Wool on a sheep’s flank, photographed during a shearing demonstration at the former Willows Garden Centre, at Westhay, on the Somerset Levels; 28 May 2006.

The light and textures here get to me.  The dab of blue is presumably an identifying or ownership mark – it provides something of a focus in what appears to be a sea of softness – although wool on a sheep is of course a far cry from the soft material of our cosy clothes!

The Willows Garden Centre was a wonderful local social centre and hub, employing disabled staff, producing wonderful homemade food – oh the cakes, the breakfasts, the faggots and pies!!! – selling local produce including cider and plants, used for meetings of local groups and societies >>> only to be closed down and left empty for years by Somerset County Council, before becoming – of all things –  an arts and craft gallery.  Does that make my blood boil?  Yes it *************** does, as hot as the water in the ************ kettle!

And people in Somerset had their own local District Councils – which were conversant with local issues and needs, more in tune with them.  But Somerset County Council wanted to close those down too, to bring everything under its centralised, monolithic control – but that was thankfully stopped by sheer force of people power!

Somerset is my homeland.  I don’t live there any more, I haven’t done so for a very long time, but it is and always will be my spiritual home, and I am very grateful for that.  Hopefully some of these feelings come out in my Levels photography.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: F6 with 80mm-200mm Nikkor lens at 200mm; Velvia 100 colour slide film rated at 125 ISO; given a slightly warm tone in Capture NX2.


About Adrian Lewis
Photographer - using mono, colour and combinations of the two - many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous, trying new ideas, working in multiple genres. And I've a weakness for Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. bluebrightly says:

    It’s a beautiful photograph – I think it’s amazing that so much feeling can be wrenched from a “simple” image of sheep’s wool. And your story is fascinating. That center sounds like it was a treasure.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      I’m very glad you like this, Lynn, it really gets to me too; the beauty of the living world. The center was a casualty of gentrification, and the present art gallery – the result – a shrine to middle class materialism.


  2. Meanderer says:

    I remember this post and your comments about this centre closing down. I’m still worrying about the lack of cider 😉


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Given half a chance, anywhere can become gentrified, it really gets me down. But there’s plenty of cider around although, after a particularly bad sledgehammer session with it a few years back, I stick more to Belgian beers now. But Tesco do a big flagon of Old Rosie, which is cloudy and not at all bad. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Meanderer says:

        Gentrification seems to have escaped rural Wales, by and large. It has some hippy-type areas, however! I love the taste of cider but it’s too sweet for me these days – the sugar makes me ‘buzzy’ 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Your love of your spiritual home always shines through.
    At first glance, I thought that blue spot was an eye. I guess not where it’s placed, huh? 😂


  4. krikitarts says:

    Isn’t it strange and wonderful how a simple image can awaken a whole cascade of memories of a different time? I experience this so often when I open my archive files, and they come flooding back. And we are so fortunate to have the capacity to recall, to relive, and to share them.


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