"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

Monday, 5 September 2016

Bee Walk, Books, Ulia the Lunar Moth and an Art Exhibition

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 :(


Wendy said...

A fascinating post. I'd be very interested in the beewalk, too. I'm making a note of all the books, except Jeremy Poldark which I know pretty much inside out anyway! I hope the book promotion goes well. Berkswell looks well worth a visit and I like the story behind the stocks. The rosemary leaf beetle does look pretty but I don't want to see it here!

Rosie said...

What a super post,so much of interest. Glad you enjoyed your second bee walk. Ulla the Lunar Moth looks wonderful and I see he/she has visited some lovely places with you. I remember seeing the first Poldark on television and reading all the books, I loved the stories and characters. The Wildlife Trust's seasonal books look interesting, I must look out for them:)

Toffeeapple said...

Your Bee walk seems to have been interesting despite the lack of bees to view. That Harvestman is a striking creature; I have several living on the landing ceiling, they make short work of spiders and flies, I like them very much.

Did you make Ulia? If so, was there a particular reason for doing so? I do like the colour.

The art exhibition looks to be a lot higher quality than our local ones. The picture you show is of good quality.

I like the story of the stocks!

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Thanks very much Wendy. Picked up "Warleggan" last night only intending to read a chapter and I couldn't put it down! :) Berkswell is a great village with some fascinating history :) I hope the Rosemary Beetle flew off in the opposite direction from our back garden!

Rosie - Thanks so much Rosie. Expect more pictures of the Lunar Moth :) I'm watching the new Poldark series but the strange thing is as I re-read the books I picture the characters as the actors in the original series! The Season anthologies are lovely and the sort of books you could pick up and read year after year or even just dip into :)

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much Toffeeapple. Yes the bee walk was very interesting and we saw lots of hoverflies too :)

Ulia was made by Jacqui Lovesey, one of the authors of the book. She has made lots of different characters from the stories and various people around the world are taking photos of the characters in different locations and posting them on social media. A great idea I think :) I've been trying to find a way to place her in a hanging basket full of pink, purple and white petunias which would match her colours :)

The paintings were of a high standard - Brian was interested in looking as has taken up water colour painting again. So many people seem so talented :)

Pam said...

The beetle is quite beautiful, shame it's so invasive! How fab is Ulia, I love the idea of photographing her in different places!

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - thanks Pam. I didn't realise they were invasive until I googled it to find out more information. Rather chuffed with Ulia - though she is rather mischievous lol! :) Look for her in more photos during September :)

SeagullSuzie said...

The bee walk sounds great and you saw some interesting bees. I'm gardening for wildlife now and making a new front garden-already had some exciting things including a lime hawk moth caterpillar on the new apple tree and an elephant hawk moth caterpillar which I found wandering! Will post some photos. Hope you get back into the swing of blogging again soon.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thanks so much Suzie - sorry for delay in publishing your comment but we have been in Yorkshire for a few days and no wifi!! Looking forward to seeing some photos of your new front garden - great start with the two hawk moth caterpillars :)