Tunnicliffe’s Farm

This 1958 Ladybird Learning to Read Book was illustrated by C. F. Tunnicliffe, R.A. (1901-1979), an artist who made a big impression on me as a child. He attended Macclesfield School of Art then went on to the Royal College of Art, where he studied etching and engraving. He follows in the wood engraving tradition of Thomas Bewick by regularly setting a […]


9.47 a.m.; A skein of forty Canada geese approach, honking as they go, from the north-west. The lead bird, followed by the rest of the chevron, has to make a considerable effort to climb to clear the power lines above me. Grey willow, Salix cinerea, grows in damp acid soils, often, has here near ponds. It has […]

Water’s Edge

‘A reed shaken by the wind’ is my subject at Old Moor today. I’ve labelled it as the common reed, Phragmites communis, but Wikipedia points out that communis is considered an ‘illegitimate name’ and that I should now be calling it Phragmites australis. It resists the wind not just by its flexibility and its hollow stem construction but because the […]

After Biscuit

The meadow is already starting to look lank and overgrown, not just because it’s the time of year when tall grasses dry up and plants go to seed but also because its resident grazer, Biscuit, the temperamental Welsh pony, has moved on. The new owners knew what they were taking on. One afternoon a few weeks ago we […]