"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 28 December 2012

2012 Highlights - Part 4

I am quite amazed at how much I did go out during the first six months of the year. No wonder I had no time for birding I was too busy wandering around country churchyards and swanning round NT properties!

Although so much of Solihull has been developed since Edith Holden's time, it still contains many parks and fragments of ancient woodland. I visited Coldlands Wood very close to the town centre at bluebell time.

Coldlands Wood

Yellow Archangel and Bluebell

I returned to Bushwood as on my previous visit I had noticed what looked like masses of wild garlic plants and this time they were in flower.

Canal at Lowsonford

I discovered another country churchyard at Baddesley Clinton full of wild flowers

St Michael's Church

Buttercups, Bluebells and Germander Speedwell or "Bird's Eye" as my grandfather used to call it.

Cute lambs came to say "hallo"

St Michael's - I would have liked to see inside the church but couldn't find a way in! Have since discovered how to gain entry so I will return.


Dandelion seedhead

Lady's Smock or Cuckoo Flower - used by Orange Tip butterflies for egg laying

Crosswort - emanating overpowering smell of honey


Red Campion

It may have been a poor year for moths and butterflies but wildflowers seemed to do really well this year.

I had another day out with my friend and this time we visited Calke Abbey - have never been there before and I shall have to go back. There is a very impressive drive up to the house through parkland and an avenue of lime trees. Sadly no photo but believe me it was beautiful. The 600 acres of parkland are a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest and the 10th best site in Britain for invertebrates.

Click Beetle

Green Dock Beetle - thanks again Jan for the id help :)

The house looks as though it has come straight out of a Jane Austen novel but the National Trust has deliberately not restored or renovated the house, apart from essential repairs. It symbolises a country house left unchanged since its decline at the end of the nineteenth century when nothing was thrown away. During the twentieth century many great country houses and estates failed to survive.

It was raining most of the time we were there so we had a tour of the house and skulked in the restaurant and shop! There is so much we did not see - church, garden, deer enclosure and I would love to walk round the parkland and look for beetles and ancient trees.

Monkspath Meadow

There are some events in the year I try not to miss such as daffodils at Packwood and dahlias at Baddesley Clinton and the opening of Monkspath Meadow for one weekend a year is one such unmissable occasion. The meadow which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, is around 800 years old and contains around 150 species of grass and flower species. One of the highlights is the mass of Heath Spotted Orchids.

Meadow Buttercup

Thistle and Bumble Bee

Yellow Rattle

Great Burnet

Cuckoo spit

Lesser Stitchwort

Common Sorrel


Heath Spotted Orchids

Another Tree Bumble Bee!

Finally, I returned to St Giles churchyard at Packwood - it was raining which made for some nice photos.

Fox and Cubs. I only identified this flower this year and once I had done so, it was like the Tree Bumble Bee, I started seeing it everywhere.

Wild and Cultivated Roses

Lady's Mantle

Sorry for so many posts in one day. I don't think I went out quite so much in the second part of the year! But I shall try and finish off the Highlights over the weekend.


Deano said...

Some good subjects & great photos in this & your other posts Caroline.
All the best for 2013 :)

Ragged Robin said...

Deano - Many thanks :) All the best to you and your family too for next year. Hope you get some good species in your garden :)

ShySongbird said...

I have enjoyed this and the previous post Caroline. Lots of lovely photos and reminders of your delightful posts, you certainly did pack a lot into the first part of the year. I couldn't help thinking how full of hope we were then for a lovely Summer which never arrived! It certainly did seem to be a good year for flowers though and you saw a lovely variety. My Mother used to have Fox and Cubs growing in the garden which must have seeded itself, we never knew what it was called then but everyone used to admire it.

Talking of Mum, I just saw a reply you made to Chris. My brother and I were forced to sell her house to pay for nursing home care even though the house had been transferred to our names (not for long enough apparently!!), Dad would have been mortified, throughout his life he always said that although they would never have any savings to leave us we would always have the house! And what a task it was to clear it out....as you say...packed to the rafters!!

Em Parkinson said...

When I saw the Fox and Cubs, I thought it was Orange Hawkbit.....are they the same thing? I'm off to look it up now........more lovely pictures - thank you!

Em Parkinson said...

Yes it is the same thing....I've never heard it called that.....much nicer!

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird - Glad you are enjoying the posts Jan - they are too long really and I feel a bit self indulgent!! Considering how I have moaned about not being able to get out I am amazed myself at how much I did go out! I really do hope we get better weather next year in the summer. The Fox and Cubs are beautiful such a glorious colour - I can imagine how lovely they would have looked in your mum's garden.

Oh Jan, I know you said once that you could sympathise with my plight with mum because you had had similar problems but I never realised you had to sell the family's home. I really do feel for you and your brother and I am sure, like me, you feel the injustice of it all. I feel so sorry for what you must have gone through. As you say my Dad too would have been mortified if the worst happens. When I think of the sacrifices they made to buy the house for decades I could weep.

I do have additional problems too as a member of the family has been living there for about 5 years rentfree (although they did virtually nothing for mum and don't even go and see her in the home) And they are refusing to talk to me about taking over the payment of bills for the house as mum can't continue to pay for those AND the home fees. Its a very messy situation :( Can't really say too much though online!

But I am really sorry that you had to experience such an awful thing as well as coping with a poorly mum and a nursing home.

I am sure it will make me a stronger person one day but it is the saddest of experiences and we won't mention the feelings of guilt!

Em Parkinson - Its funny you should mention Orange Hawkbit as I found an old photo earlier of same species that I had labelled Orange Hawkbit - what a coincidence :) Thanks so much for confirming they are one and the same. Fox and Cubs seems a very apt name with its lovely tawny colour.

ShySongbird said...

I do feel for you Caroline. I know what an absolutely horrible time it is with one hurdle after another. Yes, the sacrifices they made were exactly what got to me too, all that only to have it 'stolen' in effect whereas someone who never scrimped and scraped to own their own home and consequently probably had more money to spend throughout their lives then has their nursing home fees paid for them! As for feelings of guilt...oh, how I have those still in so many ways :-( So sorry to read of your added complications too, that does sound a very awkward situation...something you definitely don't need at such a difficult time, I shall keep you in my thoughts!

Ragged Robin said...

Shy Songbird - Thanks so much for your kind thoughts and words Jan - you are a wonderful friend.

I couldn't agree more with what you have said. I can think of nothing crueller or more insensitive than making you sell a parent's home to pay for their care whilst they are still alive. The more the situation with my mom develops the more appalled I am with the way this country treats certain sections of its elderly.

I acted as Power of Attorney for my Great Aunt who had her own home about 12 years ago so, luckily, was already aware of the insensitive and intrusive questions and form filling and dealing with inefficient so-called "professionals". I wish I had persuaded mom to take out PofA when she could as I've had to go down the CofP route - more form filling and expense and time consuming records to keep :(

One lesson I have learnt is that, should the situation remain unchanged, I will make certain that our house and savings are tied up as much as possible (legally!) so they can't be used for our care but will go to the children.

The added complications will have to be dealt with legally so I can "cover myself"! All emails and phone messages over last 6 months have been ignored!

Thanks again Jan for all your support - it means an awful lot to me and as I said earlier I am so sorry that you have gone through the same experience. As for the guilt yes I can imagine it will always remain. TBH one of the reasons I went out so much earlier this year was because the only time I could forget it all for a short period was when I was out with my camera and bins. Otherwise it is just there all the time.