taking its toll

I seldom write about things in the news, but seeing that the Severn Bridge tolls are to cease tomorrow, it seems a good opportunity to get out a whole collection of photographs I’ve taken of the River over the last few years.

I used to travel back and forth between London and South Wales fairly regularly by road and was very familiar with the queues at the toll booths on the old bridge. Then there was a period when I travelled from Bristol airport late at night and, again, I’d have gone over the old bridge.
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creative grit

The guy at the pub is right: poems are hard.

Sometimes you have a great idea – the tiny bit of grit with potential to grow into a beautiful pearl – but however much you turn and tweak and worry it, it seems to refuse to gather form and realise its potential.

When this happens, all you can do is put the notes to one side and let your subconscious go on working while you get on and do other things.
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Thames at dusk looking east from Somerset House

River Severn

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midsummer day

Today is midsummer’s day, a fact that always confused me as a child: if June 21st was the first day of summer and the 24th was midsummer, did that mean it was all over on the 27th?

Actually, given British summers, it wasn’t that really all that confusing. Perhaps if I’d known then about the St John’s bonfires, I’d have thought it quite reasonable that you might need to light a fire to keep warm even in late June.

Book dedication: Midsummer Day, 1910

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first day of autumn

bullrushes by the river
I really intended to post this yesterday – on the last day of summer. It’s a glass half-full or half-empty thing.

We’re always so keen to be moving on to new beginnings, I though it might be good to dawdle a bit, like the river is doing at the moment.

Unlike the year we moved here, when I heard the water through the open windows on the first night and thought it was pouring with rain, this year the river is very low and practically silent.

So, however inconvenient the heavy rain is, I’ll have to hope for a wet winter. Or a very cold one, so there’s plenty of snow to thaw and fill the rivers next spring. (See what I mean about always wanting new beginnings?)
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moving mountains

After the storm,
the river drops to reveal
new mudbanks;
slowly, the mountains
are coming to us.

pantano / reservoir

(No, there are no mudbanks visible in the photo, which is actually the point at which my local river is dammed to form a reservoir. But hopefully it brightens the page a bit.)