Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The Gallery - Nature

My fingers are about as green as a vacuum-packed, surgically prepared, pre-boiled, pre-peeled, pre-packed egg. My dear old Mum won't let me anywhere near her flower beds for fear that I will uproot her prize begonias thinking they were invasive weeds. I don't even possess a pair of wellies any more....

...and yet, I AM a Nature Girl.

I grew up in the rural idyll of the Surrey/Sussex countryside back in the 1970s, before the housing developers moved in to exchange swathes of fields and woodlands with copy-paste estates of mock-Tudor executive monstrosities. My parents weren't well-off enough for a pony, and it was before the advent of computers, electronic games or even decent TV, so much of my spare time was spent in the back garden or pedalling idly down leafy lanes to commune with nature.
My grandad taught us the delights of getting up at the crack of dawn to collect mushrooms for breakfast, trawl the lanes for blackberries in September, climb trees for apples to fill pies and crumbles, and get thoroughly mud-caked tramping through the fields and along the shore of the local reservoir. I even had to be hauled out by three full-grown men once, after sinking thigh-high in the sludge too close to the water.
And then - at the age of 24 - I moved, not just from the country, but to another country. And for the past 21 years, home has no longer been the rolling hills (and ghastly shopping centres) of south-east England, but a suburb of a grimy, noisy capital in south-east Europe - Athens.

And yet, the Nature Girl lives on. Every now and then, she heads off - camera in hand - for a solitary tramp around the (relatively green and pleasant) neighbourhood or up the local mountainside to commune with a bit of Greek nature.
It's hardly herds of wildebeest rolling majestically across the African plains, or the divine solitude of the Norwegian fjords, but it's enough to restore my sanity and get me back in touch with that scruffy, welly-wearing 12-year-old who got so much pleasure from the great outdoors.

Maybe some of my pics, from both the UK and Greece, can help give you a sense of my pre-teen (and pre-menopausal) sense of wonder I get from the small details of the natural world around us - when we bother to stop and look. I'll even award Mandi-points to those of you that guess correctly which country is represented in each photo:


  1. Beautiful pix. Greetings from a child of the Chilterns, also living (with gritted teeth and pathetically Polyanna-ish attempts to Make the Most of a Bad Job!) in a noisy city. I do understand the yearnings ...

  2. "...when we bother to stop and look." Exactly! Gorgeous post

  3. The snails one made me gasp and I had to look a second time to be sure..........eeww!! Great photos :) jen

  4. Snails! I love the snails! x

  5. Wow, what a stunning set of photos.. and there's me submitting one pic off my phone. ;)

    (Oh and we are the same age too. :D )

  6. Thanks for all your kind words - I'm blushing furiously as I write this from my in-laws' country house about 40km outside Athens (stunning early morning view, by the way).
    The photos I take are just an attempt to capture some of the "Wow, that's so cool!" sensation I get when I spot something on my regular stomps about wherever I happen to be.
    Linz, I have to agree about the snails - but the picture didn't capture the amazing variety of their shells. It was like a classroom of sophisticated pre-schoolers had been drawing geometrical patterns over them...
    Today promises to be a little frantic thanks to some urgent proof-reading I have to do, but I am looking forward to checking out all your Nature galleries once I have got that out of the way.

  7. Some of the flowers are not familiar to me (I am from Sri Lanka) but they are all beautiful. In a hugely busy day, a small oasis of prettyness.

  8. Start doing this professionally, woman!! I'm not joking or being kind - you are very VERY good at this. xx

  9. i grew up in the inner city suburbs of a small capital city, but dont have any regrets that i moved away to another country - it's just too far away to visit frequently

    your nature galleries show how happy you are where you are now