Monthly Archives: March 2019

30 March: Peeping into a poet’s diary.

garlic

End of March and beginning of April, 1871 —

One bay or hollow of Hodder Wood is curled all over with bright green garlic.

In Gerard Manley Hopkins, Selected Poems and Prose, Edited by Ruth Padel, London, Folio Society, 2012, p125.

garlic.flowers

Did the Jesuits of Stonyhurst gather the garlic for their Lenten kitchen, I wonder?

 

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22 April: Far from home.

daffodils
The flowers left thick at nightfall in the wood
This Eastertide call into mind the men,
Now far from home, who, with their sweethearts, should
Have gathered them and will do never again.
Edward Thomas wrote this poem, IN MEMORIAM (Easter, 1915), before he joined up and went to the front.

At the car park again

rav.skyline2

The other day when I walked past this point the sun was shining, the parking warden was smiling and ready to chat when I asked if the motorists were all keeping the rules. ‘Aye, today they are, but it won’t be long before someone gets it wrong.’ He went on, ‘Enjoy this sunshine. It puts a smile on your face, and you’re glad to be out of doors.’ Opening his arms and broadening his Scottish accent, he concluded, ‘And the great thing is, they cannae tax ye for it!’

Enjoy your day, sun, wind, or shower.

First thing in the morning.

stour.sols.orchard

No, I was not best pleased to be woken, well before dawn, by a loud conversation under my bedroom window. But when the two men had moved on there came a burst of song from the bushes next door – not a robin,  but a  wren  Follow the link to the RSPB website to hear the song I heard and see a portrait of the little bird. Was I reconciled to my rude awakening?

The previous day we had watched one foraging along the river bank, in and out of crevices, decimating, we hoped, the number of insect pests ready to attack the garden come Spring.

And come spring, as she certainly looks like coming, will there be a wren’s nest here, in a crevice in the brick wall, hidden by the weeds and ferns, all but inaccessible to any predator? Let’s hope so: there was last year! This is Solley’s Orchard, a little open space in the centre of Canterbury. There was a flour mill nearby, hence the foaming water from the old sluices.

A Frog for the Butterflies

frog.pond.spawn

Miss Turnstone teaches the butterflies, a reception class of 4-5 year-olds. and every year takes some spawn to school so they can watch the tadpoles develop. The frog spawn comes from her mother’s pond.

Hoping to get a photograph for them, I found myself beset with reflections wherever I squatted myself down. Having rejected my snaps altogether, I tried for just one more. This frog chose that moment to swim across the mass of eggs in the bottom of the pond, and gave us an action shot. Not great, but good enough.

The clear water in the pond suggests that it is more than good enough; there’s plenty of weed to start the tadpoles off in life, but we do need to keep a weather eye out for frost. Once the eggs are afloat we could lose a lot to freezing conditions. We’ll live in hope and be ready to help.

1 March: Violets from Saint David’s

violets.pembs

 

These last few days I have been enjoying the gradual appearance of the violets along the side of our house, but instead of getting down on my hands and knees to take a picture of them, on this Saint David’s day, let me share these from the little Welsh city of Saint David’s. We were there in Spring a few years ago and these were alongside a path leading to the saint’s birthplace. ‘Be faithful in the little things’, he told his followers as he lay dying.

Let’s be faithful to the little things of this earth and always have room for a few violets or even daisies, beside our paths.