Posts

Showing posts from March, 2009

Wild flowers

Image
Normally I charge through the churchyard at a rate of knots as it is right at the end of the walk. Accompanied by a very bored dog, I got down on my knees (appropriately enough, I suppose) and looked at the flowers.



Speedwell:





A violet - I think possibly a cultivated and not a wild variety. The first photograph went wrong but I prefer it to the one which went right.






Have not the faintest clue what this is, though I ought to know. I actually thought it was groundsel, but then found that was something completely different, and not even the same colour.



Shepherd's Purse.


Red dead nettle.



My Little Pony goes cool

I never thought it would be possible. A My Little Pony I wouldn't mind giving house room too. Just do hope, though, that they never meet this.

The garden's growing without me

Image
What well tempered things gardens can be. Despite absolutely no input from me for months, flowers are flowering.


Fortunately the wildlife needs no input from me anyway (and, as I like to tell myself, benefits from my idleness. My heaps of uncleared leaves are a refuge for something, I'm sure.) Bees have been out for a couple of weeks, and I also saw Brimstone, Tortoiseshell, Comma and Large White butterflies. Even with the zoom, couldn't get close enough to photograph, as the butterflies seemed to object to my doggy follower. As she likes to eat butterflies, I could see their point.


















Charity Shop Shopping

I got quite excited when I picked up The Times on Saturday: Charity Shop Chic it said. Ooh I thought. I love charity shop shopping: without it I would have precious little to wear, so I was hoping for an article that might add to my store of knowledge.

Lisa Armstrong, The Times' fashion editor, has by her own admission not bought anything in a charity shop since 1985, so her advice was not, actually, a great deal of help. It amounted to a lengthy puff for Mary Portas' new tv programme on helping re-vamp charity shops, and remarkably little in the way of advice for those new to charity shop shopping.

I am not new to charity shop shopping: my annual clothing budget is miniscule. With the house-that-eats-money (and yes, I'll admit it, a serious book habit as well), there is not a lot left over. So for those of you who are newly credit-crunched, clobbered by ever-increasing bills or who have houses, horses or children who eat gold, here is my guide to charity shop sho…

Lichen

Image
Still on my thing about lichen, here are some more pictures. I did a tentative Google to see if there was a quick and easy guide to lichen identification. Once the guides mentioned the fact that the colour can change according to whether the lichen's growing in sun or shade, and that a bottle of bleach is a handy thing to have about you to fine-tune your identification, I'm afraid I gave up. Oh, and there's also around 15,000 of them.


So, for the moment, I am content to admire and remain ignorant, but what an amazing thing lichen is.







The ones below were growing on a silver birch. It was warm and sunny and these little black and red ladybirds were just stirring.




Watching the world as it goes by....

Image
Missis is just boring, boring, boring..... All she does is fiddle about with piles of books and moan and faff about with the camera. Could life get any more dull?


Nope.

Walk in the Woods

Image
This actually all happened on Sunday, but life has been so hectic since then (as I will insist on buying more books, even though I know full well what chaos it will throw me into) that this is the first chance I've had to upload anything.






Just as I was focusing on the other side of Big Foot Pond, there was a huge splash as the labrador decided she could no longer resist all that lovely water, followed by frantic re-focusings from me to try and get her immortalised at her most otter-ish.



There has been a lot of clearance here: the country park was once an ironstone quarry, and the bit below has been overgrown for years. It now looks a bit like one of the circles of hell (though perhaps that's a bit of a poor analogy as it's distinctly underpopulated by suffering souls).



Whether this is a strange catkin from this year, or a hanger-on from last I do not know, but I like it.

The Dream and Reality

I love the bit where they're eating the pony nuts. I used to like flaked maize (does anyone feed flaked maize anymore?) particularly if I could dip it in the molasses bucket. Yum.

I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade

Image
Diane Lee Wilson: I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade
Harper Trophy: $11.99

available secondhand on Amazon UK


The author's profile on Simon & Schuster


If you count a pony book as one in which girl gets pony (or horse) against all the odds, then this definitely is one, thought not one set anywhere most readers would recognise. This is a story set in the 14th century Mongolia of Kublai Khan, on the Steppes populated by nomadic groups and their horses. The book is told in flashbacks by Oyuna, who when the book opens, is a grandmother. As they watch a foaling together, Oyuna tells her grand daughter about her childhood. Oyuna's foot was crushed when a mare trod on her, and after that she had to fight against what her parents saw as bad luck. What she longs to do is find a horse fast enough to win the long race in the festival at Karakorum. The horse she finds is not the conventional speedy speed: it is an aged white mare, Bayan, and Oyuna chooses the mare after she hears her speak…

New catalogue

At last, the new catalogue is online. As ever, I have not managed to read all the things I wanted to which are for sale, so now begins the slightly perverse process where on the one hand I want to sell books (so handy when one wants to buy food) but on the other I don't want them to go so quickly that I don't have chance to read and comment on all the stuff I haven't read. Hey ho.

Spring is springing

Image
Funny how a certain combination of blue and green makes any view look like a postcard shot.



Yew flowers. The yew in the front garden is billowing great clouds of pollen dust every time the wind blows.



Vetch foliage.







I do like the way the lichen has taken what was a pretty unprepossessing fence post of reinforced concrete and made it really rather beautiful. I am a bit of a lichen nut anyway, and like the one on the elder buds above: not lichen nut enough to be able to identify any. Maybe it's about time I learned.



There are still a lot of beautiful hangovers from winter: I was always fascinated by the ash tree in the garden at home when growing up and used to love waiting for the keys to spiral down to earth.



So much of what I know about the natural world came from Enid Blyton's Book of Nature, now thankfully reissued. Alas, there is no point whatsoever getting a copy for my children. I loved this book: loved looking out for everything . Some things, like coltsfoot, I didn't…