wildlife

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In Outside

M.I.A

And all of a sudden May is here. The trees are unfurling their fresh foliage, the veg patch needs tending, the bluebells are nearly over and the evenings are long. April felt like it was missing in action. Disappearing before my eyes like the early morning mist. I hope this isn’t an indication of how quickly the rest of the year is going to vanish.

April was a month of surprises. As the first month of spring we are used to expecting the showers, but the glorious sunshine of Easter seduced us into thinking it might even be summer already. Deer bounded in and out …

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In Inside

Mistletoe and December skies

He is nothing if not stoic, brooding on his watch tower  like a mottled tawny and brown drowned rat,  tail feathers scraggly forlorn and drooping down, raindrops dripping off the ends. His head turns and he looks straight down at me before swooping off silently over the fields beyond the road side hedgerow. This is how December has greeted us too; swooping and silent.  And somewhat schizophrenically with dismal mornings of endless rain giving way to glorious afternoons of blue skies and long shadows and back to evenings of gales and streams of rain. I yearn for a properly cold spell.

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In Outside

Why did the pheasant cross the road?

I have developed a rather morbid fascination lately. I count the number of carcasses I can spot littering the road side during my twice daily school run.  Specifically, pheasant carcasses, because they are the ones I see most often. My record was 8 in a 5m stretch of country lane. I find their limp rag doll bodies so sad; feathers frayed, buffeted by vehicles. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I wonder if any other animal ended up dead by the road as often, there wouldn’t be some sort of outcry? To me, they are a disturbing symbol of our disposable lifestyles.

A …

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In Outside

12 years

This post is a little different from my usual – but it’s something I feel passionate about. I always have ever since I was little. And now the clock is ticking….

I worry about my children’s future – as any mum does. But when it’s October and the temperature gauge in the car says its 23 degrees and its warm until their bed time alarm bells start ringing. This, just a day after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that we have 12 years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen …

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In Outside

August August

August, the height of summer, some may think. Or perhaps its depth.Either way this year has been the kind of summer that children store up as memory of all summers. Sunshine and barbecues, icecreams, open windows on hot nights and paddling pools.

In one of those neat word plays, August is named after Emperor Augustus, (after the latin for venerable or consecrated)  and originally had only 30 days. It was thought necessary to add another day in order that Augustus might not be in any respect inferior to Julius. Thus Augustus was exceptionally august in altering August. The only Augustus I can think of is …

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In Outside

Dog days and birthdays

Seamlessly we sweltered from June into July with a prolonged warm dry spell that children will remember in their adult years and adults will remember in their dotage. The dog days are truly here,  sultry days and still nights of heat, drought, fires, thunderstorms, lethargy, mad dogs and Englishmen out in the sun. Even the birds seem to languish idly in the suspended in the humid air, barely moving their wings for flight, as if it’s too much effort. The buzzard is more present and seems to follow me; flying over the garden, perched atop his telegraph pole on the school run. Hot and hungry …

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In Outside

The greatest show

Once you start opening your eyes and training them to see, you will notice all sorts of wonderful things. Whether it is the flower that grows in a crack in the pavement, the buzzard circling overhead, the damselfly zipping through the air. You may even start to appreciate that just like humans, wildlife have their preferred spots to hang out, it may be the same branch, the same telegraph pole, the same field. I used to notice all these things as a child on the way to school; there was a favoured spot of an owl and I would look for him (or her) most …

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In Outside

In the June light

The bliss of June has already arrived. We have passed from spring to young summer and the delights the new season brings could not be surpassed by John Clare’s poem;

‘Now summer is in flower and natures hum Is never silent round her sultry bloom Insects as small as dust are never done Wi’ glittering dance and reeling in the sun And green wood fly and blossom haunting bee Are never weary of their melody…’

We have been away for four days and there has been a heady mix of rain and heat and now the garden seems full of green, and colour everywhere. I …

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In Outside

Spring Snapshot

Finally. It’s here; the lime chlorophyll of new leaves clashing against the periwinkle blue sky, so bright and vibrant it almost hurts the eyes; but I can’t look away because I can’t get enough of it. There is fullness where once there were naked skeletons. As the saying goes, no winter lasts forever and no spring skips its turn. The soil is warming, there is green abundance along the roadsides, purple mosaics of bluebells, dazzling yellow dandelions.  I’m a pretty careful observer of nature in the garden, but one blink and everything has grown again, or blossomed or bloomed.

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In Travel

Time to get lost

One of my favourite books as a child was The Secret Garden; the story of a hidden garden abandoned and unloved, like the children in the story, all of whom are transformed through the power of kindness and caring for others, as they bring the  garden back to life.  The book is captivating and magical, rejuvenating and ultimately uplifting. But, there is a real life secret garden that was similarly left to languish and crumble but which was rediscovered in the 1990s and has since been restored to its former glory; The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

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