Tag: Seasonal

  • A Comfortable Year

    Looking back on previous posts from New Years’ Eve, 2015 almost feels like a disappointment. There’s no pictures of far-flung deserts and mountains this year—I haven’t been abroad with work for so long that British Airways sent me a nice letter, telling me I’d been demoted to a mere peasant in their eyes and could no longer abuse the facilities of the business class lounge.

  • Blackberries on Lammas

    Today is the first of August, the traditional date of the Gaelic festival of Lughnasadh, in honour of the god Lugh. Although worshipping gods isn’t something I particularly go in for, if a particularly threatening Theist were to hold a gun to my head and demand I pick one, I think it would be Lugh. There’s something about spear-wielding sun gods that, if you’ve known me for a while, you won’t be surprised to know appeals to me.

  • Another Year Gone By

    Lights flicker and fade, drawing the year to a close. Outside, the weather is warming and slowly burning the frost away; a tiny ripple before the wave of heat to come, before it is summer again.

  • All I Want for Christmas

    As December gets into full swing, one of the joyous seasonal activities that must be undertaken is the ritual filling of my Amazon wishlist with a bunch of crap I don’t need. This is all to help those stubborn relatives who can’t bring themselves to believe I’m telling the truth when I say “I don’t want anything”.

  • Gathering Dusk

  • And So Into 2014

    I could tell, as we headed back to our old haunts in our university town and the car stereo decided to play VNV Nation’s “Beloved”, that it was going to be a reminiscent sort of New Year. For the first time in many years, I spent at least part of the day with friends in Southampton—friends we have now known for 10 years, and who defined the time in which I came of age. And although we spent only a few hours—in some cases barely a few minutes—in their company, it was worth a lifetime.

  • Another Summer Gone

    A young man of twenty-eight summers, I cling to that word “young” as long as I can, though already it is slipping away. As another summer departs, and with it another year, autumn permeates body and soul.

  • Rainy Evening Statistics: When to Harvest Sloes?

    This morning I half-heartedly posted on Facebook:

  • Snow’s Return

    Snow drifts lazily to the ground outside, lit sodium orange in the glare of streetlights and the lit-up logo of the self-storage place across the dual carriageway.  It settles briefly, knowing all too well that the breeze off the ocean will melt it away before morning.

  • And So Into Summer

    Every year, when the days start to heat up, it feels like a liberation that some strange part of me worries might never come. But it’s here now, as inevitable as any season. May turns into June with barely a second thought. The wind swings around to the south, blowing hot from foreign lands. It rises, too, tickling the tops of trees but bringing no relief to those on the ground under the scorching sun.

  • Summer Calling

    It is past midnight here, and a warm onshore breeze is just beginning to slacken. I stand barefoot between the blinking lights of the town and the endless beaches that sweep up the sea, whole again.

  • Easter’s Approach

    Not too many years ago, Easter fell early in the month of April. I spent it camping in a blizzard somewhere near Birmingham, packing in as many people as our tent would hold so that we wouldn’t freeze overnight. My choice to spend the daylight hours running around a frozen muddy field in a hakama was also, with hindsight, not the best of all possible choices.

  • Of Abandonment and Starlight

    Winfrith’s “Starlight” children’s nursery has always struggled to stay open despite a lack of demand for its services.  After one of many closures, it opened again late last year – only to close again in February after one of its staff was arrested (though never charged).  Now it is abandoned again, closed for the forseeable future, its licence revoked.

  • The Platform Blues

    Hearts sink as the display updates from showing wildly inaccurate times to showing Delayed, Delayed, Delayed from top to bottom. “Signalling fault at Bournemouth”, it says, and we know then that all hope is lost.

  • Pictures from my Home Town

    It’s the end of a remarkably peaceful weekend. Mornings have been relaxed, afternoons fun, bedtimes trouble-free. A can’t remember a weekend where Joseph had fewer tantrums and I had less stress weighing me down. It’s half past ten on Sunday night and, for the first time in memory, I don’t find myself secretly relishing the prospect of peace and quiet at work tomorrow. For possibly the first time since I became a father, I really would rather be staying at home.

  • New Year, Parent Style

    If there is one important lesson that Eric and I have learned this year, it is that the ‘Terrible Twos’ do not stop when a child reaches the age of three. If anything, Joseph has gotten worse – his age-two stubbornness and refusal to listen to reason remain, compounded now with a refusal to apologise for anything, and a bedtime stubbornness that sometimes means it takes hours to get him to sleep. Naturally, if he wakes up at any point during the night, he storms into our bed kicking and screaming, and shouts “I want daddy out!” if I should dare to remain sleeping in my own bed rather than moving to his.

  • So This is Christmas

    Our Christmas TreeI am sitting at home on my own, briefly resting between bouts of frenzied tidying, waiting for Eric to finish work so that we can go to her parents’, pick up Joseph and come back here again on Christmas day. Our usual flustered, panicked holiday season awaits us, every glorious insane minute of it.

  • A Day Snowbound

    The weather, like the best of muses, is capricious and arbitrary.

  • October’s End

    How quickly this October has come and gone! Barely a memory ago, it was summer, and we took the train home along the beach in the sunshine. But before long jumpers came out of the cupboard, then coats, then hats. Suddenly the ground is frosty of a morning, I wake up in darkness, and I return home in darkness. The house is empty and cold, and Hallowe’en looms.

