Tuesday 30 December 2014

the ones that got away . . .

As 2014 draws to a close I've been looking back through the photos I've taken this year. A few never made it to the blog for one reason or another - perhaps slightly out of focus or over-exposed, but interesting in their own right.  This picture of a blue geranium is just a random shot taken in my garden; it's one of my favourites and became a greetings card:

Blue Geranium
© Teresa Newham
 Earlier in the year I visited Sharpenhoe Clappers, near Luton, for the first time; in this next photo I've tried to capture the atmosphere there, which is very special.  Trees are so much more interesting in Winter and early Spring than in the Summer!

Sharpenhoe Clappers - March
© Teresa Newham

We found this ladybird basking in the May sunshine on the nettles by the railway line which runs near our house.  I like the contrast of red and green in this photo, which is, of course, entirely fortuitous. . . .

Ladybird on a nettle
© Teresa Newham
The cornflower was one of several species of wildflowers thriving on an uncut plot at our local allotments last Summer:

© Teresa Newham
My hydrangea bloomed this year for the first time since we moved here three years ago.  This shot was taken early one morning when the light was quite subtle:

© Teresa Newham
The butterfly photo was taken on a trip to Hinton Ampner, near Alresford in Hampshire, in the splendid gardens surrounding the house.

© Teresa Newham
The same visit produced this shot of an ancient and atmospheric tree in the churchyard of the parish church of All Saints, close by:

churchyard, Hinton Ampner
© Teresa Newham

This is a late-Summer photo of the strip of sunflowers which borders the lavender fields at Cadwell Farm, home of Hitchin Lavender. They are all resolutely looking away from the camera towards the sun!
Sunflowers, Hitchin Lavender
© Teresa Newham
The last photo - also taken at Hitchin Lavender - is an evening shot where again I've tried to capture the atmosphere of the place.  In late July and early August it really is a sea of blooms, and well worth a visit.

Hitchin Lavender
© Teresa Newham
When the weather's frosty outside it's good to remember sunnier times and look forward to those ahead.  I hope you've enjoyed this little retrospective as much as I have!

Friday 19 December 2014

Gabriel's Message

hand-pulled linocut Christmas card
© Teresa Newham 2014

This year my Christmas card is based on Luke 1:26 - 38, where the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary and tells her she has been chosen to give birth to Jesus, an event known as the Annunciation. Inspiration came to me on the feast day of the Annunciation itself, which is 25th March;  and it took almost the whole nine months between then and Christmas for the cards to be cut and printed.

For know a blessed mother you shall be,
all generations praise continually,
your son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,'
most highly favoured lady: Gloria!

In this picture, the Angel Gabriel is handing Mary a lily -  a symbol of her purity.  She is holding out her hand to receive it, indicating her willingness to do God's will.  Thanks to Mary's 'yes', Jesus our Saviour  is able to come into the world.

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
'To me be as it pleases God,' she said,
'my soul shall laud and magnify God's holy name,'
most highly favoured lady: Gloria!

The carol known as Gabriel's Message, or The Angel Gabriel, tells the story of the Annunciation, and is one of my favourites.  The version we know today is based on a Basque Christmas carol and was translated by Sabine Baring-Gould (a name familiar to anyone who enjoys leafing through hymn books). You can listen to it by clicking on the first verse above.

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ, was born
in Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,
and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say:
most highly favoured lady: Gloria!

Wishing you and your loved ones peace and joy this Christmas, and every blessing for the New Year.