Tag Archives: fall

Blazing Forest!


Everything is different in the forest.  Sound, sight, but above all, time. Right now, the forest is at its peak. Blazing with colour. It is holding off the drabness of winter. Time stands still. For a week or two, the forest positively glows, in defiance.

Wake Valley Pond

The colour is spectacular!

Epping Forest is still a secret. It’s on the outskirts of London – still on the tube network! And yet I took this photos this week, and the forest was empty. Not a soul. If there was movement it was deer or squirrel. Sound only from birds and wind (plus the inevitable rumble of traffic in the distance…) Time really does stand still. It’s bliss…

The Lost Pond

Quiet reflections

The Loughton Meanders

The forest is predominantly Beech, hence the yellow and orange. Not too much Ash, thank heavens! A tragedy if the disease were to wipe out the forest. Like a thin finger it stretches 10 miles long, and roughly 1-2 miles wide north/south, right into London. An east London haven and escape.

More meanders

Sentinel trees

The forest has been inhabited for ever. Legend has it that Boudicca, queen of the British and scourge of Roman invaders, was trapped and killed in Ambresbury Banks.

Iron Age fortifications

Boudicca’s resting place

Whether or not the Boudicca legend is true, it feels¬†ancient. Time really does stand still. Breathe deeply, refresh, stop and watch the glory of the season. Then, enough, back to the hurly burly…

Ancient pathways

New growth, the cycle continues.

Falling for New England

“A screwey year”, said the walker on the shore of Walden Pond. “Normally, by now this area is swathed in red, full blood red. All very late this year. You should see it when it’s really turned…”

Walden Pond

“Thanks”, thought I, as I set up my tripod on a freezing dawn. “All the way from the UK to photograph the Fall, anxious that I’m coming too late” (can only come during the kids’ holdays…) “and this guy is telling me I’m too early!” That is what is known as Sod’s Law!

By the North Bridge, Concord

Never mind. I have done my best to capture what colour there is. And it is still very lovely, even if the leaves have only just begun to turn.

Minute Man Walk

I really love the beauty of New England. Trees, ponds, houses. It all looks just so picturesque. And the locals are clearly very proud of their history. Lots of story-telling about throwing off the yoke of the bloody Colonialists (hand on a minute… that’s us, the Brits!!!)

Preparing the musket

Forget the Minute Man, I was getting nervous about the Minute Woman. She was taking aim at an imaginary Red Coat marching back from Concord and blasting his head off. I ducked and kept quiet about my nationality…

Red Coats under fire

But the past is a foreign country, and today’s New England is an altogether more peaceful place. Pumpkins, squashes and pecan pie.

And Walden Pond is just absolutely beautiful. No wonder Thoreau dropped out and retreated to this spot. Delightful.

Walden Pond colour

Walden Pond colour

Boat House at The North Bridge

And missing that full blood red forest-scape means I will just have to come back another year…

Dawn peacefulness

The trouble with skiing…, part 2

View onto Col de Fresse

The view onto the Col de Fresse

Having had a jolly good moan in part 1 about the amount of gear you need for skiing (scroll down below this blog page and have a look if you haven’t already seen it), there is of course another problem about skiing that I have to mention. And that is, that just occasionally, quite by accident, you fall over. In this respect I feel slightly jealous of the kids. Lower centre of gravity, younger bones, less sense of anxiety, they just bounce back up and carry on. When I fall it’s either embarrassing or it hurts. And I managed to cram in both sensations this week….

Immy takes a well earned rest (fell over...)

The first occasion was the more excruciating. I had just got off the ski lift, gently skied down to the map billboard to discuss with wife, brother- and sister-in-law which route to take; I was coming to a halt, maybe doing all of 1 mph, when I slid into 3 stranger skiers who were also standing by the board. I swear everything then happens in slow-mo: I realise I’m going over, grab onto the woman who’s next to me, which means she’s coming down with me; she clatters into the next person who also topples. Embarrassment supreme as this English nitwit manages to cause carnage whilst moving at a snail’s pace (do snails ski?). I remember I was apologising profusely in French as I went down. She’s replying ‘it’s ok’ but her look says: ‘plonker’. Skis & poles everywhere as we try to get up again…. What’s worse – no help from the rest of the family, who have turned their heads away as they crease up in laughter and don’t want to embarrass the other skiers. The humiliation!


My second tumble was not as embarrassing, but was potentially a lot more dangerous. I was piling down the giant slalom course, going as fast as I possibly could, when I lost control. Thump! went my head on the ice floor, off come the skis, and I’m sliding down the steep hill backwards at about 30 mph. I distinctly remember whacking my head (luckily wearing helmet – SO important) and thinking: ‘Ouch! that hurt, I’ve survived but I’m completely out of control, never mind, just go with it, enjoy the backwards arse slide’. By which time I’d come to a stop. Some nice French skier picked up my skis up the hill, brought them to me, enquired if I was ok, and skied off wishing me ‘have a nice day’ (?!?!?) For me, this was a lucky escape…

A tumble

Charles, on the very last moment of the very last ski, manages to fall down whilst taking his skis off. Thank God I’m not the only one…! Also I enjoyed my wife taking out my bro-in-law getting off a ski lift, highly amusing…. And below, the intrepid kids at ski school.

Ski skool!!!

So my last photo from Tignes is a pic of me practising my board jumps. Big squadgy balloon to make sure you don’t hurt yourself. Love it!