"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

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Recent Reading, Garden Moths and "Egg in a Nest"

Recent Reading

"The Running Hare - The Secret Life of Farmland" is superb nature writing and I think it was even better than "Meadowlands" if that is possible. John Lewis-Stempel takes over a meadow and, using traditional methods, restores it bringing back traditional wild flowers, animals and birds in the process.

Just two snippets to give you an idea of the wonderful prose:

"The design on a marbled white's wings is the full moon seen through the tracery of bare winter branches".

"The redwings are plundering the hawthorn berries, lipstick kisses in a blue sky".

Highly recommended.

Loved this 4th Vera Stanhope book - am currently reading Book No. 5!

You may remember I bought this book on Kilpeck and the Romanesque when I was at "Nature in Art". It was expensive but it was worth every penny. The book contains many paintings, drawings, prints, collages and sketchbook pages by the author of some of the medieval churches in Herefordshire and neighbouring counties. If you enjoy visiting churches or anything medieval you will love this book. All I need to do now is to persuade the family that a long weekend exploring these churches is a brilliant idea - definitely not an easy task!!!

This book contains everything you ever wanted to know about the history and development of English villages from pre-Roman times to the present day. This is a really informative book - I just wish I had the paperback rather than the Kindle version. Good as Kindles are for fiction - they don't work as well with reference books!

Thanks to Rosie from Corners of my Mind - her blog inspired me to try this author and I am glad I did. It was quite different to any novel I have read before and I shall certainly be reading the rest of the series.

The next Dr Ruth Galloway book was as unputdownable as the previous stories in the series. In fact, I am going to have to have more of a break between reading these books as I don't want the series to end!

A few weeks back I suddenly discovered "Poldark" was about to return to BBC so it was a mad panic to get the next in the series read before the programmes started. I thought this was the best Poldark novel so far. Am now racing through The Four Swans!

I once had hardbacks of all the Poldark novels in the good old days of book clubs. Regrettably, in a moment of madness I took them all the charity shop so am now having to re-buy them all for the Kindle!

Garden Moths

I haven't been putting out the moth trap so much this year but here are a few I have trapped recently.

White Ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda)

Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta)

Poplar Hawk-moth (Laothoe populi) - this is a new species for the garden and what a superb moth.

Buff Tip (Phalera bucephela)

and here in its more usual pose looking like a broken twig.

Small Square-spot (Diarsia rubi)

Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata) - we get these in the garden a lot - they look like tiny fairies and are found among the herbs. Here it is on thyme flowers.

"Egg in a Nest"

When I was little my mother often used to serve a recipe for tea that she called "Egg in a Nest" which she served on top of cheese on toast. For years I searched for the recipe without any luck - I suspect it was one of those Jimmy Young recipes of the day. Once or twice I did try to make the dish without much success - I now know I didn't have the oven hot enough!

Recently B mentioned that one of the new "in" foods was something called Cloud Eggs. As soon as I saw a picture I realised it was what mum called "Egg in a nest". So I couldn't resist having a go.

If anyone fancies trying it (it is fairly low in calories!) then just google "Cloud Eggs". I used the recipe by Phil Vickery on ITV's "This Morning".


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Ann Cleeves - possibly a pseudonym

Would love to see a white ermine. What a lordly moth.

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks Simon. Yes, I would imagine it is a pseudonym. White Ermine are so beautiful and you can see where they get their name :)

Pam said...

The Running Hare is on my to read list! You've got some great moths, I think the Mint Moth is my favourite!

Countryside Tales said...

I've got the running hare waiting on my shelf for when I finish common ground and hummingbirds and hares. Always good to get more suggestions. I've just finished the latest merrily Watkins so pricked up my ears at mention of kilpeck! The English village book sounds fascinating. Will google the recipe too. Great to see the Poplar x

Ragged Robin said...

Pam Thanks. The Running Hare is one of the best examples of nature writing for me. I just love his books :) You don't need a moth trap for Mint Moth - if you grow mint, thyme or marjoram you may well attract one :)

Countryside Tales I think you will love The Running Hare - I really enjoyed it. I would really love to go to Kilpeck church - Phil Rickman's books add even more enchantment to that area! :)

Rosie said...

