nature

Sometimes Life’s a Magpie!

When I was a child I spent a lot of time with my lovely grandmother. She had a saying that has stayed with me, and this morning I had cause to think of it.

Many of you know that I take a photograph each day of the tree at the bottom of the garden.

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The berries are ripened, and gradually disappearing as avian visitors come to feed, but this morning I was greeted by the beautiful sound of a robin singing his heart out. You can see him in the above picture if you look closely, but here he is a little more clearly, although not so sharply!

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In spite of the season he was obviously,  as Grandma would have said, ‘full of the joys of spring’. Sorting my outside dyeing area was a pleasure until his singing was interrupted by an unwelcome visitor

Although happy, (who wouldn’t be with such ripe red berries to enjoy?) the chatter of the magpie is much less melodic, but his real fun was chasing away the smaller bird. His visit didn’t last long – as with all bullies he was soon off to annoy elsewhere.

So, what happened next?

Mr Robin returned and continued his serenade

He returned to almost exactly the same spot – and his song was as joyful as ever, in fact, he’s still singing some forty minutes later.

You see, occasionally life’s a Magpie! But if you wait you will discover that life’s mostly a Robin.

I hope that today your day is mostly a Robin. Take time to listen.

 

Guess where……?

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I’ve been away – enjoying myself! Where? Well, if you haven’t guessed the sign above might be a clue. No idea? The sign above is written in Welsh and English.

Yes, we’ve been to Wales.

Over the next little while I’ll share the odd photo, and maybe an anecdote.

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Is 700 a milestone? I’m not sure. But from my point of view it certainly marks a point that I never imagined I would actually reach.

Most of you know that I have several blogs. I like to keep things separate – in boxes – (expect here, of course, where I sometimes like to ring the changes) so it might not come as a surprise to hear that I also have a blog where I post a picture a day from our garden.

Our garden is not large – but then it isn’t that small, either, and over the 30+ years we have been here has had many roles. When the children were small it sported a reasonably sized patch of grass that served as sometime soccer pitch, cricket ground, badminton or tennis court.  (It occasionally served as a sun-bathing spot too.) It has had areas where we have eaten lunch and dinner, and also smaller ones for intimate (not too intimate) and peaceful glasses of vino or cups of tea or coffee. It was often used and abused. Soft fruits once grew in abundance, raspberries (we still have a few) blackcurrants, redcurrants (yes, they are still there), strawberries (still surviving), gooseberries, and grapes. Two of the apple trees still remain and also a pear tree, but sadly the rest have gone – not felled, but fallen during several long past windy seasons.

Over the years, of course, our needs have changed. Some areas are the same, but the grass is long gone, replaced by plants and shrubs, some of which are constant, and others change from year to year, including a small patch of summer meadow. I love watching the seasons change, and each new shoot or flower bud is greeted with a smile and, of course the camera. Many of these snaps are not really photogenic, however, but do serve as a reminder of the cycles of life in which we are all included. The photographs I publish are not always meaningful to the causual viewer, but they are a record for me – and that is all that counts.

Maybe I should have waited for another 30 days – because that will record 2 years of posts, but that 700 seemed such a good round number (and it was never expected to be a once a day blog – into which it has turned)  that I thought I’d celebrate today, instead. Today’s post is here. It records the early signs of opening flowers on an established plant – soon to be just a memory as the bush becomes covered in large off-white clusters – and eventually red berries much loved by the birds. Yes, just another stage in that cycle of life.

Each season brings changes, and occasionally we introduce new additions. A (very) recent acquisition was added less than a week ago.

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It’s another abode for passing bees and other insects that might visit the garden. This one is attached to my sometime outside studio, on the side wall that faces the house. The above shot was taken before it was installed, but it has already become a favourite visiting spot for an unexpected caller. Apologies for the quality of a bad photo – but it was snapped in haste through two closed windows (hence the undesirable reflections).

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And that just sums up why I love our garden! It might not seem much to some of you – but it’s ours – and you never know what you will find or see.

 

100 Steps – April

And now for something just a little different.

Today we met our family for lunch. We celebrated two birthdays – two generations in fact, and had a lovely time. A cooked lunch on a Sunday is a rarerity. Our main meal of the day is usually in the evening, nothing to prepare tonight, though. Instead of travelling home by the direct route we took a ramble around the countryside. It was almost a Sunday afternoon drive (the weather was perfect for such an event) but our way was more directed – we were visiting a friend who has a farm.

The farmhouse is surrounded by a perfect cottage garden. The plants are all waking up but two, by the gate, were absolutely stunning.

I couldn’t resist a closeup of one.

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The flowers reminded me of little ballet dancers.

Normally I take detailed shots for my 100 steps. Today, though, I was too involved in the general views. And why not? Just look at what was in store just a few steps away from the trees

However, only a few more steps and we were able to see the reason for our visit today

And all within 100 steps

Today I was very brave

I’m willing to bet that most of you are more brave every day than I was today, but first of all let me set the scene.

I wear glasses – spectacles to correct my short sight. Without them everything is very blurred.

Really blurred!

Really, really blurred.

So, when I went outside to sort out my dyeing area prior to sorting the next batch I shouldn’t really have gone out without wearing them.

But I did.

Everthing was as I had left it, all was in order, except……

…… there was something moving.

It wasn’t moving very much, but it was definitely moving. It was also most definitely where something should NOT be moving!

So what did I do?

Well, without thought of risk or safety I carefully took hold and moved it to the nearby earth patch.

Thankfully I had my camera with me. My camera doesn’t need specatcles so I photographed to record the spot! After donning said specs I knew I could return and tackle the wriggling, squiggling thing.

But then I learned a hard lesson.

The camera DOES lie!

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You see, when I inspected the photograph all I could see was a worm! Can’t see it? Well it’s there – amongst the greenery just above left of centre. If you still can’t see it send me an email and I’ll give you a grid reference. The trouble is, the squirmy thing I saw was about 10 times the size and all shades of red orange blue and green, breathing smoke and flames and certainly had scales and probably wings. After all – how else could it have arrived on my outside dyeing table?

So all I can say is – never dye without your specs, and I’ll never trust my camera again.