I seem to be getting behind with blog posts - I'm going through one of those phases when I am finding it hard to get motivated about blogging but here is a catch-up on a couple of places visited last month, some recent reading and a book promotion I am taking part in.
Bee Walk with Steven Falk
Some of you may remember I went along a few months ago to a Bee Walk at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens. The walk was led by Steven Falk, author of the superb new "Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland" (illustrated by R C Lewington). I enjoyed the first walk so much that D and I went along to a second one held in August. It was another excellent event with Steven giving lots of useful information about bee id, ecology, plants and trees in Warwickshire including those at the Gardens. We didn't see quite as many species on this walk but did spot Common Carder bees, Tree Bumble Bees, Red-tailed Bumbles, Blue Mason Mining Bee, Honey Bee and several solitary mining bees. We were also given a very useful little leaflet on the "Solitary Bee Garden" which is full of useful ideas about what you can do in your own garden to help bees and how CBHG are helping to encourage solitary bees.
I didn't get any photos of bees this time - there were a lot more people on this walk so it wasn't so easy to get close.
I rather liked this flower pot man!
Part of the Solitary Bee Garden where plants are being grown to help bees and other pollinators.
Spot the Harvestman! (photo by D)
Steven Falk illustrating a point about bees (photo by D)
Books - a few I have read recently
The Wildlife Trusts, teaming up with author Melissa Harrison and Elliott and Thompson, are producing four anthologies, one for each Season of the year. The anthologies contain prose and poem extracts from old and established nature writers and pieces of writing from fresh new voices. I really enjoyed reading the first in the series and have just started on the one for "Summer" - a bit behind admittedly but I have waited for the Kindle price to come down! Autumn's has just been published.
The Wishing House is a debut novel and I suppose you could describe it as a sort of ghost story. It is set in a quiet Shropshire village and "time-slips" between the present day and the 1600's. It involves an ancient wishing well surrounded by superstitions and a recently renovated cottage and is quite frightening in parts! I tend to read non fiction for about an hour to wind down before bed-time and usually everyone else has already gone to bed and I must admit I was jumping at the slightest noise as I read this book. The book has quite a surprise ending and to be honest for me it was the one part of the book I didn't enjoy as it seemed a bit far-fetched.
I've been catching up on the Poldark books - at least I managed to finish Book 3 before the tv series started last night. I loved the Poldark books the first time round and am enjoying them just as much on a second reading. Although unfortunately I sent my hardbacks and paperbacks to a charity shop in a mad moment of book decluttering a few years ago so am having to buy them all again for the Kindle.
Meet Ulia the Lunar Moth
During September I am taking part in a book promotion on social media (mainly on Twitter in my case) to promote a book "The Trial of the Majickal Elders" which is part 3 of a trilogy by Phil and Jacqui Lovesey. For more information please see here
Ulia, the Lunar Moth may be appearing in some of my photos during my travels :)
The first two books in the trilogy are highly recommended :)
Art Exhibition in Berkswell
We went along to an Art Exhibition by Warwickshire Watercolourists held a week or so ago in Berkswell
Ulia enjoyed herself once she found the hare paintings!
We had tea and a piece of Chocolate and Coffee Cake :)
There were some really good paintings there - I didn't like to take photos of individual paintings but did sneak one of my favourite although the picture doesn't do it justice.
We had a wander round the village.
This cannon was captured from the Russians in 1858 during the Crimean War and was brought home to Berkswell and placed outside the Bear Inn. On 4th January, 1859, to mark the occasion the gun was fired at one o'clock and a celebration dinner was held at the Inn.
The canon is no longer at the Bear (not sure why) but we found it a year or so back in gardens at the back of the Berkswell Museum (sadly now closed).
The church of St John the Baptist
I had another look round the churchyard and finally managed to find the grave of Maud Watson (the first Wimbledon Ladies' Singles champion) who lived in the Rectory next to the church.
Ulia needed a rest!
The Stocks on the village green are probably over 200 years old. Note the five holes! - according to DE Gibbs in "Berkswell through the looking glass" they were made for 3 continuous offenders - one of whom only had one leg.
I spotted this beetle on the car when we got home - I think it is a Rosemary Leaf beetle. Although they are pretty they are an invasive species which only appeared in the country in 1994 and infest rosemary and lavender :(
My Holiday in the Midlands - Day 1
30 minutes ago