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Some love affairs never end


Je t'aimePhoto copyright SvD.Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  435 Hits

Endless possibilities


I feel sorry for those who live in cities, cooped up in apartments without a view or a vista that propels the soul into a realm far beyond the ordinary. This evening sky symbolises all that it happening in my life: change, transience, new beginnings, hope. I would often open a book randomly and more often than not, would fall upon a page where exactly what was happening in my life was mirrored on the page. Nature is the book of life and here it is in all its glory. Guess what's happening to me.Evening walk with the hounds. Photo copyright SvD.Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  440 Hits

Bordeaux, je t'aime


The one constant in my life is my love of France. I am lucky to live very near to France and can hop over quite easily. And so once again I ventured off solo with one suitcase and one piece of hand luggage in case my suitcase got lost. I normally drive but this time decided to fly.I had spent many happy years as a student at university in Bordeaux. This time I was going to tour vineyards and take a couple of wine courses. And I should add, meet old friends who I was at university with thirty + years ago.Suffice it to say that my trip was the best holiday of my life and one which I could probably write a book about. We're older but we're the same and how we feel will never change- that was th...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  460 Hits

How to Stop A River of Tears


In my 20s I was hopeful, in my 30s accommodating, in my 40s philosophical, in my 50s too wise for my own good but never too old to change. There is an old joke about what has three legs at dusk. Answer: an old man requiring a stick to walk with. In the process of aging it is not just the physical body that needs a crutch. We are now getting used to waking up to bad news- terrorist attacks, mosque attacks, deadly fires. Rather than becoming inured to bad things the opposite is happening: bad news makes us less reliant on the metaphorical crutch, somehow more resilient and yes, more emotional- suddenly we realise that we had better make the most of life on our terms as there is a very real pos...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  445 Hits

Down at the farm...


Sheep have been shorn of their Winter coats and are spending their days and nights outdoors munching on grass and a special feed the farmer delivers early in the morning. These are ewes which will give birth again in the Spring. Sheep are not that interesting and not half as curious as cows. Sheep are very skittish (like pigeons) and never want to say hello. Cows on the other hand would like to spend all day chatting to you:The calves are one year old and will soon be 'osso bucco'. Here they are meeting my darling doggie. Some calves will join the dairy herd as well.I call them babies and give them pats as I walk past but they are much bigger than me! Thankfully their teeth are quite flat an...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  454 Hits

My latest article on The Huffington Post


29 June 2017Photo copyright SvD.Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  542 Hits

The Direction of My Heart


I have written before about the different types of love, romantic, maternal, etc. There is another kind of love- silent and fateful, an obligation to yield because it makes us who we are. A person can be the direction of our heart. A navigator on our journey through life. I have been fortunate in my tumultuous existence to meet random strangers who were effectively in charge of the direction of my broken, damaged heart. Throughout my life I have met people literally on the street with whom I have gone on to forge close friendships and connections which had a strength of purpose in that precise moment in my life. When I was a student, I foolishly headed for Bordeaux on a whim without any back...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  550 Hits

How To Be Happy


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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  624 Hits

The season of abundance


Summer fruits are in plentiful supply at the moment and the easiest dessert which everyone loves is sliced fruits soaked in a bit of freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice (or whatever booze is lying around, rum or cointreau, for example) and served with sweetened double cream. Choose fruits which are just bordering on overipeness- they are the sweetest. Refrigerate the salad before serving. On scorching days like today this is a perfect light and refreshing dessert.The dollop of cream in my photo resembles a sheep's head for some strange reason....Photo copyright SvD.Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  514 Hits

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

  536 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

  546 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

  714 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 in...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  741 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

  820 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

  868 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 primar...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  685 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

  860 Hits

My latest article on The Huffington Post


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

  1079 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 lives...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  838 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

  977 Hits