Winter to Summer Solstice

Day 1

An inversion of fog has sunk below the mountains tops and settled on our tiny village. All around us the world has alerted into an underdeveloped sepia photograph with blurred edges and featureless faces.

The old mill, Killin

With such an abundance of thick fog, the village has felt cold and eerily dark. Its no surprise then that the the arrival of winter solstice yesterday was heartily welcomed.

An alter to welcome the return of the light

My wife and I did our first solstice ritual which, amongst other things, involved the lighting of candles and thinking of what the coming light means to us.

New life

The first warmth of the sun on my skin

The transformation of nature

Clean washing hung on the washing line

The sound of birds in the trees

New growth in the garden

Taken in Arbroath Scotland.

I am going to start recording my journey from winter to summer solstice, starting today, with the hopes of becoming more aware of the changing light. I feel this gives me an opportunity to take a moment at sunset to gather my thoughts, be still, and record what I see. A mindful moment.

Day 1 Sunset 15.41 UK

I was in B&M, so certainly not a mindful moment, but an awareness of the time lingered in the periphery of my mind. We came in for wool, because Helen wanted to start a new crochet project, and I needed dry stuffing mix for the Christmas dinner. Helen wheeled off in her wheelchair while I headed to the vegan section to see what bargains I could pick up. Five minutes later, and with a basket half filled with groceries that I didn’t need, Helen wheeled up behind me with a bewildered look on her face.

‘They’ve started selling Cherry Ripe, it’s my absolute favourite chocolate bar. I audibly gasped when I saw it. But it isn’t vegan.’

There was a look of disappointment on her face, but a glint of a memory pulled her lips into a soft smile and she was temporality transported to Australia, to a different time, to a time before us, before Scottish mountains, cold inversions and wheelchairs, to a time that shaped my wife into the woman she is today. I never saw her taste her first Cherry Ripe bar, but maybe one day, perhaps on a cold winters afternoon, when a cloud inversion has transformed the world into a blurred photograph, we will share our first vegan Cherry Ripe bar together. Until then, I will sit for a moment, after this post is sent out into the world, and listen to her tell me of that first taste, and learn something new on the first day of the coming light.

A Scottish Jig

Taken at Bannockburn House

There is so much going on in this photograph and that’s why I took it. It was taken outside the 17th century mansion Bannockburn House. Notice the man in his traditional Scottish dress, the wheelchairs – one neatly placed, one abandoned. Then there is the bike propped under a window beside a 1980’s wire bin.


Using the photograph above, write a short story or poem about arriving late to a party and finding yourself back on 1984. When did you realise and how? Who was there that you haven’t thought about in a long time? How was everyone dressed, what music was playing and what was on the buffet?

Have a ball and happy writing.


Point of view

I love a mirror in the garden

If you are struggling to write about something from a particular point of view and not quite hitting the mark, or if you are stuck in a certain scene – change your perspective. 

Example: I stood at the back door and watched the sunset. The orange sky stretched across the horizon, widening the earth. From where I stood, the hills were on fire. I want to put my trainers on and run. I wanted to run into the sun and far away into those glorious orange hills.
I looked to Joanna, who sat drawing, her chair turned away from the dazzling light. She smiled.

Now change perspective.

Joanna sat with one foot resting on the table, and a drawing pad balanced on her knee. She’d drawn the framed mirror first, then carefully sketched the lines of the six-foot fence. The plant pots were easy, but those damn lanterns, she just couldn’t get them right. In the mirror she could see that the sun was setting, the colours in the frame changed, adding pinks and purples to the fence, and the silver pot rims were dazzled with orange. She heard Bella at the back door. Wow, she heard her say, and Joanna guessed it was the sun set that caused the reaction. She wondered if the hills looked epic, like that time Bella had taken her to the park at dusk. She smiled, not only at the memory but at how beautiful the garden looked in the mirror. She took the brake of her chair and turned around.  

By changing perspectives we now know more about the garden, about Joanna, and about Bella. Now if we were to go back to Bella’s pout of view we could expand the scene:

I stood at the back door and watched the sunset. The orange sky was stretched across the horizon, widening the earth. From where I stood, the hills were on fire. Wow. I said. Joanna sat in the garden. She had one foot rested on the table and a drawing pad balanced on her knee. She’d stopped drawing and I could see how hard she’d worked on the picture, each fence slat was perfectly aligned, the curve of the pots and even the lanterns looked perfect.

How does it look from up there? she asked.

You’ve done a brilliant job. I said.

No silly, the sunset.

Incredible. I said. Turn around.

I can see it from here. she pointed at the mirror. 

I felt a familiar gnawing in my stomach as the guilt of what had happened crept in. I wanted to put my my trainers on and run. Run into the sun and far away into those glorious orange hills.

Joanna smiled.

Now the story has a new slant. Changing perspective opens up opportunity. Why not have a go yourself and be sure to let me know how it goes.  

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