Last week we stayed near Hay on Wye for a family holiday, seven adults and two dogs and I had a lovely time catching up with reading and basically chilling out. I went to Hay three times during the week and was taken by all the lovely displays and this window caught my eye and I love all of the reflections which are in it. It has now become my background on my computer and it just makes me smile.
This person reading made me want to make a similar piece for the school library.One of the highlights of the trip was finding a new author to read and having not read any Shirley Jackson I found two books by her and loved reading them. Especially liked ‘We Have Always Lived in a Castle’ and was really taken with this fantastic book cover for ‘The Haunting of Hill House’, so lovely reading a Gothic story and sitting in the warm sunshine.I had to mention the sweet shop and chocolate limes I saw and then bought, the thrill of having them in a small paper bag, the utter joy when I unwrapped one and popped it in my mouth. It actually made me do lots of little claps and brought back memories of me eating them a long time ago when I went to the cinema to watch ‘An American Werewolf in London’, it was really odd that a taste sensation brought back this memory. My husband thinks I am a little mad after this strange episode and smiles whenever I mention them now.
My son spotted this duck cane and asked me to take the picture. I particularly like it has raindrops all over it, ducks do seem to love water!
It was a great week and I am now reflecting on it and thinking…
The bees seemed to be drawn to these beautiful shades of purple, the entrance to the field is now awash with thistles and teasels. Also the sound of humming bees is very evident as the bees seem to be have a great time harvesting the pollen from these prickly flowers. Having diligently looked into what are the colours bees are attracted to it seems they prefer the purples, violets and blues.
I haven’t seen so many bees in a long time and there must have been over a hundred in this small area. All so very busy and it was a little bit of wonder watching them. I hope you all have a happy Sunday and I will leave you with this marvelous quote…
“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
― Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
I was very luck to be a part of the Big Weekend in Cambridge, I volunteered to read stories to children in the Big Read Tent I love reading out loud to children and it was a joy and a real pleasure to do this. I went along armed with some of my favourite illustrated books and did my half an hour on the stage (chair) doing something I love.
The tent we were in was lovely and colourful and also a welcome relief for the parents and children from the very warm, sunny weather outside. So with my ‘captive audience I read a variety of books and all fabulously illustrated my set list as follows
‘Ernest’ and ‘Augustus and his Smile’ by Catherine Rayner,
‘Puffin Peter’ by Petr Horacek,
‘Something Else’ by Kathryn Cave and Illustrated by Chris Riddell
‘Tidy’ by Emily Gravett
‘Crunch’ by Carolina Rabei
I had a wonderful time and loved looking at the faces of my audience where some of them just had wonder in their expressions.
Little Cat came along as my mentor and manager, making sure I stayed on track.
Reading out loud to children is so important they hear stories being read and get to share with others, it is also seeing that books are valued and stories mean something. I was involved with Empathy Day earlier in June and it is was about raising awareness that empathy can be understood through books and by ensuring that children understand this and be aware of the thoughts and feelings of others we can hopefully make our world a better place.
I have to thank my son James for the photos as he came along with me, I also embarrassed him a little as I introduced him to the audience and told them he had come to listen to his Mum reading out loud.
Also thank you to the wonderful Rae Snape for organising the Big Read Tent and the flamingo’s which now haunt me.
But that is another story!
We had a lot of plants which looked a little alien as they were growing and which grew by the back path outside of house and they steadily grew upwards.
They have now revealed themselves to be Teasels. I remember one solitary plant last autumn being along the path and having seeded itself it is now grown to about thirty of forty of them. They are at present bursting into flowers of pale lilac and pink and are wonderful to look at and as usual I investigated further and found that they used to be used in olden times to ‘tease’ cloth Teasels play a little known part in the manufacturing of many textile fabrics.
The stiff needle-like bracts which form just below the flowers in the head or
burr are used to raise the ‘nap’ or ‘pile’ of the cloth to produce desired finishes
on specific fabrics.
If you click on the link above you will find that they had a multitude of uses.
They stand taller than me and if you stand around long enough you see a huge variety of insects visiting them. I also know that lots of birds love their seeds, so in the autumn I hope that I am able to see them.
Woke up this morning feeling so much better than yesterday. A little fragile but much more alive. I went walking with the dogs on the back field and was very taken with the dandelion seed heads, they were everywhere and looked so perfect. The picture above is a moment in time, the seeds will probably all been distributed on the wind later today from this one puff ball head. The Dandelion is supposed to be the one plant which signifies the three celestial bodies, the yellow flower the sun, the round puffball seed head the moon and the individual wind born seeds the stars.
Also seen this morning were these beautiful blue flowers of the plant called Green Alkanet ( Pentaglottis sempervirens), on researching this lovely looking weed I found out it was introduced to this country hundreds of years ago as it very large roots can provide a rich red dye and its use of it can be dated back to Egyptian times. All a little odd as the flowers are blue!
Cow Parsley is abundant along the lane to the field and it looks so delicate. It is mentioned in the poem “Silent Noon” by Christina Rossetti or by her brother Dante Gabrielle, no one knows for sure. I will leave this post with the words of the poem.
Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass, –
The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:
Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms
‘Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass.
All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,
Are golden kingcup-fields with silver edge
Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge.
‘Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.
Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky: –
So this wing’d hour is dropt to us from above.
Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
This close-companioned inarticulate hour
When twofold silence was the song of love.
We went out for a short walk to Great Bardfield and parked up and walked down a marked bridleway. It was butterfly heaven and I was treated to seeing ‘Orange-tip’ ‘Holly Blue’ and a ‘Speckled Wood’ butterflies. This was especially great for me as the ‘Orange-tip has been an elusive butterfly as they never seem to settle for long. It was so lovely walking along the path and seeing the countryside and hearing wonderful birdsong.
Orange tip (folded back wings)
Bridleway in Great Bardfield, Essex