tranquility in the vale

Yesterday I went back to Reddish Vale for an exercise walk. The downside was that so many other people had the same idea social distancing was hardly observed at all. However I overcame all of that and got lost in the experience.

Reddish itself is a traditionally working class area of Stockport, which in the last two decades has seen many new houses built and mills converted into apartments that it is now overlapping the edges between its traditional populace and the more affluent Heaton Moor situated on the other side of the 6 mile-stretch of the A6 that connects Stockport to Manchester.

Reddish Vale, even with the mass hoards of people, is a beautiful nature reserve and a place of great tranquillity. Unfortunately the pollen was also out in force yesterday as spring starts to segue into summer, but that didn’t stop it offering a multitude of photographic opportunities, even if it did cut short my walk.

I have to admit I am fixated on the macro lens to inspire my artwork right now, so the majority of my shots were of petals of flowers and transitioning blossom as well the leaves of trees and shrubs. I did manage to capture a coot hiding in the reeds, and maybe on subsequent visits I will attempt to capture more of the wildlife that this wonderful habitat facilitates.

My mood on arrival at The Vale was slightly anxious. I must have been giving negative thoughts too much time and attention. Once again I was breathing life into the ‘what is wrong with me’ cliché that far too often litters my life. My mood on exit, despite the hay fever, was one of excitement; just to get home, put on some tunes and see what I had captured and what I could do with it.

The dominant musical influence on these pictures is the magnificent album ‘We Are Sent Here By History’ by Shabaka and the Ancestors*. A wonderful fusion of jazz, poetry and African beats. I am reliably informed that musician, and master saxophonist, Shabaka Hutchings and the poet Siyabonga Mthembu, wrote the album as a continuous ‘sonic poem’ that demands we reform our relationship to masculinity, to the earth, and to our treatment of each other**. Well worth a listen in my opinion.

I’m still not sure what’s wrong with me though.

Ronnie xx

* Available on streaming services, e.g. Spotify

** From full review on