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Living

Team 2018.

As this year draws to a close, I’d like to give special mention to all those I’ve worked with in 2018. To those students, lecturers, invigilators, administrators, fellow volunteers and members of the public I was privileged to meet – whether for the first time, or once again – you’ve been brilliant. You may not realise it, but you have. Really. Some of you unintentionally, but still, you’re gems. 2018 has been hard work, in so many ways, but each one of you built its story. So, here’s to Team 2019 and the next story!

An extra special mention goes out to those who reduced me to tears of laughter, some of you intentionally, including this co-invigilator...

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Living

Waning Crescent.

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.

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Living

One of those autumn mornings.

‘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

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Living

Home from Home

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.

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Living

Waiting for Spring

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.

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Living

Home Comfort

Home Comfort

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.

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Living

Christmas Light

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Living

Sirene

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.

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Living

First Frost

Walking to work along the River Colne in the first frost of this winter, with the ghost of the moon and a reflective swan.

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Living

One Midsummer Night

In June 2013: a garden party, dress code white, at the Villa Rees (or Alice/ Aliki), Ialyssos, Rhodes, Greece. The sun set, the wine flowed, the jazz played and friendships were made.