Sunday, 25 August 2013


1) Raindrops like little lenses on a special peachy-yellow rose, given to me on retirement  by a patient I've known longer than Laura! She has severe cerebral palsy, but is brilliant brain-wise; the look on her face when she held a very small small squirming aforementioned...
2) The first proper crop of tomatoes, small golden succulent. Odd how few of this huge family have non-toxic fruits, tomato, aubergine Physalis peruviana  beloved of trendy pudding-chefs, quite easy to grow from seed, and a couple from S America that we don't see here; S quitoense, Naranjilla and S muricatum, Pepino melon.
3) Best last! L is off to be a student, doing an MA in children's illustration at the Anglian Ruskin in Cambridge, so had to have a Farewell&GoodLuck Party, should have been a BBQ
        3a I was invited to join her friends
        3b The feast she &N put on, one of her friends said " I love coming to Laura's, it's always like                             Christmas"
        3c Abi's sparkly cupcakes
        3d Enjoli's orange-carrot cake

Friday, 23 August 2013

Named a bit late!

A couple of years ago we had a brilliant walking holiday in the Glen Shiel area of Scotland, I found 3 "new-to-science" (i.e .to me) plants, a creeping azalea, dwarf cornel and have now finally identified the third one! Trientalis europaea, chickweed wintergreen. Very pleasing after all this time!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Burial Update

 Here's the burial ground as it was yesterday, the entrance blocked at the moment. On the far right you can see the grubby turret, below is a cleaned up one. The walls will all be restored and the inside landscaped in traditional Mughal style with rectangular lawns.

Monday, 19 August 2013

History, repairs.

I often walk past the Muslim burial ground not far from here, I've watched over the years as it has fallen into disrepair, been vandalised and been taken over by shrubbery, not quite Angkor Wat, but trying. It's now being renovated by one of the heritage charities, I can't remember which. It's pleasing to see their progress, I'll post some updating photos presently. This is from a couple of years ago after the scrub had been cleared. 

I've no idea what plans are under-way to keep it safe in future, it would be sad to see it destroyed again.

Thursday, 15 August 2013


My brother pointed out that the photo I'd called a Red admiral was, in fact, a  Painted Lady. He was always better at these things, I'm just trying to catch up! This side view makes it obvious with her eye-spots. Silly me! Vanessa cardui. It doesn't overwinter here, but is the only one found in Iceland (I'm off there soon)

Monday, 12 August 2013

and of course creepycrawlies!

No visit anywhere would be complete without a few!

                                                       Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta. Vanessa as a first name was invented by Jonathan Swift of  Gulliver fame in 1709, I've no idea who gave it to the butterfly. Atalanta was a Princess-huntress abandoned, then suckled and raised by bears, a bit fearsome for such a delicate creature.
        PS My brother has corrected me, this is a painted Lady, he always knew more about these things!

                      Peacock, Inachis io. Mythology again, Io was a nymph seduced by Zeus, then disguised as a heifer to escape detection by Zeus' rightly suspicious wife Hera

                   Small Tortoiseshell, Aglais urticai. I wonder if the "urticai" is because the slightly-hairy-caterpillars are irritant or because they feed on nettles.

Dutch Influence and Gargoyles

Narrow fronted stepped rooves, canals, windmills, window boxes of geraniums, one could be forgiven for forgetting which country...

...until the lace!

                                                          Gargoyles are good no matter where.

Bell Tower

The medieval belltower must be the most memorable building in Bruges, like all the best things it's grown and evolved with the city, bits added here and there by the various guilds.

360 or so steps to the bell platform

and splendid views.

There was a music festival, I love the mix of ancient and very modern.

Thursday, 8 August 2013


The chocolate museum gives a fascinating account of the development of chocolate from its earliest use in Central America three thousand years ago to its first use in solid form in the early 19th century. Theobroma cacao contains many "drugs", the news yesterday suggested drinking it improved the memory in elderly people, it also stimulates endorphins, and could be regarded as one of the five-a-day. What a miracle substance, mood-enhancing, legal, good taste and only mildly addictive, who needs alcohol (apart from Belgian beer) or ciggarettes?

All made from chocolate in the museum.

The variety of chocolate shops quite confuses, if it hadn't been so hot we might have overloaded the poor Eurostar.


It seems ages since I've posted anything, we went on a girly weekend to Bruges, how nice that L&A are now old enough not to be embarrassed to go on holiday with Mum!

We started in Lille, by Eurostar, greeted by the rather surreal flowers.


It's a beautiful place, all the little alleys remind me a little of Canterbury, and Cambridge with all it's bikes, but with canals.

Coloured glass is much in evidence, their emblem, the bear keeps an eye on it all.