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Stepping Stones

Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries

Boundaries and borders are made for crossing! Bridges, fords and tunnels are the most common ways of traversing a river. The Stepping Stones on the River Mole at the base of Box Hill are part of a National Trust walking route around the hill, designated an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty in The Surrey Hills. I grew up in the area and we walked around Box Hill many times as children, always delighting in crossing the stones! Rivers have always been natural boundaries within the landscape but the waters around the stones are actually very shallow. Children go barefoot through the waters, often with a net for catching small fish, newts and larvae in the shallows of the river. It’s always made me laugh that during the Second World War authorities actually removed the stones in case of an invasion! They were replaced in 1946 and are still enjoyed by walkers of all ages today.

I had to get past a few of my own limitations to get these photos for you. My mobility is very poor and I usually go out in my electric wheelchair to explore the landscape, nature and local wildlife. Obviously the Stepping Stones aren’t exactly wheelchair accessible! Fortunately they are very close to a carpark just off the main road to Dorking. I’m also fortunate to have a Simon who loves coming out with me and enabling me to do photography projects that would be impossible on my own! He helped me down into the water and then passed my camera and tripod down to me so I could find some good views of the stones. I was in my wellies and didn’t have a problem with my early shots. I really wanted to get views from a number of aspects to show the beauty of the river and the surrounding woodland. There are several things that I learned! 1: If you crouch to adjust your tripod you will get a wet backside. 2: Dogs do not understand the concept of waiting for the stupid photographer to complete a long exposure. 3: Just because you remember the river being shallow enough to cross near the stones doesn’t mean that it’s the same depth either side. 4: Wellies that are full of water are very hard to get off!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Change – Th’ Inconstant Moon

One of my favourite lines from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is “O, swear not by the moon, th’ inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circle orb.”. It has always reminded me of the child that Juliet was, her innocence and wonder in this heavenly orb that appears to change as if by magic. It unnerves and mystifies her, yet she clearly finds it most beguiling. Science has shown us that, in fact, astronomical bodies are mostly consistent and predictable. We can even predict the future changes within our own solar system and beyond. It is thanks to science that I was able to watch and photograph the magical changes of Monday morning’s lunar eclipse that rendered our moon blood-red for a time. Change is a constant in nature and life. It can be frightening when it’s not understood and liberating when it’s embraced.

I also want to say a huge THANK YOU to my beloved hubby, Simon, who sat out on a cold and misty hillside all through the night to keep me company and help me with my gear so that I could achieve a dream and create this eclipse sequence to share with you all! A romantic gesture that even Shakespeare could not have imagined. So as the date changes from the 29th to the 30th, I want to wish him a Magical Birthday. Love him to the moon, and back again :-)

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