Beetle flower

Beetle flower

It looks like an army of pink beetles clustered together, ready to crawl to the next place. I chanced across this beautiful yet beguiling floral in an arid, out of the way spot on the coast of south-east England.

Is it beautiful or vile? Can any nature buffs put a name to this specimen?…

A bite of Belgium

This was a midsummer jaunt across the North Sea to our continental neighbour Belgium. What should have been a sun-blistered long weekend was dogged by inclement weather, and mostly spent dodging sharp showers and regretting the decision not to pack more appropriate attire.

These photographs were gathered from two cloudy day trips, exploring the capital Brussels and visiting the coastal city of Oostende, where the promise of cycling along the seaside boardwalk was replaced with umbrellas. While blue skies were a rare sight, the wet weather provided rich reflections, dramatically leaden skies and a wealth of detail. Bravo Belgium.

Warm thanks to Bart Vandenberghe for his hospitality, humour and enthusiasm.

Click first image to view this selection

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Summer house

This is a very pleasant obsession of the Swedish nation. A great love is to have a second home in the countryside or by the coast – a rustic escape from the trials and tribulations of everyday life in the city. Many Swedes enjoy a long holiday during the summer months, and the sommurstuga is a base for walks in the woods to pick berries, taking bicycle rides and enjoying an evening barbecue. It’s called getting away from it all.

The summer house I visited is a solid, rugged wooden home with an orchard and meadow surrounded by tall handsome trees. A flagpole proudly flies the nation’s light blue and yellow flag. Redcurrants and wild strawberries grow in the garden, which is a peaceful idyll for enjoying the short Swedish summer.

Thank you to Bodil and Anja for their warm welcome and allowing me to prowl around with my camera.

Click first image to launch the gallery

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By the lake

By the lakeA lakeside vision. The stillness of the water. A tantalising view of the other shore. The symmetry of the carefully cultivated and pruned trees. Only the best is good enough for royalty, in this case the royals of Sweden. I captured this view at the castle of Gripsholm, set on an island 60km to the west to the Swedish capital Stockholm on a Scandinavian summer’s day. Well worth a visit…

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