The Earth That Holds Us

He used the rake as if a gondolier, pushing the long wooden pole out into the briny water until he drew its flat blade backwards, pulling white crystals free of the shallow pond. The salt pan glimmered and shone in the fierce September heat of Andalucía, its crusted white surface blindingly bright. Flamingos cut a … Continue reading The Earth That Holds Us

An Uncertain Country

To listen to an audio version of 'An Uncertain Country' click the play button To near the coast in April is to stray into uncertain country. At times a hot sun bathes the orange groves until they glow. Then the lashing rains return, hurled by the wind across the hills like ragged grey sheets. Mist … Continue reading An Uncertain Country

The Wonder of Ordinary Places

To listen to an audio version of 'The Wonder of Ordinary Places' click the play button. Many of the world’s landscapes are lost to us. They’ve vanished from our lives, become extinct. But they’ve disappeared not because of urban sprawl or the pressures of tourist development. They haven’t disappeared due to deforestation or a toxic accumulation … Continue reading The Wonder of Ordinary Places

A Way Within

A few days ago our winter warmth arrived. Eight tons of beech were unloaded at the foot of the garden, having been hauled from the mountain forests behind our home. It's now been bandsawed by the woodcutters who do the rounds of the village with a tractor-mounted blade, the rising metallic whine starting with the light each day. They worked on into the dark, sawing their … Continue reading A Way Within

This Lavender World

Despite its colour having faded to a pale relic of its name, the lavender in the garden remains an illuminated host. For much of the summer its spires of scented stems attract the bright and the beautiful: the glazed and glossy greens of chafers drowsily clambering about the flowers; red admiral and swallowtail butterflies clinging with filament … Continue reading This Lavender World