  • A Farewell to Summer

    The day began with mist rolling in over the sea, but before long it turned to morning drizzle and on into a rainy afternoon; big, lazy raindrops falling in patches from the sky. Then as evening came the mist rolled in once more, cloaking everything in dampness and white. Here by the shores of the English Channel, this is how autumn begins.

  • Fighting the Winter

    Bournemouth Tundra

  • Farewell, Noughties

    Ten years ago today, I was sitting in the house of a friend’s grandparents, drinking champagne that I didn’t really like, and watching some celebrity or other count down the minutes and seconds to the year 2000. We stood on the cusp of the third millennium, wondering what the future would hold for us personally, and us as a society, as a species. I was 14 years of age, and I was putting up with second-best as my parents hadn’t let me go to the town centre to celebrate. As fireworks burst around us, the four of us formed a tiny drunken conga line in the street.

  • Endings and Midwinter

    Winter has well and truly closed in, with black ice laying in sheets across the roads, scarf and gloves on, and “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” stuck on a permanent loop in my head. I had Cliff Richard’s “Mistletoe and Wine” in there this morning, though, so John and Yoko are definitely a step up.

  • Cold November Rain

    The rain here is not falling or even pouring. It is constant, pervasive. As you look into the grey mist a hundred metres away in all directions, if you’re lucky, you can make out the merest hint of an angle to signify the way the squally wind is buffeting the maelstrom.

  • The Summer Solstice

    So, without warning or any kind of realisation as to what was going on, the Northern hemisphere passed from Spring into Summer, neatly dumping us off at the Summer Solstice. Barely yesterday I was fretting about Joseph waking up earlier and earlier with the light, and yet already we sit at the longest day, the mornings getting steadily later again from here.

  • Dreaming of a White Candlemas

    Candles burn in the windows of the flat, dividing the warmth of the inside from the darkness and the snow that still coats the ground outside.

  • Farewell, 2008

    Two hours left of 2008 (2G8?) and just like with Christmas, it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it. There were some fireworks, earlier, set off from the balcony of our flat block – but they didn’t last long, and soon enough people disappeared back into the warmth of the indoors. I suspect I’ll end up staying awake until midnight, provided there’s something tolerable on TV, but no-one around here is going out or doing anything.

  • Of Lamb, Pork, Duck, Gammon and Turkey

    This week has been a good one for food. Thanks to non-traditional (or at least not traditionally British) Christmas dinners, I’ve had five different meats over the last three days, if you’ll indulge my reference to pork loin and gammon as different things.

  • Imminence of Christmas

    What the hell? Suddenly, it’s the 19th of December. It’s my last day at work before two weeks of Christmas holiday. But where was the build-up? Where the sense of the joyous release of the holiday season?

  • Snow. In Bournemouth. WTF?

    For the attention of Winter and Spring,

  • Of the Past, the Future, and Premature Autumn Twilight

    By nine o’clock the sun has already set so deeply that it is time to draw the curtains against the night. The sky is full of clouds, obscuring whatever moon and stars there might have been; ready to dampen this town again tonight and tomorrow.

  • Dark So Soon

    Oh, summer, how quickly you departed…

  • Frozen in Time (Harmony)

    The streetlight by my front door flickers into red, pauses, and slowly begins its ascent into orange as the city around it descends into darkness. The sky fades from blue, to navy, to black. It’s the end of another year, as colour washes out of the landscape and all the shops close their doors on the freezing world.

  • Sanity’s Requiem, Epilogue: The End of Autumn

    Twenty-two days ago, as the afternoon twilight fell across the city, the universe’s discordant orchestra started to play, and the dance began. November’s winds blew chill through our hearts, and our search for warmth pulled the world out of shape as we whirled and jumped on the ballroom floor.

  • Yuki’s Fairytale Moment

    For the third time in two days, it’s snowing outside… That thick, fairytale-like snow that blows around on the breeze as it drifts towards the ground – that kind of snow that barely looks real, it looks like the only place it belongs is in the props department for a movie company. It’s the kind of snow I feel blessed to have seen.

  • The Season of Memories

    It’s Winter-fall
    Red skies are gleaming – oh –
    Sea-gulls are flyin’ over
    Swans are floatin’ by
    Smoking chimney-tops
    Am I dreaming…
    Am I dreaming…?
    Dreaming…
    So quiet and peaceful
    Tranquil and blissful
    There’s a kind of magic in the air
    What a truly magnificent view
    A breathtaking scene
    With the dreams of the world
    In the palm of your hand
    Dreaming…
    A cosy fireside chat
    A little this, a little that
    Sound of merry laughter skippin’ by
    Gentle rain beatin’ on my face
    What an extraordinary place!
    And the dream of the child
    Is the hope of the man…

    — Queen – A Winter’s Tale

  • And then… It was Autumn…

    The summer passed and the sunshine faded in what seemed a brief moment… Suddenly, evenings were cold and dark again… The first illnesses of the season… Dreaming of a roaring open fire…

  • Summer’s Dawn

    I think I’ve found the good thing about living in Weymouth… I woke up and went to work this morning, it was a bit cloudy, and I hardly saw anyone. When I went home at 3:30, the sun was out, and the road I live on (which happens to be the quayside) had sprouted about a hundred people and a street cafe.