I went for a walk the other evening and found my path blocked by a tree.

fallen tree
There are, of course, a host of literary connections I could make: Birnam Wood; the Ents of Middle-Earth; the “very, very country dance” of the Narnian trees that Lucy dances her way through to reach Aslan in Prince Caspian; the trees that “walk[…] down the side of the cutting” in the landslide scene of The Railway Children
Continue reading “timber!”

dawn chorus

Early dawn over the Severn Bridge

The neighbour’s cat croons throatily;
songbirds squeak and whirr:
the new day eases slowly into gear.

high days and holy days

cat silhouette
I’m not a great one for remembering and celebrating the International-Day-of-This and the World-Day-of-That, but this week there were two such days I felt were worth noting: Monday was the feast of St Jerome, patron saint of translators, and Thursday was National Poetry Day in the UK.
Continue reading “high days and holy days”

(cat) food for thought

Cat food bag - Brekkies
Cats have been an integral part of my life for the last 20 years. The ones around now are quite fussy about the tinned food they’ll eat, but less so about the kibble, so I don’t tend to pay a lot of attention to which brand I buy.

This morning, though, I paused to wonder: if cats are happiest when they can snack on and off all day, why am I feeding them something called “Brekkies”? Why isn’t it brunchies, din-dins or snaxes?

Looking closer at the Spanish label, I find that the little yellow flash boasts +sabor / +sapore which sounds worryingly as if it has “more taste : more toads”.

As for this post title, since the Spanish for kibble is pienso, maybe I should have called it “thought for food”.

here be dragons

dragonfly closed wings

The cats bring me gifts; they leave them outside the door: lizards, locusts, snakes, birds, eggs, embryos, feathers…

I’m never sure what I’ll find on the verandah in the morning. Never sure if it will be alive or dead, complete or dismembered.

So when I found this lovely creature the other morning, I assumed he was only in one piece because the cats had got bored and abandoned the game when he died of shock.

Naturally, I went to get the camera to take some close-ups… Continue reading “here be dragons”

neighbours and other animals


When we first moved here, the village seemed to be home to a surfeit of satanic and unholy animals. Some belonged to neighbours, some were just wild visitors.

Emilio had a half a dozen goats and his lad used to herd them across the unfenced part of our land to graze in the olive grove: an enduring image is that of a sleek black goat poised, watchful, on a rock or stone wall, or up on two legs under an olive tree. ( I am glad to say that despite the ease with which he assumed this vertical posture, I never heard the horned one speak.)
Continue reading “neighbours and other animals”

pedantry & poetry

"James Anderson becomes only the fourth England player to take 300 Test wickets during the first Test against New Zealand."

Cricket Tests are renowned for how long they last, but the BBC news to the right seems to imply they might go on for weeks: if Anderson was the fourth to take 300 wickets in the first Test, then three others had done so before him.

Just how long does it take for 1200+ wickets to be taken?

Elsewhere on the BBC last week I read their College of Journalism blog post: We all love lists, but are they all journalism?
Continue reading “pedantry & poetry”