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

A Season of Fire

I woke to the scent of wildfire. The curtains stirred faintly while I rose from the bed, but by the time I reached the window the night breeze had taken back its hint of smoke. The dim outlines of the moonlit mountains were smudged against the sky and the village lights lay scattered across the dark. There … Continue reading A Season of Fire

The Meanings in Maps

Ever since a child I've been pulled magnetically towards maps. In school geography class I would peer up in fascination at the roll-down map of the planet fastened above the blackboard. There was the bold conglomeration of different coloured countries afloat on the blue oceans, the peculiarly shaped continents, the inset lakes. From its flat … Continue reading The Meanings in Maps

Pelicans Between Wind and Water

Back home in Prespa pelicans are huddling on their nests. From dawn till dusk they criss-cross between the lakes, flying from their fishing waters on the large lake to their breeding grounds on the smaller. Prespa is home to both of Europe's pelican species, the white and the Dalmatian, and is one of the few places where the two … Continue reading Pelicans Between Wind and Water