Saturday, 27 July 2013

Haiku 50-54

                                             limestars on mudsky    
                                             flying purple bootflower
                                             sticky flyeater

                                              snowice perfection
                                              di’mond cut fine filigree

                                              high heather crag top
                                              different world tarn reflections
                                              distant pixel fields

                                              shotsilk barleyfields
                                              windsea ripples
                                              dartingfish swallows

                                              insectsticky lizardskin
                                              one day pine amber 

Friday, 26 July 2013

More Devon: Overbecks and moonlight.

Overbecks has to be one of the world's best Youth Hostels, sadly closing at the end of the season as being inaccessible by bus it is not economically viable for school groups. A sad reflection on our perception of what's important. It was left to the National Trust on condition it was made available to young people, most YHA guests are our age! Apart from the YH, it has wide views, gardens to live forever in and a wonderfully quirky museum from the previous owner's collection of treasures and inventions.

He was a keen gardener and plant collector with a sense of colour to match his inventive character, and a champion of the Up-and-coming, including sculptors, many of whom are now well known.

Pippa Unwin's "Quest to Amaze"  

 Jeremy Davies' "White Bird Soaring" and its heat-stressed negative.

Finally, such a bright moon, magnified by sea reflections.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

50 Gyrocopter.

At last, another new thing! We had our regular walking weekend, this time the South Devon coast, not an area I know at all. We stayed at the wonderful Overbeck's Youth Hostel in Salcombe. C&A decided to come in C's gyrocopter, he loves flying (and us lot) so much he took all-comers flying. It's a brilliant machine, not in the slightest bit scary, not really bumpy either. The weather was perfect for seeing the area with  sea looking like the Caribbean, although a little colder when we went for a dip the next day.

The large rather unsightly caravan park in totally hidden in a small valley from ground level.

From the coastal path all the coves and sea-caves are totally hidden, a small boat would be perfect for exploring them, maybe next time.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

North Downs, DofE, Creepy Crawlies.

We're off to Iceland soon, a girls' trip, so we're in training. Many hilly walks over the North Downs in spite of the rather warm weather. Yesterday was around St Martha's, meeting the inevitable DofE groups, not our own school but oxted school, only a few miles from my own alma mater, sadly now defunct. I was most impressed but the students, keen, most polite & articulate and didn't seem to be lost. Go Oxted!
I did however terrify one group by mentioning a snake, in fact a harmless baby grass snake (Natrix natrix) with more markings than usual. the photo is not brilliant as I spent so long marvelling at it I forgot my camera was handy. It had the very clear yellow and black rings behind its neck, giving its alias of ringed snake.

The weather was perfect and after a late start to the spring the extra water seems to have done wonders for the wildlife, more poppies and butterflies than I've seen for years. The bees are doing better too, armies of bumble bees, sadly not so many honey bees. Maybe at last people are using less pesticides. This nice little chap is a marbled white (Melanargia galathea)

. The specific name refers to Galathea, an ivory statue carved by Pygmalion, who he fell in love with and persuaded Venus/Aphrodite to bring her to life as detailed in Ovid's "Metamorphosis", their son being Paphos. What would he make of Paphos today? Galathea is also a moon of Neptune and a species of squat lobster. Greek mythology gets everywhere, it's interesting to follow up scientific names that are not obviously simple descriptions.
Finally the scenery and poppies (Papaver rhoeas). Not a mythological being this time, just "red". My photos aren't as beautiful as Monet's coquelicots, but pleasing to see.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Still new!

It's easy to forget how tiny a newborn baby's hands and feet are!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

BTs: Civilised, Furry, Purple, Old Friends.

We had a wonderful weekend catching up with family, including the new one. The weather allowed us to have Sunday breakfast in the garden, who needs 5 star hotels on Greek Islands?

I've always loved furry plants, (indeed anything except fur coats) how wonderfully adapted they are for predator-protection, insulation and drought-resistance. So tactile and beautiful too.

You can't say that about many of our clothes, although I have a very furry purple mohair cardigan that people can't resist stroking, no other colour provokes the same response.
 "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple..."

Isn't it strange how gardens go through colour stages without any planning, not the inevitable change of leaves, but the flowers.

This week everything seems to be purple too, even our old friend the Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) The Common Twayblade (Neottia ovata) isn't, but such a good one I couldn't leave him out! March it's yellow then blue, there's a pink phase when fuchsias and pinks appear, and again in September when the cyclamens and colchicums appear.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Opisthograptis luteolata!

As part of my self-educating campaign I said I would try and identify the plants & creepy-crawlies I posted, here's another, the unusually bright, but rather beautiful Brimstone Moth.

 I did find a brimstone Butterfly (Gonopteryx rhamnii) last year.

Sunday, 7 July 2013


The end of term produces many finished items, not works of art yet, but a start. The first two are fused glass, next term will be better, I now have some idea what might work.

One of the more successful bits of pottery, I might make more, possibly paint-brush pots, and a few more bits, might as well be totally over the top.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Cambridge: gargoyles and scholars

L is off to the Anglia Ruskin in September, so we went to sort out accommodation and explore, while she was doing the business bits I went on a gargoyle hunt, a good trawl with many more to find in the next eighteen months. The Catholic Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs is close to the station and a wonderful introduction. The church itself is beautiful, crawling with wonderful creatures.Like many others I found them irresistible.

Mouth pullers are common, to scare the evil, but pulling someone else's mouth most unusual.

Reptile-dragon in form, but surely puppy in nature.

Has he seen the evil the mouth-puller failed to scare?

A caricature of the boss?

                         Many of the colleges have a fine collection of gargoyles, here St John's. (1511) The baby one is trying to suckle from Mum's elbow, like a human on a finger.

And finally, new scholars?

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


I now have a Great Niece as well as a Great Nephew, exactly two-and-a-half years apart .Bettany is quite perfect, who remembers the purply hands-and-feet in the first 3 days, the slightly furry ears, and unreal softness of teeny arms, the little skin pad on the upper lip from sucking?.. you'd think I was besotted. She's a good feeder, but hasn't quite mastered the squirming fingers and toes that I find so irresistible, I wrote a  haiku about it.