"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, 24 June 2015

#30 Days Wild - Week 3 (and a bit)

Its been a rather hectic 10 days (too many birthdays falling near each other!!) so I haven't been able to do as much as I planned and hoped for 30 Days Wild. Most of the activities have been done in the garden or when I've been out and about.

Monday,15th June

Spent a little time looking round the garden for Day Flying Moths and spotted Pyrausta aurata (Mint Moth) and this lovely Silver-ground Carpet which is a new species for the garden.

I am not including moth trapping sessions for 30 Days Wild as I would be doing this anyway but I just had to post a picture of this gorgeous Maiden's Blush (a new species for the garden) and a change from the drab brown noctuids I mainly trap!

Tuesday - Time spent watching clouds in the sky

and releasing a Tree Bumble Bee which had somehow found its way indoors.


I love the smell of the garden after it has been raining so I went a walk round after the rain finally stopped.

There was a beautiful sunset that evening.

Thursday - We spent the day at Coughton Court so I looked for dragon and damselflies around the river and lake - Common Blue Damselfly was the only species seen. No photos it was too far away I am afraid.

Friday - I put up a miniature insect hotel in the garden.

Saturday - more rain in the morning so when it finally stopped I wandered round the garden taking photos of flowers with raindrops.


Last year I found a beautiful urban wildflower meadow which some of you may remember. I returned to the area and was really pleased to see that there is a meadow there again this year - dominated by Ox-eye Daisies.

We then drove on to an urban office building where I know Peregrine Falcons have nested on and off for years and yes, they were still there. This looks like a youngster to me.

Would just add that we were a very long way from the nest which was on the top floor of the building and the photos were taken with the Canon Bridge on full zoom.


It was supposed to be a good night to see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). I looked for ages in vain - like the rest of the country the skies were cloudy :(


D and I were in Stratford for the day visiting some more of the Shakespeare Houses (will do a post soon) - we spent a few minutes by the river watching the Mute Swans and Mallard - no photos (the batteries on both cameras had gone completely flat by this time!).

I did spend some time last night looking for caterpillars in the garden nettle patch.

I couldn't find any but there were signs of leaf miners.

Today, Wednesday

B's birthday today so a lunch-time meal at The Bear, Berkswell. Watched Swallows feeding young in a nest built in the porch of the pub.

Honeysuckle is flowering in the garden and I am just about to go and see if its attracting any moths. (The scent from the flowers is amazing!).

Monday, 22 June 2015

Coughton Court - Part 2: Rest of the Gardens, Woodland and River Walk and Inside the House

Following our visit to the delightful Walled Garden we had a look round the formal gardens which include two Sunken Gardens.

The Walled Garden I showed in Part One is known as the Rose Labyrinth and the Walled Gardens themselves continue through the Early Summer Garden, a garden with a pool and onto another garden with two long herbaceous borders.

These poppies reminded me of Ladybirds.

To escape the crowds we made our way into the Orchard

and then the Vegetable Garden.

We then explored areas I hadn't had time to see on previous visits. The Bog Garden was delightful and you can walk around it via a Board Walk.

It was much quieter in these areas of the gardens and we walked along The Gentleman's Walk which meanders next to a lake and then onto the Woodland Walk.

Berries are forming on Wild Arum/Lords and Ladies/Jack in the Pulpit.

Even though Ramsons were going to seed the smell of wild garlic was still overpowering.

The Woodland Walk leads into a walk along the River

and then back in the direction of the house.

Time for tea and cake - I had a slice of Coconut and Lime Cake and it was delicious!

Then it was off for a look round the house which has been home to the Catholic Throckmorton family since 1409. Persecuted for their Catholic faith in the past they risked everything on secret plots and political intrigue according to the Guide Book.

Many of the major organisers of the Gunpowder Plot, including its leader Robert Catesby, were kinsmen of the Throckmorton family.

Francis Thockmorton was a cousin of Sir George Throckmorton, Lord of the Manor of Coughton with 19 children and 112 grandchildren!! Francis was an informer between Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Spanish Ambassador and was eventually caught and executed.

During the reign of Elizabeth I it became illegal to practise a Roman Catholic Mass and attendance at the Church of England was compulsory but many Catholic families, such as the Throckmortons, continued to practise their faith in secrecy. Here at Coughton the Tower Room was used as a Chapel and there is a priest hole where Catholic priests could hide if necessary.

There are a lot of rooms to visit in the house - sorry the photos are a bit "iffy" usual problems with low light and no flash allowed but I've included them to give you an idea of what an interesting house it is.

Family portraits line the staircase.

The Drawing Room

The Tower Room

This was an important room when attempts were made in the late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century to stamp out the "Old Faith". There were good views of the surrounding countryside to keep an eye out for any who threatened the Catholics.

The double hiding place for Priests - one tiny room above another.

This painted canvas is dated 1596 and is known as The Tabula Eliensis. It depicts 40 knights and gentlemen who were quartered on the monks of Ely in 1076. These are displayed below a painting of Ely Abbey, together with the heads of English sovereigns from William Rufus to Elizabeth I. Beneath these are the arms of all the Catholic gentry who were arrested for recusancy during the reign of Elizabeth I.

We continued on up a narrow, winding, spiral staircase onto the roof. These two photos were taken by B with his mobile - have to confess I absolutely loathe heights so, although I got up the staircase, I didn't linger long but quickly scuttled back down again.

The Dining Room

This is the old oak dole gate from the Convent of Denny. The name of Elizabeth Throckmorton is carved on it - she was the last Abbess at the time when the community was dissolved in 1539.

The wood this chair is made from reputedly came from the bed that Richard III slept in on the night before the Battle of Bosworth!

The beautiful Tapestry Bedroom - it had a huge wardrobe in one corner - very reminiscent of Narnia!

And just one final photo of some of the beautiful foxgloves.