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I usually hang my washing in full sun on the deck, but a while ago I had a pile of big things, so I lugged them to the downstairs line. There I found a flourishing lily, as tall as the fence, that I’d never seen before. The rope forming the clothesline had rotted through too. Maybe I hadn’t been round this corner of the house for two years?

So I pegged out the sheets and blankets, and heeded the call to photograph the lily. I have to confess, as usual, that I don’t stick religiously to five minutes. After all, when I’m writing I draft and revisit and discard and refine and try again. Why not with the camera? These photos are the result of two mini-sessions, one with my Sony after a night when we had five raindrops – about our limit in those days despite promising forecasts – and one a bit later on a dry morning a few days later, using my macro-wizard 3.2 megapixel Konica Minolta.

I’m not a fan of lilies, probably because I’ve got it stuck in my head that they’re the flowers of death. But as a photographic subject they are superb. The graceful spiralling shapes of the petals; the solidity of the yellow stamen-cylinder; the delicate green streaks; their crunkling in decay like the wise crepey skin of an old woman. I’m lucky in the background too: what better than the worn wood of an old paling fence?

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Coda

Three or four weeks later, after a day of gloriously solid rain, I returned to the clothesline and found the lily partly prostrated, and the seeds forming.

DesleyJane has my deep admiration, both as a woman who puts pain on hold to photograph, and as a photographer of supreme delicacy. This week she spends her RegularRandom 5 minutes with a posy of roses.