Sunday, 24 November 2013

Great niece&nephew

I spent a couple of days visiting the rapidly growing little people, Alec is quite an independent young man when it suits him. I loved the way he took me home from the park the long way to visit the tea&coffee shop. Sadly only chocolate coated coffee beans, perfect for me but not really for a not-quite-3-year-old. He was very good, just saying sadly on the way out "I didn't have any of those things". I wonder what's done to them to make them so crispy, a coffee grut left in the cup sticks to your teeth in an annoying way.
B is at the interested and interesting stage now, really notices people and smiles very readily. she was also over excited at being left with a babysitter, demanding to spend the evening exploring the kitchen windows, or possibly just our reflections. The vanity to come!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

colour change.

As autumn slithers into winter, the maple by the tiny pond creeps from a genteel burgundy to a rather tarty scarlet, enhanced by the softening yellow Agapanthus leaves. Maybe the change is akin to Jenny Joseph's wonderful poem about the lost restrictions of age!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

November sunshine.

I was given a bunch of South African flowers the other day, one was this yellow Protea, resembling its Australian cousin Banksia, a bright sun in the grey. It has strange & complex mating habits!

A native sunburst on the margins of Dartmoor, did anyone see the dire weather forecast for last weekend? Well, apart from an excuse to produce some of the best brief rainbows I've seen they were wrong!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


You might have spotted that I'm slightly obsessed by the little British native orchids from previous posts ( I found another broad leafed helleborine in a little crevice of soil between the paved path and canal bridge the other day). I have several Phalaenopsis, the supermarket moth orchids, which flower for months before having a brief rest  then starting again. They're brilliant house plants, and thrive on very little, they're so easy to get to flower again: just ignore them, leave dead-looking stems until they're dry and brown, the side buds sprout. They're more compact than the Cymbidiums, the previous top-seller. I also have some success with Plieones, the little tree-dwellers familiar to anyone who's done a spring Himalayan trek. Until this year I've failed with all the others, although one year I nearly had one until Mrs Mop (aka Ghengis Khan) broke off my only ever stalk by dusting it! I was watering the other day and found a flower stalk on a Zygopetalum, and Paphiopedilum. Two at once, it's been an odd summer. The Paphio (Slipper Orchid) has a very soft slightly furry stem, if Clare saw it she would 3BT it as like Bettany's newborn skin!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Kew & camouflage.

Fruitfulness, definitely, mellow? More vibrant and dramatic. Kew is always good for visual treats.

The IncrEdible display this year included the giant willow sculptures, correct in all details as you would expect.

This chap obviously has ears designed for camouflage in the bud scales of his Magnolia tree!

Monday, 4 November 2013


At last I've finished putting up our photos from Morocco, so can turn my mind to other more random things, like the last couple of ridiculously sunny days, it's November after all! I had a record breaking number of hits on this blog, about 150, I can't believe our group have looked that many times, I wonder where they come from. An extra BT was having L&A and bot young men here at the weekend, mostly flitting in&out but v good to see them all. L's course is going really well, A, of course, is keeping very busy with creative things as well as work.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Morocco: PS for L&A!

Forgive a few personal ones for L&A, 

magical reflections

and the world's sparkliest chandelier in our hotel.

This reminds me of A's house, when we stripped paper from the kitchen under the work surfaces we found bare breeze blocks!

One of A's student projects was designing a club-bar, this reminded me of it!

A brilliantly simple logo, but I can't remember what for!

No L, you can't have one!

Clowns&violins, can't miss!

Hard to resist a taxi in these colours.

Morocco 10: Sunsets of course.

The first four are a nice sequence from about 5.30 to 6.30 from one of our campsites, the next is sunrise from the same place.

Sunrise from our luxurious "simple gite"

Morocco 9: villages & random bits.

Ploughing the old fashioned way, anyone remember straight furrow competitions?

Traditional buildings for a dry climate, cool in summer warm-ish in winter, although it's so harsh many areas are evacuated in the coldest months.

Satellite dishes, but no running water, just the communal well.

Fascinating geology for the knowledgeable, purely beautiful for the rest of us.

Tigers in Morocco?