of pests and petunias

I used to love petunias and geraniums and all the vivid windowbox flowers whose colours brighten up grey days and grey urban spaces. But I fell out of love with petunias when the ones I was growing in pots on the deck in California developed an infestation of caterpillars. I can’t bear to kill creatures of any sort, but nor am I impressed to see my small gardening efforts reduced to the buffet at a bug-feast.

Later, in the early 90s in Spain, my love of geraniums was sorely tried when there was a plague of butterflies – Cacyreus marshalli – in Madrid. Their larvae bored into the stems of many plants around the city and wreaked havoc with the traditional Mediterranean balcony displays of scarlet flowers bursting between wrought iron railings.
Continue reading “of pests and petunias”

small blues

Some fifty plus years ago, when I was a little girl, my mother made my brother a butterfly net out of a bamboo garden cane, a hoop of wire and an old net curtain. I don’t know how often he used it, but I suspect it wasn’t that often.

Whether he tired of it in the first few weeks, or whether it was when it came out of the shed on the second summer and he was off on his bike in the park with his mates, somehow, I managed to inherit it.
Continue reading “small blues”

russet-brown pauses

Although life and work are gradually returning to some kind of normality, when weather and time permit, I continue my occasional walks over the local racecourse. It helps to clear the digital world from my mind and lungs, and offers me an opportunity to reset after spending so many hours sitting in the same chair, in front of the same screen.

But, unless I know I have plenty of time to focus on the world around me, I’m unlikely to bother to carry my camera. So although I like to keep a photographic record of the things I see, I have to rely on the camera on my phone, and the photos are not usually great quality. Still, they serve their purpose of reminding me of what I saw when, and sometimes they’re good enough to supply images for this blog.
Continue reading “russet-brown pauses”

unintentionally untitled

(Edited some 12 hours after original posting to add a post title.)

For the last month or so, scarcely a day goes by without another news story about a once-in-a-decade phenomenon, a record influx, a mass migration… the huge clouds of painted lady butterflies that are appearing across the UK.

And for the last month or so, I’ve been watching hopefully – but in vain – to observe this “butterfly bonanza”.
Continue reading “unintentionally untitled”

butterfly thoughts & mindful musings

I’ve been recording the videos for a new online writing course with the working title “Creative Inspirations”. The course was born from the fact that, at some time in their life, almost every writer looks at a blank screen or a blank page and realises they don’t know how to get started.

For me, this happens quite regularly. Indeed, I could say it happens almost every weekend when it’s time to write a blog post. Sadly, although each class in the course will provide a new activity or insight to trigger ideas, I’m not sure it’s what I need for writing here; I do, however, hope it will be of use to other writers and poets who have hit a bit of a wall.
Continue reading “butterfly thoughts & mindful musings”