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Views from a cold January afternoon

I often cycle in the afternoon from 1pm to 4.30pm. It means around this time of the year I’m cycling back into Oxford around sunset. Sunset can be a magical time; it also is a time for birds to congregate and look for the best roosting spots for the night.

The photos above were taken on a flat road from Eynsham to Oxford. I have been on it many times, but today took a little detour up a dead end farm track and looked back across the flat plains. I was attracted by the quantity of birds flying around – sitting on electricity pylons and the trees.

There is something about trees in winter which I find more fascinating than in summer. Continue Reading →

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Birds of Prey in the Chilterns

When cycling in the Chilterns I am often accompanied by Birds of Prey soaring majestically overhead. It is fascinating to see them effortlessly gliding in circles, eyes glued to the ground below for prey. Sometimes they fly quite low, just above head height. Very occasionally you hear of Birds of Prey attacking cyclists, but only when a helmet is mistook for a predator.

The numbers of Red Kite have increased quite significantly since they were reintroduced back into the Chilterns, in the 1990s. Sometimes you are making great effort on the bike, and the Red Kite’s above is gliding twice as fast with seemingly no effort.

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A visit to the Palace of Westminster

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Every once a year or so I take a train trip to London. I’m not a great tourist, but I like visiting London – even if only to make me glad I don’t actually live there. Sometimes I end up walking aimlessly around, so this year I targeted a few things to do.

First up was Watkins – an esoteric bookshop on Cecil Road. But, after making the trip, I didn’t feel like spending much time there. I was mostly glad to see some new titles by Sri Chinmoy in the downstairs section, and that was about it. Then I went to the London Eye to get a nice view of London in the sun, but, unfortunately, it was closed for maintenance. The walk by the Thames did compensate quite a bit though.

After ticking off my list of two items to do (one partial success, one failure) I wondered into Parliament Square. I once went to the House of Lords for a function relating to the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run. But, I’ve never been in the House of Commons so thought it would be good to go in. Since I’ve given up politics for my New Years Resolution, I thought I could make an exception to see politicians in the flesh. But, the gallery was full, and I didn’t feel like waiting.

I never really knew, but Westminster Abbey is just across the road. Rich in English and World History, I thought I ought to go at least once in this lifetime, and so I overcame my Yorkshire heritage, and spent £20 to enter. Continue Reading →

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Rainbows at Christmas and New Year

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I took this photo on Christmas Day. I was out on my bike, but suffering from a little bit of stomach upset. As a consequence I was cycling slowly and not enjoying the ride, but because of the stomach ache I stopped to have a look behind.

I was rewarded with this view of a rainbow arching over the tree. It was the highlight of the ride and an auspicious sign for Christmas Day. Sri Chinmoy has said rainbows are a sign of inner progress, so I always take it as a sign of encouragement.

rainbow-Kalamata

On the last day in Kalamata, Greece, there was this wonderful rainbow over the hotel. The light in Greece has a magic touch, especially around sunset. It certainly lifts the spirits after the relatively dark days of northern England. The rainbow colours were vivid and bright – more intense than the Yorkshire winter – though both rainbows had their own beauty. Continue Reading →

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Autumn leaves

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Autumn leaves.

Autumn in the full sun is a beautiful time of the year. There is also a strong feeling of impermanence with the leaves falling from the trees as you photograph the trees. It’s the kind of beauty you want to catch and hold onto, especially because you know in a few weeks or even a few days, the garden will be empty and bare until next spring.

autumn-leaves

Nature’s last magnificent flurry before the quiet of winter. Continue Reading →

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