Over many years I have grown to love my husband's piece of the North Bedfordshire countryside. Pheasants, partridges, hares, foxes, badgers, deer, rabbits and lots of other creatures all call it home. Ancient oaks, ash, field maple, chestnut, willow, sloe and hawthorn form the majority of its woods and hedgerows.
Snowdrops, primroses, violets and wood anemone carpet the ground in Springtime. Bluebells follow them. My favourite flower, the wild English dog rose sprays out from the hedges in June, followed by glistening red hips in September. The ground contains fossils of seashells and prehistoric animals.
Smooth pebbles - black, yellow, white and rust lie among the flints where they were deposited by the giant river flowing South as the glaciers melted at the end of the last Ice Age. Layers of grey and yellow clay, sand and gravel all tell their own story. The narrow strip of wood on the ridge was a lookout point over what was once the border between Saxon and Viking territories. From this ridge 5 churches can be seen, all of which have offered sanctuary in past disturbed times as well as being centres of spiritual life.
The names of the fields are ancient, their origins lost. Long Close describes itself, but Thunderpits? Sanfoin? And who was Dickens, who left his name in a field? The Lower Meadow still retains its dips and folds from medieval times when villagers tilled narrow strips of land.
Our fields were once on the dividing line between the Danes and the Saxons
Bluebell time in our wood
My son and his wife live in Florida, a couple of miles from Siesta Beach, which has been voted the best beach in America. I am fortunate enough to be able to psend time with them each January, soaking up the sunshine and inspiration.
Sunset on Siesta Beach
Photographimh Chihuly's work is fun! Wish I had this 20 foot high sculpture at home.
Polly came to us from a rescue centre in 2009. She was skinny after the birth of pups when she was barely two, and still recovering from a variety of ailments. The vet's bill at the rescue centre must have been enormous. She's adorable and has made herself completely at home. Not for nothing is she nicknamed 'Princess Polly'.
Polly on her first day in her new home, a bit shy.
She took to quilts like the proverbial duck!
Enough inspiration? Oh yes, the land's moods and colours have strongly influenced my quilts. I have spent many happy hours dog-walking on our land, dreaming and planning colour schemes and designs.
At last I have decided to embark on a series of quilts that reflect my surroundings in the flood plain of the River Ouse. Look for them in my Journal Quilts.
The River Ouse flows past the village
Toby doing what he liked to do best - bark!