bug-eyed monsters

I wonder if schools and other organisations still give books to children as prizes if they do well in exams. Certainly it was common when I was a little girl. Somewhere among my books, I think I’d find ones awarded to my mother, as well, so it’s a practice that goes back a long way here in the UK.

The reason I am wondering is because I’ve been wishing I could find my Observer’s Book of Common Insects and Spiders, which was the book I claimed as my prize after doing well in a Scripture exam I must have taken through the Sunday School or Girls’ Brigade.
Continue reading “bug-eyed monsters”

memory of colour

I mentioned last weekend that salmon pink geraniums always remind me of Elizabeth Goudge’s delightful book The Little White Horse. The book is a firm favourite of mine, read again and again when I was a child, and no doubt I’ll read it again with pleasure whenever I manage to retrieve my books from that storage locker in central Spain.

Despite being brought up in a time when blue was for boys and pink for girls, I was never that fond of pink, so perhaps it was Loveday Minnette’s love of the flowers in the book that has made salmon pink my favourite among geraniums. A close runner-up is red – the bright, bright red that verges on vermillion.
Continue reading “memory of colour”

blue horizons

For me, some flowers and plants are inextricably linked to books I have read. I can’t see a periwinkle flower like the one above without its other name – Joy-of-the-ground – springing to mind alongside images of Maria Merryweather and her pony at Moonacre Manor in Elizabeth Goudge’s delightful story The Little White Horse.

Salmon pink geraniums also take me to the same story, but they don’t fit this post’s colour theme, and, really, it’s colours not books that I’m thinking about today.
Continue reading “blue horizons”

encounter with cows

During the lockdown, I’ve begun going to the racecourse when I have time for a proper walk, as there is plenty of space to avoid people. As well as the paths around the track, there’s also a small wooded area, where I know I will be completely alone, and there are a couple of places where you can climb over stiles and get onto footpaths that cross the adjoining fields.

There’s a proper made-up path on the inside of the track, but I prefer the natural path thats skirts the racecourse; this is quite narrow, but you can always dip under the fence to ensure the recommended distance is adhered to.
Continue reading “encounter with cows”

forget-me-not

What’s the point of having a blog if you don’t allow yourself a little self-indulgence occasionally?

The poem included below was written over twenty years ago; I think it was published last century in Roundhouse, a Welsh poetry magazine. I’m not sure if the magazine still exists or if it has gone the way of so many small-press print publications.
Continue reading “forget-me-not”

far and near

One of the most notable things about the current crisis is how easy it has become to use words such as crisis, pandemic, unprecedented… And another is how easy it is to speak of thousands of deaths as if each one of those statistics didn’t refer to a unique and cherished individual.

For me, another of the most notable aspects of the last few months is how much contact I’ve had with people all through this “social distancing” time.
Continue reading “far and near”

spaced out

Whether you think of it as a habit or a hobby, queuing is often seen as quintessentially British. And now, with social distancing a must, long lines of people waiting patiently have become a common sight outside the few essential shops that are still open.

Not only are such shops limiting the number of customers allowed in at one time, they’re also insisting customers shop singly. Which means that partners and housemates hang around the shop entrance alongside security guards, supermarket bouncers and trolley fetchers in disorderly groups that contrast greatly with the orderly, wide-gapped queues.
Continue reading “spaced out”