The Moon and Venus (and a passing aircraft) as seen at 07:00 this morning, in Colchester, England. Taken facing south-east. A beautiful way to start the day.
‘It was one of those autumn mornings which are devoid of melancholy, when the weather seems to be cleaning its house. A broom of wind sent the clouds above flying briskly and kept the fallen leaves scudding along the pavements, the trees looked as if they were being stripped to let the rains get at them better.’
Rebecca West (1957), The Fountain Overflows
Once upon a time, my grandparents lived here with my mother and uncle. Last week upon a time, I suddenly came across this house and realised it was the one. Now, the buildings and cars have encroached, but my family’s stories keep the place apart.
It’s day three of a big freeze here in the UK. In my part of East Anglia, the east wind is currently taking the temperature down to – 12 Celsius and turning the back garden into an unruly snow globe. Powdery snowballs from the trees, dodged by puffed up birds, mingle with fresh snowfall. I filled the bird feeder in the apple tree this morning, for the blue tits (which speed feed before the resident robin can object) and covered the garden table with the remaining seeds for larger birds. Here, we aren’t used to these temperatures even at this time of year, and nor is the wildlife. I hold on to my love of the peace and light the snow bring. I’m hopeful for Spring.
Last night, I left work with a colleague – we both walk to work and when we work together our paths cross awhile. We chatted about Spring – it was a mild evening for January and the birdsong was loud, there was an air of hope. As we do, we went our separate ways just outside the Roman walls marking the boundary of old Colchester. As he headed due south, up Balkerne Hill, I headed due north to cross the River Colne at the foot of North Hill. I stood on North Bridge and took this view as it took me. The warmth of home reflected on the river as I reflected on similarities with Hopper and Van Eyck and the intimacy of painted detail. Lighter nights are coming on, but real home comfort is now.
Sirene CS434, a fishing vessel moored on the River Colne at Wivenhoe, Essex.
Sadly, Wivenhoe no longer has a port or a shipyard. Happily, it still has a sailing club. From time to time, as well as the leisure craft, smaller working vessels, such as Sirene, can also be seen. A glimpse of the past.