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When the Light Breaks Through

When the sun’s light breaks through at Thrunton

Competition for sunlight among trees leads to a remarkably consistent pattern of tree sizes in woodlands. And all sorts of animals and plants that live in the shade of trees are also reliant on the sun breaking through the canopy at some times in order for them to survive.

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Breamish Blossom

Beautiful Breamish blossom

One of my favourite films is the 2003 movie ‘The Last Samurai‘. While I find it memorable for all sorts of reasons – the stunning panoramas, the evocation of a strange and often cruel cultural practices – there’s a quote that sticks in my mind. The samurai leader Katsumoto (played by Ken Watanabe), is grounded in the old samurai ways and the Bushido code of honour. In contrast to his relentless warrior instincts, when confronted by Spring cherry blossom in his courtyard, he says:

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My Old Oak

Old oak near Branton

Everyone’s got a favourite place, right? A favourite place to be? A favourite place to just look and see what you can see?

As I enjoy photography as a hobby, I have a favourite location that I like to keep returning to and to keep taking the same photograph. Yes, over and over…and over. It’s an old oak tree in a field opposite the Branton Lakes Nature Reserve, just before the Branton footbridge. I love the solidity of it, the way it stands out from the Cheviots in the background, the wide expanse of the field in front, the coming and going of sheep and people. I say the ‘same’ image but, of course, that’s the point – it never is the same image. The world changes, conditions change. More sun yesterday, more cloud today. More calm yesterday, more blustery today.

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Respite from the storms

Respite

Well, the past couple of days or so has seen a bit of a respite from the latest effects of storm Henry (Named on:30 January 2016; Date of impact on UK: 1-2 February 2016).

There have been some occasional blue skies in the Breamish Valley, the wind has abated a bit (which means I can now go out cycling again) and there are signs of Spring cropping up everywhere.

Breamish Valley respite

Respite in the weather – looking towards Reaveley
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Desmond demolishes iconic view

The gales and heavy rains of Storm Desmond that have been sweeping across the UK over the past few days have been wreaking havoc. However, the effects in the Breamish Valley have been manageable (unlike the conditions for many people in the West of England who are still recovering from flooding of their homes). On 3 December, potential flooding in Powburn was averted by the swift action of local residents. There was also a power outage in Powburn and surrounding villages overnight on 4-5 December for about 20 hours. And, as the high winds continued, a number of trees have been damaged and toppled.

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