"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, 29 April 2020

Trying to keep busy!

Recent Reading

I treated myself to The Wren a few months ago when life was normal and I was able to go to a bookshop! It was reduced probably because the paperback had just come out? I loved this book - lots of fascinating facts about the wren and charming illustrations. I think the author has written a book on The Robin which I will look out for.

It took me a while to get into the first book (The Windermere Witness) as the format is different from many other detective books but I did enjoy it and, of course, it is set in the Lake District an area I love. As you can see I bought an omnibus edition of the first 3 books in the series.

I bought this magazine a few months ago on an impulse in W H Smith. I have a lot of books on The Tudors but sometimes a magazine format with lots of illustrations makes more relaxing reading and I am reading a few pages a day.

In the Garden

I managed to get slightly better photos of the Large Red Damselfly which we were seeing daily in the garden. For once it posed nicely for the camera :)

I'm thrilled that half dozen Lady's Smock plants have re-appeared in the bog garden. Sorry not the best of photos - I couldn't get close enough without falling in the pond!

Hawthorn is coming into flower.

We picked a few garden flowers - some to press and some to put in little jugs.

Clematis is flowering on the patio

and the orange Azalea is now in bloom.

We haven't seen Hedgehogs in the garden for years but I have found what looks very much like a hedgehog dropping deposited by the wildflower area. Thanks to Pam and Amanda for confirming id. I have been out in the garden at dusk but haven't yet seen an actual hedgehog but, of course, it could visit at any time during the night so I will keep looking.

Vegetable seedlings in the small greenhouse

We think the Blue Tit has started to lay eggs - it is hard to see as she covers the eggs with nesting material during the day as Blue Tits don't normally start incubating until the clutch is complete or nearly complete.

We thought the female Blackbird's nest in the laurel had been predated as she was making a real song and dance early one morning. But as she is still going in and out of the laurel bush we are hopeful the eggs are still there.


The flour is diminishing rapidly and it seems impossible to buy any anywhere but E did make this lemon curd and cream sponge one day.

I made some flapjacks another day as no flour required!

To use up some stale bread Timothy helped make Bread Pudding - again no flour required :)

This and That

D is still sorting out his coin collection. More replica sets.

He did find a hammered silver coin from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I dated 1537 and I will try and get a photo for the next post as this coin is original although not in the best of conditions!

I've continued with the little "journal" of garden wildlife. My drawing does not improve sadly and some of the proportions are wrong (note size of leaf of Red Campion compared to flower!!) but I am getting a lot of pleasure from it and as mentioned before I am noticing far more detail in flowers and leaves than I would normally.

I hope everyone is staying safe and well. Take care.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Garden and "This and That"

Garden Robin - I have only seen one at the same time this year but I hope there is a pair of them.

First of all I hope everyone is staying safe and well. Here the days continue to merge into one and most of the time I haven't a clue what day of the week it is. The only difference is weekends when D stops working at home and has 2 days off!


I am certainly spending a lot more time wandering round the garden and dare I say it appreciating it a lot more.

Holly Blue and Orange Tips are still being seen plus I have seen several unidentified "white" butterflies - too distant and flying too swiftly to work out the species.

Speckled Wood have now emerged and we are frequently seeing males doing their spiralling territorial flights together.

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)


Bumble Bees are around - all Queens and many seem to be looking for nest sites. White-tailed, Buff-tailed and Red-tailed have been seen.

I managed to get a few record shots of a Dark-edged Bee Fly (Bombylius major)

It was fascinating to watch it putting the long proboscis into Honesty flowers. They make look cute and cuddly but in actual fact they are parasitic bee mimics. The female shoots eggs in the direction of the nests of ground nesting and solitary bees and the Bee Fly larvae feed on the bee grubs!

Over the last few days we have seen a reddish coloured damselfly in the garden. Truly dreadful shots of the one today perched on the outside of the french doors while I tried to take photos from inside! Please ignore the patio pot that needs a weed!!

Bearing in mind the time of year and the black legs I think it may be Large Red Damselfly but I need a better view and photo to be certain.

Lots of Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) leaves are appearing in the wild flower "meadow" towards the top of the garden.

Wood Sorrel or Fairy Bells (Oxalis acetosella)

Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) Apparently this is also known as "Sour Ducks" as its leaves taste tart!

Red Campion (Silene dioica)

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemerosa also called Wind Flower,Thunderbolt (as picking it could cause a thunderstorm), Granny's Nightcap, Moon Flower, Silver Bells, Drops of snow, Moonflower, Thimbleweed and Smell Fox as the leaves smell musky.

White Bluebells

Azaleas - we mainly have pink ones but there is one orange one which is still in bud.


Pot Marigold or Calendula - thankfully a few of these have self seeded as the only seeds I have left are donkeys years old.

Ephemeral yellow poppies are starting to flower.

I found a mass of a new wildflower for the garden - Shining Cranesbill (thanks to Amanda for confirming id).

I have taken up Amanda's (From The Quiet Walker blog) suggestion to keep a little journal listing a few species found in the garden that day and illustrating them. I am the first to admit my drawings look as though they were done by a child!! but I have found it a really relaxing way to spend some time, it concentrates the mind and it really makes you look at the detail of a flower.

Thyme much loved by bees is starting to flower.

Yesterday I planted some seeds - wall pennywort (I fell "in love" with this plant when I went to Anglesey last year and found it growing all over the walls at the Hut Circles at South Stack) seeds bought last year, nasturtiums, sweet peas (seeds bought from Easton Walled Gardens last year) and sunflowers (not sure if the seeds will be viable as they are years old!) D and B have already planted some vegeable seeds.

D found some replica and "real" coin sets last weekend to add to his collection.

I particularly liked this replica coin from the realm of King Offa as we have called the static caravan Offa as it is not that far from Offa's Dyke.

A new jigsaw completed over Easter although I must admit D and E did most of it!

Sadly, a piece had gone missing - I am sure it will turn up one day so B made a replica piece to fill the gap!

Baking is being rationed as flour supplies are low and I can't buy any anywhere.

E made a lemon curd sponge which was delicious. It did sink a bit in the middle but it didn't spoil the cake. It is quite strange because I made a cream sponge from the same book a few months ago and mine sank too!!!! which has never happened to me before. The recipe seems pretty standard so I really don't know what went wrong unless the oven is on the blink. We do need a new cooker but at the moment that is not likely to happen!

Timothy helping me with the OS Map Puzzle Book which I am really enjoying.

B made a Lemon Meringue Pie using up some lemons and eggs about to go past their use by dates.

Timothy helping me have a few glasses of some rather lovely English Heritage wine.

Back in the garden - no sign yet of any Blue Tit eggs although a lot of feathers have been added to the nest. A female Blackbird has built a nest in a laurel near the patio. Not the best of places and I suspect magpies have already clocked where it is :(

Take care everyone and keep safe and well.

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