Twelfth Night Tales, 5: Adventures in Advent calendar-land

Ancient Oak Advent calendar, 2002; this main photograph and all the pictures under each window (see accompanying photo) were taken in one wood during one winter. Liz Milner

I realise it’s a bit sad, especially when I don’t even have any grandchildren to use as an excuse, but I love Advent calendars! I don’t remember when I was first given one, but I was quite young and do remember loving them from that point onwards as they signalled the paced build up to Christmas in our house, and my Mum was good at ‘doing Christmas’. They were just a picture with little windows you had to find amongst the scene that you would open each day to show Continue reading

Twelfth Night Tales, 3: Bought and found.

On holiday in Budapest one torrentially rainy day in August in 2010, that happened also to be my birthday, we made our soggy way across town between museums and passed a water feature set into an area of grass and shrubs beside a main road. Lodged amongst some rocks in the stream was this lonely glass tree; a birthday present from the city to me?! We brought it home and it’s now part of the Christmas set.

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Twelfth Night tales, 2: the Christmas recipes

Now did you know that this Christmas Pudding recipe is the one that was used by your Great Great Grandmother who was the Housekeeper to the Earl of Enniskillen?…” Well yes, Mum we did because you’ve told us every Christmas since I can remember. But now she’s gone this creaking family tale isn’t wheeled out any more, and I miss it, and her. But we still use the recipe, it’s in my Mum’s neat handwriting, Continue reading

Twelfth Night Tales – a preview.


Sometime in the late summer or autumn of 2015 my friend Carolyn Black who runs Flow projects, began a fascinating project called Story of Objects, collecting stories and images or videos from people about objects they owned that had personal significance. I began a number of stories to send her but I didn’t manage to complete them for various reasons and at the moment Carolyn’s focus has moved onto making her own artwork.

However, amongst the stories her project inspired me to write were a handful about some of the things I get out of the loft every year at Christmas, many of which trigger fond memories, so last year, 2016, in early Continue reading

Black and White ‘photo challenge’ – sketchbook

One of those Facebook ‘challenges’ that I was invited to participate in:

“Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people, no explanation. Challenge someone new each day”

I don’t often get involved in social-media capers unless they are photography-based but I followed through with this one and really enjoyed it – it seemed like a very pleasing way to provide some much needed creative motivation to seven consecutive days and refreshed my looking and seeing faculties. Continue reading

Reward reaping

All that back-breaking weeding, arm-aching watering, and knee-bruising picking at the allotment, grubbing around in humid hedgerows, hot hours in the kitchen, followed by jam-jar crises and freezer-space-anxiety, finally has its (not always healthy but thoroughly delicious) rewards; in summer – blackcurrants, gooseberries, elderflowers, redcurrants, jostaberries and raspberries for fruit salads, jams, jellies, syrups, bottling, sorbets and sauces; and now the autumn harvest of apples and blackberries, beans, potatoes and squash (in gloriously varied shapes and colours) for soups and stews, crumbles and cakes, puddings and pickling, dips and drying, stuffing and baking – and making of wine!

Such a delectable array of colours, shapes and textures it seemed worth preserving the produce and process in pictures – and when I start to grumble about the work next year they can serve as a reminder that the effort is worthwhile.


Summer’s soft fruit frenzy


Late summer and autumn pickings



In the (e) zone(s) – filling up the flatlands


Setting off on a job to photograph Weston-super-Mare’s Enterprise Zone recently, the car began emitting bad sounds and demanded immediate attention from our Motorman in Avonmouth. Now Avonmouth is somewhere that’s always looked pretty dismal in my view and I’ve had no cause to explore it before but with time to kill there while waiting for the repair I wandered about the streets near the station to see if I could find any endearing qualities. Continue reading

Roman walls, Post Office curtains and hidden wireworks

The Post Office Curtains

The Post Office Curtains

Placescape –  Caerwent and Lower Wye area

Living on the far left hand margin of the West of England is pretty good in terms of places to visit for a non-urban day out; within a 35 – 40 minute drive we can be amongst sand dunes at Berrow, leaning into the wind on the craggy heights of Brean Down above the Severn, looking down Cheddar Gorge from the top of the Mendips, wandering in the lush pastures of the Chew Valley, paddling in a stream in a wooded, flowery valley on the Cotswold Way, or admiring wading birds in the Severn wetlands at Slimbridge.

These are very roughly south, east and north of home but, within the same time scale, if we go west we can be in another country, and a different world, Wales. We can see the Black Mountains across the Severn from outside our village Co-op and for me they are always alluring. Continue reading