, ,


We’re putting the finishing touches to packing before loading the car ready for Dee to drive down to Farnham. Just to make it ‘interesting’ the Gods decided to dump some snow on us overnight! Here’s the view from the house right now.

Thankfully, it’s not heavy, although the leaden skies keep teasing us with more flurries. The forecast is crap across most of the Western side of the country this weekend, including the ‘sunny’ South so I many have to be inventive with the camera as I was hoping to have a day out tomorrow. We shall see…

I’ll blog about our journey down as it happens, so feel free to pop back and see what we get up to…


We’re on the M1 and heading South now after avoiding the M62 by cutting across country along the A637. It’s a country road that takes us from Elland to Junction 38. The roads windy and narrow but it traverses the hills South of Wakefied and affords some wonderful views of Castle Hill at Huddersfield to the South. To the North you have views as far as the power stations such as Drax. We dipped in and out of the snowline which gradually petered out the further East we got – all in glorious sunshine. En-route we passed this interesting new house. Imagine the 360 degree views this affords you!

The weather here on the M1 is awful. It’s a combination of rain and sleet. The spray’s making visibility difficult so I’m going to finish for now to give Dee (who’s doing the driving) an extra pair of eyes…


We’re off the M1 now which is a relief. Although the traffic wasn’t too heavy the changeable weather certainly made driving challenging.

One oddity was that we discovered a humbug shortage. Neither of us are great sweet eaters – except on long car journeys when we do enjoy boiled sweets with humbugs being a favourite. Normally motorway services and petrol stations are stuffed with ’em, but not today despite us trying several outlets. Oh, the irony, England suffering from a humbug shortage in this day and age…

We’re currently cutting across country via several A roads including the A43. We had a brief pitstop at Brackley to top up with fuel and allow me to have a look at early work on building the HS2 rail line which will pass under a diverted section of the A43, building the new dual carriageway has only recently started.

The Brackley roundabout. The new A43 will come off this roundabout in the centre of the picture. The ‘old’ road behind the HGV will be closed. HS2 will cross the picture from Left to Right in a cutting a few hundred meters North.


We’re on the last leg nowhaving left the M4 at a humongous and complex roundabout by Reading to head South on the A33.

The roads have been surprisingly quiet for a Friday. Even the A34 which is normally congested around Oxford. Even the M4 was pleasant – not a word I’d normally use to describe the Thames Valley racetrack! I’m assuming a combination of folk isolating or working from home are the culprits. But it’s been to our advantage.

Sadly, the weather’s still crap, consisting of dull skies, rain and sleet. For the benefit of my many overseas readers who may find my seeming obsession with the weather odd – I’ll explain in another chapter of this blog after we’ve arrived…


And relax! We’re now sitting by a wood fire here in Tilford, relaxing after the journey down. The weather deteriorated after my last post, the sleet turned into proper snow just before we hit Farnham but the ground was far too wet for it to stick even if it had persisted. Instead we’re in a very soggy Surrey, which isn’t what we’re normally used to, although there’s a certain feeling of festive deja vu as this is just how it was when we were here at Christmas.

But right now the weather’s behind us as we’ve a quite night in. Dawn’s planning on cooking so soon the house will be filled with the delicious aromas of chicken Korma and Bakewell tart to compliment the whiff of wood-smoke from the fire. Me? I’ve some picture editing to do…

I mentioned earlier about why the British seem to always be talking about the weather. For me that’s partly because it can have such a major impact of my job. I’m an outdoor, not a studio photographer so I’m often at the mercy of the elements. Sure, I do indoor jobs too, but the outdoors is a huge part of my work so I’m always keeping one eye on the weather map. I also live in the Pennines which is renowned for its micro-climates. We can have glorious weather in the Calder Valley whilst it could be blowing a blizzard in the Colne valley next door.

The British Isles benefit from the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, but this – and the islands location means that our weather patterns are unpredictable to say the least – and even more so now that the climate’s changing. It’s getting warmer, and wetter. I sometimes envy countries with more stable seasons, which is why I always love travelling in tropical SE Asia where there’s not the same variations and you don’t need to pack to cope with extremes. In the UK we can have snow in Summer! I shouldn’t really complain too much as the variety we experience can make for some dramatic skies and pictures – if you happen to be in the right place at the right time. Sadly, the law of Sod means that often, the opposite happens to me! However, it does teach you patience (and a certain amount of fatalism) to be stood out in the landscape in beautiful sunshine waiting for a certain train to arrive only for the event to coincide with a large, dark cloud muscling in to block the sun at exactly the wrong moment, then to clear just as the bloody train’s passed! Not a problem I encounter in Asia. I sometime joke that in the UK we don’t have climate, we have weather. Whether it’s snowing, rainy or sunny, it’s always whether! So this is why you may notice my keenness in noting the conditions outside.

Talking of the weather (sorry!) my plans for heading out tomorrow are looking dicey as nowhere seems to escape from the band of rain that’s due to sweep across the country which is making deciding where to go rather a challenge. Scenic shots are looking like they’re going to be out of the question, so I may have to decide my plans first thing tomorrow. Maybe a day indoors beckons…

I’ve a favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this blog, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course (although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab!), but the revenue from them helps to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site – and right now (because of Covid), us freelances appreciate all the help that we can get to aid us in bouncing back from lockdowns. Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Thank you!