of branches and bunches

Half the people in the village this morning were carrying bunches of flowers and greenery, which reminds me that it must be Domingo de Ramos – Palm Sunday.

Ramo and rama are words I can never get straight. Checking today in the on-line Diccionario de la Real Academia, I see that rama is a branch emerging from the tunk or main stem of a plant. Ramo, on the other hand, is a secondary level branch that emerges from the rama madre, or, perhaps, a rama cortada del árbol. If branches change sex the further they get from the trunk or once they’ve been cut from the tree, no wonder I’m confused.
Continue reading “of branches and bunches”



Swallowtail butterfly on lilac
but oh, so far from London!

At this time of year, my garden in the Gredos foothills makes me long for Kew, though I doubt very much that they have the same butterflies there.

(The Barrel Organ by Alfred Noyes can be read here.)


I’ve always found typical Spanish names a problem: who’d call their daughter Dolores, for example, given that it means “pains”? Or Sagrario, which, according to your reading, may be “shrine” or “monstrance”. Or Purificación or Inmaculada Concepción?

Of course these are traditional Catholic names which are also reflected in dedications of churches and church schools around the country.
Continue reading “inconceivable”

cherry white

Having mislaid the cable to connect my camera to the computer I find my blogging is somewhat hampered: it’s easy enough to find things to write about, but I don’t want to make the page all text.

Fortunately, the cherry trees were in blossom last year, the year before and the year before that, so I’ve cheated and found an old photo to illustrate this Housman poem which pretty much describes the countryside round here at the moment. Mind you, I don’t really expect to have another 50 years to “look at things in bloom”, so I’d better get a move on and go out and look at them this spring.
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first day of spring

Although the weather outside (here in central Spain) is hotter than a normal UK summer would be, I’m reminded by Google that today is the first day of spring.

This blog is in desperate need of an update, but if I want to get out there and enjoy the sunshine later on today, I’d better get some work done, so I’ll settle for posting a poem:


March skies leaked
milky sunshine; now it lies
in primrose pools on the embankment.

From ivydark, zodiac
periwinkles blink, then stare
where caterpillar catkins dance
with bumble bees. Under the trees
a crocus campfire kindles.

Gold permeates the air: the blackbirds
have been drinking

(First published in Poetry Scotland, 2005, which is quite appropriate, as the ideas started to germinate on a visit to Irvine some years ago.)

London graffiti

Travelling in London this last week, it was a pleasant surprise to read the following sign:

Leake Street, SE1
Leake Street, SE1

The result of that freedom to draw, paint, spray etc., is a highly decorative tunnel:
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early spring

After a few grey days in Madrid, I returned to the village to find that the almond trees had blossomed and the apricots are well on their way.

bee and apricot blossom
bee and apricot blossom

Two days ago, the sky really was that blue and it was too hot to have lunch on a terraza. Today dawned grey and damp and feels rather more like I’d expect for St David’s. I hope that honey bee has a nice warm hive to keep out of the wet.