Yorkshire Dales – blossom, dry-stone walls, Malham Tarn and trees.


Malham Tarn is just gorgeous. The countryside is spectacular.

The train journey from Ribblehead to Appleby across Wernside

Travel and photography

The picturesque railway journey from Ribblehead

To Garside

goes past some of the most beautiful scenery in England. It goes up Wernside to Dent – the highest station in England.

A beautiful journey!

Poetry – I Fell In Love

I Fell In Love

I fell in love with you

                The first time

                                My eyes opened;

As you swirled and spun

                In your green and blue raiment,

With your white wisps

                Of gossamer

                                Covering your curves.

I fell in love with you

                As seasons changed

                                The colours of your clothes,

As creature played

                Among the fabric

                                Of your dress,

As night and day

                Played with the

                                Shadows on your face.

I fell in love with you.

Opher – 16.12.2019

This is my ode to the planet, to nature, the mother of us all; an ode to the majesty and beauty of our maternal home.

What is there not to love about such splendour, such grace and such mystery?

It is an honour to call this home, to look out in wonder at a whole universe.

It is incredible to close ones eyes and imagine us spinning through space in this cosmic dance around the sun, around the galaxy, through the cosmos.

It blows my mind.

Poetry – The Last Gasp

The Last Gasp

With the last desperate gasp

She slumped back on to the floor and was still.

Outside the birds sang in the pruned apple trees,

The spiders span their webs in the trimmed hedges,

Rabbits nibbled grass in the field at the back

And mice slipped through the foliage of the hedgerows – unseen.

Inside the house it was still, as if holding its breath in disbelief.

The car sat in the drive and everything was as neat and tidy as normal.

Except this was a new normal.

All over the world it was the same story.

Creatures hesitantly tested the extent of their jurisdiction

As they warily adjusted to the new world,

Keeping one eye on the look-out for man.

But there was no man to be seen.

In time they would forget.

In time the boundaries would disappear.

It had been so quick.

One minute there were lawns being mown, roads being laid and trees being felled –

One minute the world was full of cars, chainsaws and guns,

And the next it was quiet, holding its breath, before exhaling a new song of joy.

It did not take long.

The roots and spores soon set to work.

Concrete cracked, wood rotted and plants grew unchecked.

No more herbicides and pesticides –

A plethora of weeds, trees and insects –

A profusion of creatures large and small –

Without hindrance or cull

The predators had food a-plenty.

The seas unfished and freshened;

The air clear and scented;

The soil reinvigorated.

As grey turned green and life teemed

Evolution worked overtime to plug the gaps that man had hollowed out –

The mega-beasts, the balance and harmony, the variation and abundance.

And over a million years the bones

Compressed in rock

Were the only reminder of the days of disaster.

Opher 22.10.2016

The Last Gasp

I have been thinking of writing a novel about a world to come, when mankind has had his day and the planet passes out of the Anthropocene and into a new age.

Without man it would not take long for all our structures to crumble away, for the plants and animals to reassert their presence and for the world to once more teem with life.

Without man the air and water would be pure and the soil cleansed so that balance could be restored.

Without the artificial farming of the most fertile land it would soon return to its natural climax and become rich in habitat and possibility. It would rapidly reassert a new harmony and balance.

It would provide impetus for a new burst of evolution as mutation threw up new possibilities to fill the gaps that mankind has wheedled out. Unchecked new species would emerge to exploit the abundance and changing ecosystems. The planet would soon recover.

Within the brief expanse of a million years or two it would be a rich new world of possibility, and there, buried in the rocks, would be the bones left to tell a terrible story of desperate days when a savage beast ravaged the land and relentlessly tainted and destroyed – a beast of intelligence, imagination and skill who proved himself none too clever, had his day and departed the scene.

I could not think how to write that novel with no characters to focus on, no survivors at all, so I condensed it into a poem.

Poetry – Magic’s Gone

Magic’s Gone


Smooth snake tail,

Tiger tooth –

Now as rare as the Holy Grail.

Rhino horn,

Gorilla’s nail,

Not enough left

To even make one spell.

All the magic’s gone

Out of the world.

Sold down the drain

For a crock of gold.

Hardwood tree,

Chimpanzee too,

Mighty lion

From Timbuktu,

Whale and bear

Melted down for glue.

Before it’s all gone

What are we going to do?

All the magic’s gone

Out of the world.

Sold down the drain

For a crock of gold.

Opher  13.12.2015

Magic’s Gone

When I was a child the world was full of magic. I’d run in the flower-laden meadows all full of grasshoppers, beetles, bees and butterflies. The whole air trilled and whiffed with their sound and scent. I fished in the ponds and streams for sticklebacks, frogs, newts and toads. There were lizards, slowworms and snakes, voles, mice and hedgehogs.

It was a world that was alive with magic – the magic of nature.

I read stories of the impenetrable jungles where the gorillas, orang u tangs and elephants roamed. The seas were full of fish. The bears, tigers and lions strode through the wilderness and the wildebeest herds were measured in millions.

That was magic.

Now the logging companies have built in their roads, the hunters have followed them in and the impenetrable has become accessible. The jungles have been drastically reduced. Soon they will be gone.

Now the population of the world has more than doubled and they are gobbling up land, wild-life and resources. The jungles are burnt down and cleared; the animals driven out and hunted for bush-meat in an endless slaughter.

Now the ponds are filled in and the streams culverted. The meadow flowers no longer scent the air. The insects no longer buzz. The herbicides and pesticides have done their job. The streams are muddy ditches devoid of stickleback, frog and newt. The fields look drab and lifeless.

The magic is gone.

As the last vestiges of chimpanzee, gorilla, tiger, rhino and elephant now hang on a knives edge and are being hunted to extinction; as the mining and logging companies move relentlessly forward; as the population continues to explode – we’re selling the future for a greedy present.

How can we bring the magic back? Are we going to allow it to die completely?