Autumn has well and truly arrived in the West Norfolk Fenland and today a grey blanket, not of fog, but of steady and relentless rain, has drastically reduced the visibility that is made complete by the sound of the rain drumming on the windows and greenhouse. There must be millions of gallons falling onto the land.
Watching and listening to the rain makes you wonder where it all goes and that thought took me back to a question I asked a local farmer when we first moved into the area five years ago. ‘What’s the difference between a ditch, a dyke and a drain?’ The answer was simple really; he said ‘just think that ditches drain into dykes, dykes drain into drains and the drains drain into main drains.’ There, crystal clear, just like the water. However he inevitably added the caveat that this was his rule of thumb and others might think differently; so far just typical of West Norfolk then. (more…)
It was strange how fast November happened. On Halloween we climbed the Dragon’s Back, a ridge at the western edge of the Black Mountains near where I live in Mid Wales, and the kids basked in the sun on the rocks by the cairn, stripped down to vests, and refused to come back down until it was nearly dark.
The month announced itself in style: we spent its first day driving through Herefordshire in a thick fog that picked out every cobweb and leaf edge. On the second, sick of all the gloom, I climbed the Dragon’s Back again, and halfway up found myself in the same warm sunshine as two days previously. There was a thin black line marking the top of the Begwns and the Radnor hills to the north; to the west, the peak of Pen-y-Fan pointed out of the murk; closer by, I could see Mynydd Troed and the hills beyond the pass marked out against the contours of cloud poured into the valleys. (more…)
A detail of the front cover of ‘The Bonniest Companie’. Art by Olivia Lomenech Gill
Whit seek ye here? There’s noucht hid i' wir skelly lums bar jaikies’nests.
Taken from the collection ‘The Bonniest Companie'(Picador). Available to purchase in the Caught by the River shop.
Kathleen will be joining us at Caught by the River Calder, 22-24 January. More information
My booted foot hits the soaking grass and the water droplets perch on my toe cap like transparent pearls. They do not soak the leather – discolouring it as they usually seep into its tiny pores – they are apart, solitary beads of winter rain.
Now is the time of year where the wardrobe changes, where pullovers emerge from summer slumber, where the boots come out and the dubbin goes on. (more…)