sacred and secular

Today is Palm Sunday – the Sunday before Easter, when the Christian church remembers Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and the welcoming crowds strewing palm fronds in his path. In the UK, there are no native palms, so traditionally we use willow branches; I remember as a child picking branches of grey pussy willow catkins to decorate the local chapel my family attended.

This year, whether it’s due to climate change, the vagaries of the English weather, or simply a later Easter than sometimes, the sleek fur catkins are already fluffy and yellow with pollen.
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binge

Apparently Monday was Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year, when the weather is lousy, the days are still too short and we are all despairing over having failed to keep our New Year resolutions.

I don’t make resolutions – which is probably the best way not to break them – but I do recognise that for me this last week has little to do with healthy eating, exercise, diets or other good habits that people tend to adopt at this time of year.
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celebratory

According to the news, the Queen celebrated her 91st birthday yesterday by going to Newbury races.

As far as I can ascertain, there was no special monarch’s trophy awarded or race run to mark either the Queen’s birthday or her presence at the event; even so, it’s as good a reason as any for starting this post with a photo of a magnificent golden kingcup.
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roost, rooster, roostest

I first came across the word “palimpsest” years ago, when I was training to teach English as a foreign language: in one of the classes we were given a list of words that we were not expected to know and asked to chat with a partner and guess their meanings.

Presumably, the idea was to simulate the stress suffered by the students we would encounter once we qualified, but, of course, our situation was vastly different as we were all native speakers and there was really no great pressure to get the answers right, anyway.
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watercolour

The weather has been mostly grey recently and I’ve barely bothered to take my camera out with me as I haven’t expected to find much to take pictures of. Today, though, I decided to go out in the drizzle and within five minutes of leaving the house I came across a tree in full blossom.

Naturally, I decided to take pictures, but when I looked at them later on the computer I was disappointed to find that they might as well have been in black and white.

grey blossom against grey sky
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