May 29th, 2008

Wanaka tree

Southlake revisited

To call this 'Southlake revisited' is stretching the point a little. It's not like it was a major expedition or a journey of some note. Southlake is only about two kilometres from my home and is somewhere I seem to have spent an awful lot of time, especially as a child. Growing up on a farm meant that I had to help out quite a lot. The farms in this area don't have neat expanses of land around them, instead the fields seem to be dotted around all over the place - often in and around other villages. We used to rent some fields in Southlake and I remember spending a lot of time there, milking cows, moving them from field to field or making hay - and that's not a euphemism for anything other than genuinely making hay, turning dried grass into winter feed.

Southlake is named well. It is large, flat and low-lying and covers an area between a number of small villages. In times gone by, to prevent the local river, the River Parrett, from overflowing and flooding villages, Southlake was used to channel the water away and flooded during the winter months. I can remember seeing it turn into a lake with only the tops of the gate posts and the odd telegraph pole sticking up above the waters. I can even remember it freezing over once and seeing people skating on it. The flooding did the land good because it brought much-needed nutrients to the soil. It doesn't happen very often now because their are other flood prevention schemes.

I decided to go there late on Sunday afternoon because I wanted a big sky. It had been raining and there was a bit of a lull before more rain would follow. I wanted to take photos of the clouds and Southlake was ideal because there aren't many trees and the only hills you can see from there are in the distance. This means that there isn't much to get in the way of a big sky. The light was great for taking close-ups too; that weird 'between the clouds' sunshine that comes and goes but somehow leaves a strange afterglow. 


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