simply cannot stop smiling when I see him. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  724 Hits

Radio- how to make an idiot of yourself publicly


What great fun I've had doing radio over the years!   Sam at Susy Radio, Ridge Radio and Meridian FM. Whenever I have a nervous guest- all my shows are live- I suggest that they think of the interview like having a cup of coffee with a mate and having a good chinwag. It always works and they relax completely. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  804 Hits

Of memories past.


'Yes, it was very good and glad you think so too.' This is a conversation I had with an old lover- I was 25 and he was 50, it was thirty years ago and our romance lasted for years. I had heard he was suffering with cancer and we renewed our contact. When I look back at all those years gone by and the way my life has turned out, I recall that he was the one lover who mattered a great deal. He taught me a lot about nature and about the excess of too much rum and sex. At his weekend forest home he had fashioned an open-air shower with a pipe from a nearby stream which poured cold water over you. Mountain crabs would nibble at your toes as you stood in this makeshift 'bathroom'. A chemical toile...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  808 Hits

The Hunt turns my legs to jelly


I was walking down the main street in our little 17th century village today when all of a sudden the most tremendous roar of horses hooves sounded suddenly behind me. As I turned around I had barely ten seconds to step out of the way as the local hunt, some fifty of them, so magnificent in their green tweed jackets, blazed past me along with their pack of foxhounds, gleefully chasing after them. Both lanes of traffic instantly ground to a halt to allow the thunderous ensemble to pass by. It was all quite a sight which literally took my breath away. If there was a fox somewhere in the mêlée, running for his life, I did not see him. I have to admit that the sight of the hunt is breathtaking to...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  725 Hits

Beef and onion pie to soak up the alcohol, of course & New Year's resolutions


This weekend I shall be imbibing rather a lot of booze as most other Brits will as we welcome in the New Year. At my age and with my life experience here's my advice for the New Year: 1. Follow your own drummer: yourself. People will let you down, use you as  convenience and everything, including their interaction with you is relative and based on their own needs. Learn to be wholly self-sufficient. 2. Remove all toxic people from your life- don't murder them but walk away from them. Repeat after me: if someone doesn't make you happy, it's time to say goodbye. 3. Expect the worst- that way you'll be pleasantly surprised because if you have high expectations of others, you'll fall hard on you...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  725 Hits

A Story of Mushrooms


Found on my walks and photographed as they lay. Photos copyright SvD. Photos copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  733 Hits

The true meaning of Christmas


At this time of year there is a sense of frenetic urgency to overspend and overindulge almost as if without excess Christmas would be neither festive nor joyful. I would like to remind everyone that Christmas is about the Christ. Whether you are atheist or agnostic, Christian or Muslim or Jewish or whatever, the derivative of the word 'Christmas' is 'Christ'. The 25th day of December is associated with the birth of Christ, the son of God who was born of a virgin mother. The resonance of the idea of a Christ being is both powerful and moving. This was a man made of flesh and bones like you and I, and who was chosen by God to suffer and die. In the story of Christ we are essentially reminded t...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  703 Hits

Portobello mushroom and meatball broth


I get home from work at around 6.30pm which doesn't leave a lot of time to make a wholesome meal. I have recently begun making broths- a cross between a hearty full throttle meat-and-two-vegs and a light soup- using meat from my organic boxes delivered once per week. I love these boxes where you never know what you're going to get and you have to be as creative and in tune as possible in order to make nourishing sustenance out of them. Last week I created a lamb and spinach broth and this week: pork meatballs and portobello mushrooms. The pork mince was so light that it moulded effortlessly into balls (never press or squeeze too hard or you'll end up with dead weights). A pinch of thyme, sal...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  648 Hits

On a clear day you can see forever...


...both metaphorically and if you open your eyes wide enough. This morning on my walk: Glorious Northamptonshire. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  612 Hits