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:

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Back to my roots....

It's been a while since I rabbited away on this wee Blog-o-mine, and you'd be forgiven for thinking I'd got bored and packed it all in.

In the best tradition of end-of-term school reports, I "must do better" and I promise that I shall try.

Meanwhile, as a reminder that I am still alive and kicking, I'm giving you a photo dump of my recent trip to the UK, which included two funerals, a week of glorious sunshine, some serious quality time with my folk back in Blighty and a rather magnificent Sunday in the Park (said park being Hyde Park, said Sunday being 27 June - the last day of the Hard Rock Calling festival featuring Crowded House, Elvis Costello, Crosby Stills & Nash, Paul McCartney and 50,000 barefoot maniacs having a good time as the sun beat down).

First, some scenes from my mother's small but perfectly formed back garden....

Then some days out in town and country...

Then there was that day in the park.

and finally, a small something that made me smile...