the first cuckoo

Well, not actually a cuckoo as such, but a cuckoo flower.

March went out like a lamb and it’s been gloriously warm recently – so much so that I am afraid we have already had our summer – so I had begun to wonder what had happened to the April I know and love who provides us with such constantly changing weather that we are never short of a topic of conversation.
Continue reading “the first cuckoo”

yellow

The word yellow has been wandering through my mind in search of something to connect with.

It could connect with bulldozer. It could connect with huge chunky slablike somethings that hang in the air in much the same way that bricks don’t. It could connect with the small, leech-like Babel fish.

It could connect with the eyes of a huge eagle with circles tattooed on its wings, or with Kate Schechter’s battered Citroën 2CV.

It could, of course, just connect to fields like the one in the photo, and the rapeseed flowers that are spreading across the English countryside at this time of year: a veritable Suffusion of Yellow.

busy

As I am too busy to write more than a few words, I thought I’d just post a photograph and this seemed the “busiest” picture I’d taken in a while.

Then I stopped to wonder what the plant was and it occurred to me that if every one of those flowers turns into a fruit of some sort, it must be one of the shrubs that is covered in tiny berries through the autumn and winter. I don’t know many shrub names, but it seems likely it’s a variety of cotoneaster.

My pronunciation of that is something akin to KO-tun-ee-aster, but having written it down, I’ve remembered my mother’s humorous referrals to the cotton-Easter plant. Which makes it almost topical.

educational

I’ve said before that when we used to go on family holidays my parents always found room in the suitcases for a few books.

Specifically, there was always the Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds and the Collins Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers, and I must have spent hours identifying and listing the new species we found. (Perhaps it wasn’t just me who had this task – it may have been a more familial activity, or perhaps we even had a competition to see which sibling found the most – but my memory is only of my own lists.)
Continue reading “educational”

symmetry and disorder

The sun shone when I walked to the market this morning and again when I walked to the supermarket this afternoon, which gave me the opportunity to take photographs of spring flowers, swelling leaf buds, and even a small tortoiseshell butterfly.

The traditional yellow daffodils with proper trumpets – the ones I think of as King Alfreds – are mostly past their best, but there are all sorts of other varieties in bloom still, including some utterly gorgeous pheasant’s-eye narcissus. The tiny black bugs in the eye of this one make its colours even more like the butterfly in the top photo.
Continue reading “symmetry and disorder”

more mothers

Well, it’s Mothering Sunday and we altered the clocks last night, doing the old dear out of an hour in bed.

I’m not sure that these two dates always coincide, but my mother first drew my attention to it when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, saying that she thought a woman PM could have organised things a bit better. Of course Thatcher was supposed to only need four hours’ sleep a night, so I don’t suppose it mattered much to her.
Continue reading “more mothers”

mothers and daughters

We had New Year at the start of 2017, and Chinese New Year at the end of January; then the new astrological year began on Tuesday with the Spring equinox.

Now today is March 25th – Lady Day – and, apparently, the traditional start of the new legal year.

(Incidentally, it seems that in combination with the lost days caused by the calendar change in 1752, this explains why we have a tax year that starts on April 6th.)
Continue reading “mothers and daughters”