"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

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

30 Days Wild, Recent Reading and Baking and Grotesques on Coleshill Parish Church

Last week's 30 Days Wild was mainly garden based (I just didn't have the time to go out).

I found Cinnabar Moth caterpillars on Ragwort in the no mow zone of the lawn. I spotted a pair of moths in this area of the garden a month or so back so am assuming that was when the eggs were laid.

I watched a female robin taking nest material into ivy on the patio. I think she is now sitting on eggs as I have seen the male taking the occasional insect in there. I will try and get some photos when they start feeding young and are making more visits.

I found two new species of wild flower that have colonised the garden. I thought the first was Birdsfoot Trefoil but am now having second thoughts and wonder if it is Meadow Vetchling?

The second species is Travellers Joy or Old Man's Beard.

Edit - Huge thanks to John Scurr (see comments) for pointing out that this plant shows more of the characteristics of White Bryony - still a new species for the garden :)

I set free a House Sparrow trapped in the garage

I spotted a stunning sunset (sorry about the telegraph poles and wires!)

One day I spent 10 minutes looking up at the sky and saw a Buzzard soaring over, a screaming Swift and Black-headed Gulls. I also looked for bats, without success, at dusk.

There is a large office block not too far from here where I know Peregrine Falcons have for several years used one of the nest boxes provided. They were there when I went a few years ago but no sign this time. Although to be fair I didn't linger for long as they have changed the car park which now has barriers which I decided not to attempt to pass in case I couldn't get out again!

I spent 10 minutes counting butterflies in the garden - 2 Large White, Speckled Wood and a new species for the year Large Skipper were spotted.

Here is the Green Man pot I planted two weeks ago. To be honest they are not the plants I would have chosen but they were left over from purchases B made for the front garden. On the positive side B and Q have stopped using neonicitinoid pesticides on the plants they grow and sell so at least any insects can forage in safety.

I paid a brief visit to Elmdon Nature Park but have to be honest here and say the main reason for going was to see a Red Arrows fly-past to celebrate Land Rover/Jaguars 70th anniversary. Unfortunately I chose the wrong park! Elmdon is right next to the vast Land Rover complex but the main festivities were taking place in Solihull Town Centre and Tudor Grange Park and that is where the jets flew past!!! I was not happy with myself - should have researched it more carefully although quite a few other people were caught out too and there were many disappointed faces!

Recent Reading

If you like Jane Austen's novels I am sure you would enjoy this book.

I really do enjoy nature writing by John Lewis-Stempel and if you liked The Running Hare and Meadowlands you would also love this book.

The Poldark book is a re-read - I first read all these novels about 30/40 years ago. I suddenly realised the new tv series was about to start and had to race to finish this one. I've also just started re-reading the next in the series. I can't believe I got rid of all my hardback Poldark books in one of my clearing out sessions - some look now to be worth more than what I paid for them!

"Beloved Warwickshire" was a real find in my favourite second hand bookshop in Coleshill. I first came across this author at the same bookshop a year or so back when I bought and read a delightful fiction story called "Good Harvest" - a charming romance set on a local farm earlier in the twentieth century.

Mary Rose Hadfield was born in Marston Green, Warwickshire. Her father was the second master at Coleshill Grammar School and when Mary was three years old the family moved to live in a farm near the market town of Coleshill. Mary married into a local farming family and she and her husband ran a dairy home in rural Wales for many years before finally returning to Warwickshire when she began to write.

Beloved Warwickshire is full of charming poems of so many places in Warwickshire that I know and love (many very local) and illustrated with her beautiful paintings of wild flowers, grasses, leaves and seeds.

D and I were in Coleshill last Saturday to pay one of our regular visits to the same bookshop and also to take some photos of grotesques on the parish church.

Beechmast on Copper Beech

The Church of St Peter and St Paul

Stone carvings

Stone Angel

Grotesques - it is amazing how many you can find when you look hard.

Stone Deer

A friendly Wood Pigeon


I love meringue roulade and I love strawberries so when I saw the competitors in Britain's Best Home Cook having to bake in 45 minutes a Strawberry Meringue Roulade I just had to find the recipe and make one.

I would have been voted off the contest for appearance and for taking longer than 45 minutes! but it was delicious.

You can find the recipe here

I will certainly be making it again :)

Friday, 22 June 2018

Packwood House

Last Saturday I met up with The Quacks of Life
at Packwood House to look round the gardens. It was really lovely to finally meet up after all these years.

First of all a scone in the tea-room and very tasty it was too.

Then off to the Garden - first of all the Sunken Garden.

Then a walk around the rest of the Carolean Walled Garden with its rose bays and herbaceous borders.

Packwood House dates back to Tudor times and was re-modelled by Graham Baron Ash during the 1920's and 1930's. He gave the house and 113 acres to the National Trust in 1941 in memory of his parents.

The Raised Terrace Walk

The Yew Garden is said to represent the Sermon on the Mount - some of the yews date back to the 1650's.

The Mount

Timothy has made new friends - here he is with Mr Quacks, Clarence and Reise Pferdich and Zuppi. The travelling ponies are on a visit to Mr Quacks at the moment.

And so onto the lake

One of the many sundials at Packwood.

Packwood has a lovely wild flower meadow.

Photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330