Tuesday, 7 December 2010
I wonder if my kids know it's not normal to pull off to the side of a busy major road in hazardous driving conditions, just to take photographs of a hedgerow? If they do, they conceal it very well.
As I drove to Oxford and back today to collect my son, I was overwhelmed by the sheer absurdity of the landscape near the Ridgeway. Everything had been spray-canned with rime frost, like a stage set, where freezing fog had settled onto every twig and blade of grass. It was breath-takingly weird.
On the way back, I was determined to get a few photographs. Unfortunately, there was nowhere safe to pull over in the most spectacular stretches, so I made do with a little layby where we were reasonably safe from the lorries thundering by in the mist. As soon as I got out and was on foot, of course, one sort of magic -- the broad sweep, picture-window magic of a train journey or motorway ride through a landscape -- turned into another -- the detailed, close-up magic of a frost-locked landscape.
I have rarely felt the lack of a ladder, a tall tripod, warm clothing and lots of time so acutely. And gloves, really warm gloves. Never mind, I got a few reasonable shots of a hundred yards of frozen roadside, and my son got to watch from the warmth of the car his peculiar father doing what he likes to do best.