For some reason, I often get wonderful views of sunrises and sunsets at this time of year from either my study – looking east, or from my bedroom window – looking west. I have only a few moments to catch the dawn before it fades, so I’ve taken to having my camera to hand when I get up, just in case. It probably helps that I live on top of a hill so, on a clear day, I can see for miles.
Sunrise, January 2017
Yesterday, after a run of freezing and miserable days, the sky suddenly lightened and we had a few hours of blue skies and sunshine. And it’s amazing how different everything looks. The magnificent plane tree at the end of my road, which must be nearly two hundred years old and more or less contemporary with my house, is strutting its stuff.
The plane tree
I live in a terrace house, and one of my neighbours has a lovely winter jasmine hedge which is kept closely trimmed, and its flowers sparkle like stars. They are at their peak just now. I wish I could trim my jasmine to look like that. It’s obviously a knack but, alas, I don’t have it. My jasmine flowers are of the waterfall type – pretty enough, but.
My neighbour’s winter jasmine
Over the road there is an avenue of limes. Their real moment of glory is in spring when the lime blossom comes out and fills the air with an intoxicating limy scent. Bees gorge themselves on the nectar and sometimes lie beneath the trees in a sort of ecstatic stupor.
Lime trees in the winter sun
In winter, lime trees can look dull but, when the sun shines, suddenly that changes. The twigs turn a beautiful pinky-red in the sun and glow.
January sunset, 2017: only one street light has come on, so far
If I’m lucky – and, for some reason, beautiful sunsets seems less frequent – the western horizon can also be a spectacular sight when the sun goes down. This January, I managed to catch both sunrises and sunsets, so I can offer you a glimpse of both. I loved the pink and violet bank of cloud coming up like a blanket in the photo above.
All the same, I’m looking forward to spring.
All photos by Elizabeth Hawksley
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