I loved Meadowlands so must look out for The Running Hare - the cover is gorgeous! Glad you like Maisie Dobbs and are still enjoying Vera Stanhope and Ruth Galloway. I too had all the Poldark novels in paperback bought when the series was on TV in the 70s, I stupidly left them in a window bottom between bookends and they went brown and brittle so had eventually to be thrown away, such a shame. You caught some unusual moths in your trap:)

Bovey Belle said...

I keep picking up The Running Hare every time I go into Booths bookshop in Hay . . . It's on my wish list now!

I love that wee Mint Moth too and never heard of one before.

Kilpeck and the Romanesque in Herefordshire - another one that went straight on my wish list - you do lead me astray! We both love old churches and the Kilpeck school of architecture. We have a long list of places we'd love to visit! I have read all the Shetland series of Ann Cleeves' now, and read this Vera one earlier in the year. I really enjoy her stories and am in a crime fiction frame of mind right now.

We have had Hummingbird Hawkmoth caterpillars in the garden and locally as lots of Willowherb, but I've not seen any this year yet.

Pam said...

I have mint, maybe I need to grow more as i've never seen one!

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks Rosie. If you loved Meadowlands you will certainly like The Running Hare too - there is something about the way he writes that strikes a real chord with me. One of the best of today's nature writers I think. What a shame about your Poldark novels - paperbacks wherever you put them don't keep anywhere near as well as hardbacks in my experience.

Bovey Belle - Thank you. Do buy the Running Hare - really is a lovely book. Check your garden herbs for Mint Moth - they are tiny and often a pinky purpley colour.

Worth looking out for the Kilpeck book perhaps in 2nd hand bookshops in Hay. Yes, I have an ever growing list of places to visit too!! Glad you are enjoying all the Ann Cleeves' books too :) Hope you see some caterpillars later this year.

Pam - We have mint too but whenever I see the moth it seems keener on the marjoram and thyme!! Hope one turns up for you - they are tiny by the way and usually more of a pink/purple colour.

Pam said...

Maybe I should add a few more herbs to the garden!

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - lol!!! Very handy for cooking too and the bees and hoverflies and butterflies all love the flowers! Some of my plants I bought at NT properties and others I started off by planting those pots of herbs you can buy from supermarkets. We have wall where the patio meets the lawn which has soil in the centre and I have put them all in there!

amanda peters said...

Not sure if you got my comment as connection went, just wanted to say love seeing what books you are reading , The Running Hare has been mentioned before on other blogs saying it's a good book.
Just put the trap out again, not had a Buff Tip this year..
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks Amanda and as you can see it came through ok :) Totally recommend the Running Hare - best nature writing I have read in a while. I think he and Mark Cocker are my favourite present day nature writers although Rob McFarlane is very good too :)

Good Luck with Buff Tip - not seen one here yet this year - trap results other night disappointing although there were a few nfy's!

Caroline Gill said...

'The Running Hare' definitely sounds my sort of book. I shall keep an eye out for it. I am about to read 'In Pursuit of Butterflies' by Matthew Oates (who confirmed our Purple Emperor sighting in Glos. a couple of years ago). Thank you, RR, for your kind comment on my Flatford post. Yes, it is a lovely spot but can be busy. The RSPB Wildlife Garden is a great addition, with ideas and friendly staff/volunteers.

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thank you. You will enjoy The Running Hare I am sure and In Pursuit of Butterflies is another great read - Matthew Oates is about to bring out a new book which I have ordered :) So jealous of your confirmed PE sighting - I wish he had been there to confirm my possible one at Oversley Wood!!! Sadly many lovely spots are often very busy :(

Toffeeapple said...

I read the Running Hare last year (I think) and thoroughly enjoyed it. He is such a good writer. Your moth photographs are superb; I have lots of the mint moths in my garden and they seem to vary in size this year. It is always lovely to see them though.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much. So pleased you enjoyed the Running Hare so much too :) Wonderful to read of your Mint Moths - they are so beautiful :)