"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

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Recent reading and a garden update.

Recent Reading

I always enjoy nature writing by Paul Evans (he also writes in the Guardian's Country Diary) and this collection of essays on Britain's natural history did not disappoint - the Bestiary at the end of the book is particularly good. The title is the same as a 1940 Batsford Book but Paul Evans' book is nature writing for the 21st century.

I bought this kindle book as we are going to Anglesey for our main summer holiday and, although I visited twice as a child with my parents and also went on a residential Geography "A" level field trip there, my memories are a trifle hazy! The book is written with passion by the author who lives on the island and is entertaining and humorous. The only downside is that the book could do with some editing as the section on beaches has an awful lot of repetition in the text. Nevertheless it has given me some wonderful ideas of places to visit and I certainly feel as if I know a lot more about Anglesey than before I started to read it.

The George and Molly Palmer-Jones books improve as the series progresses and I really enjoyed this one.

The Stephens and Mephisto books in the Brighton Mysteries series just keep getting better and better. I loved this book.

I haven't read a Mary Webb novel for years - Mary Webb was a novelist from the early twentieth century and this book is set in the wild landscape of Shropshire at the beginning of the 19th century. It is a beautiful, poignant and moving tale with beautiful descriptions of the landscape. The book tells the sad tale of Gideon Sarn who is obsessed with gaining wealth as seen through the eyes of his sister Prudence Sarn who was born with a hare lip which, in those unenlightened times, was often regarded as a sign of witchcraft. It is also the story of the love developing between Prudence and the weaver Kester Woodseaves.

Thankfully I still have quite a few books in the Maisie Dobbs series to read - I really do like this series as Maisie is such an endearing character.

Garden Update

Primroses have now finished flowering but

Lungwort is still flowering profusely.

Green Alkanet which appeared out of the blue in the garden is spreading nicely :)

Bluebells are flowering - we seem to have a mix of the dreaded Spanish Bluebell (which were established when we bought the house a long time ago), the native Bluebell and hybrids between the two.

Wood anemones are slowly spreading and

Wood Sorrel (another plant which appeared mysteriously in the garden) is still thriving.

Dandelions are left in peace to flower as they are so good for pollinators.

Camellia attract many insects too - here another hoverfly.

Rosemary in flower

Foget-me-nots and

Flowering currant are also in flower.

There are lots and lots of Yellow Rattle appearing in the mini wildflower meadow although couch grass is still flourishing and

in a border B cleared of brambles to put up some new fencing red campion have seeded.

We've had five species of Butterfly in the garden so far this year - Small Tortoiseshell, Orange Tip, Holly Blue, Peacock and this

Speckled Wood - not the best of photos I couldn't get close enough.- apologies I have a feeling I posted this picture earlier in the month.

We treated ourselves to a lean too greenhouse earlier in the year which is proving useful and we are hoping to grow tomatoes and perhaps peppers in there later in the year.

We decided earlier this year to replace the nestbox with camera as the camera in the old one was no longer working. A pair of Blue Tits have taken up residence and there are now at least five eggs - it is difficult to count them as she is not yet sitting on the eggs and in the daytime she covers them with grass, moss and feathers.


Latest photo - there are six eggs and Mrs BT now seems to have started incubating.

Recently a Sparrowhawk came shooting down the garden towards the house chasing a Blackbird which it failed to catch. The Sparrowhawk ended up perched on the mini greenhouse on the patio looking most put out.


Finally, D has been on holiday and having a decluttering session in his room - he came across a kit to build a flowerpot man which he had had for years but never made. Now completed it sits in our porch. I think it is rather cute :)

*D Photo taken by D with the Canon SX50HS bridge camera
Rest of photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Welford on Avon




D is on holiday this week and we wanted to have a trip out yesterday. But where to go? Initial thoughts were Little Moreton Hall or Witley Court but when I checked the websites I discovered Easter events were being held which meant they would probably be heaving with people so in the end we went to explore a rather picturesque village in South Warwickshire.

Welford on Avon is just over 4 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon located in a loop of the River Avon. The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book but there was a settlement here long before that. It is now part of Warwickshire but up until 1931 it was in the county of Gloucestershire.

The village was very quiet (thankfully no hordes of tourists!) and we parked by a small village green opposite the Bell pub.

Welford is well known for its thatched, timber-framed cottages many dating back to the 17th century

The church of St Peter is the oldest building in the village and it was built on the site of an earlier 12th century church. It is believed that centuries ago the church tower was used as a landmark for travellers crossing the ford over the nearby River Avon.

Tenpenny Cottage which gets its name from the quarterly rent charged for tenants is one of the most photographed cottages in England.

Opposite is another lovely building called Owl Pen.


We followed a footpath to the banks of the River Avon.

Dandelions and daisies were flowering everywhere and it

was lovely to see a few cowslips on the grassland.

White Dead Nettle

This looked like a community orchard.

We arrived back at the church and I agreed with B and D that I would have a quick look round the interior while they carried on exploring the village and I would meet them in half an hour at The Bell for lunch.

Norman South Door

Annoyingly the church was well and truly locked!! I had done a bit of research beforehand which suggested it is usually open perhaps it was closed due to repairs that are being carried out?. I am not having much luck seeing inside churches at the moment (remember Adderbury!). What did I miss inside? I gather there is a 13th century font, fragments of 14th century glass in the chancel and a 15th century grave slab of a priest.

I should have got Timothy to pose next to this little teddy.

I decided to have a quick look round the churchyard

A lovely manor house over the road from the church.

Onto The Bell and lunch - the pub dates back to the 17th century and local legend suggests that William Shakespeare met Ben Jonson here for a drink and on the way home he was caught in a rain storm and contracted a dose of fatal pneumonia.

The lunch was very good - Fougasse bread with pesto, roasted red pepper and goat's cheese served with red onion marmalade and we shared a portion of chips.

After lunch we continued to explore the village.

This house was for sale - I checked the price when we got home and it is well above our budget!

The 20 metre tall may pole is one of the tallest in England.


Hawthorn is coming into flower.

The Shakespeare Inn dates to the late 18th century.

Chapel House and the Wesleyan Chapel established in 1801.


It was a really enjoyable day out and perhaps one day I will return to see inside the church.

*D Photos taken by D with the Canon SX50 HS bridge camera
Rest of photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera.