Project Tree: January

A Lens In The Landscape is starting a new photography project, documenting an oak tree near our house through the year. This is the first post.

a lens in the landscape

“Winter dawn is the color of metal,
The trees stiffen into place like burnt nerves.”
Sylvia Plath, Waking in Winter

I am starting a photography project this month, documenting one tree through a calendar year.

It’s a very handsome oak tree in a field outside of the village where I live. This month has seen many changes, particularly with the recent snowfall and the ever changing light.

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Grahy 2010

Some photographs from 2010, when we first bought our house here in Grahy.

750 metres


This is the house as we first saw it in July 2010. It was all very overgrown!


The interior of the main house was used as a studio by the past owner and their many artworks.

We finally signed the Act de Vente just before Christmas and this time the area looked a bit different…


The interior looks a bit bare and featured the original open plan and open to the lounge bathroom and toilet. But we managed to get a good fire going.


We closed the house up and returned to the UK. Little knowing that the worst winter in many years was about to hit France.

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Those who read this blog regularly will have seen photos of our black and white cat, Sophie. Sadly, she died of a heart attack last week – it turns out she had a congenital heart problem. We’re both adjusting to life without a cat at the moment, and here are a few words from David on the subject. I particularly miss her crashing through the cat flap when I’m working, and either dropping a vole (dead or alive) on the mat, or loudly demanding Dreamies, before taking over my chair.

750 metres

Last week our beloved black and white cat Sophie died after a heart attack. She was just over four years old. She bravely struggled on for a few days and we had her back home from the vets for a couple of days, but she had to be returned as she was so weak. The vets tell us she had a congenital heart condition, as did it now appears certain, her sister Jess, who died two years ago.

She was the gentlest cat we had ever had and a real character. It’s hard to imagine I won’t see her chasing crickets and butterflies around the garden or staking out voles in the grass. The garden and the surrounding woods were a paradise for a cat and it’s comforting to know she had such a good, though short life.

She will be greatly missed, an integral part of our life…

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Château Lafayette, Haute-Loire

Here are some photos of a lovely château that we visited at the weekend, taken from the 750 metres blog.

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rose gardens and chateau rose gardens and chateau

We spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon visiting one of the few chateau open to the public locally. Château Lafayette originally constructed in the fourteenth century, was the home of a hero of the American and French revolutions, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, better known as Marquis de Lafayette.

Often known simply as Lafayette, he was a French aristocrat and military officer who fought for the United States in the American Revolutionary War. A close friend of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson, Lafayette was a key figure in the French Revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution of 1830. Wikipedia

In the early twentieth century a group of wealthy philanthropists led by Scottish-born American industrialist John C. Moffat purchased the castle to serve as a centre of philanthropy for people affected by World War One. Following the war he renovated it completely to…

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Walk PR 30 (Brioude) – Des Mines à la Fontaine Saint-Eutrope (11km)

Some photos from a walk that we did last week, via the 750 metres blog.

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This is a walk we have done once before and is a fairly flat circular route visiting the villages of Fontannes – Frugerolles – Billanges – Buze – Fontannes. The highlight of the walk was the profusion of wild flowers on the verges.

We also had a brief encounter with an inquisitive lizard!


The route gives you distant views of both Brioude and the Puys.

Other interesting features were this old cross outside Billanges, and the Maison Rouge at Buze.

A lovely walk in warm though not hot conditions, on good paths throughout.


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Walk: ” La Serpentine” PR 408 ( Grahy – St Prejet-Armandon – Cougeat – Cubelles – Grahy) 10km 09/06/2014

Some pictures from a walk we did earlier this week, via the 750 metres blog.

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Abandoned Renault 4, Cougeat Abandoned Renault 4, Cougeat

We set off early morning to try and avoid the heat, but as we chose one of the hottest days of the year so far, it was a lot harder than the 10km actually travelled.

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