Oh, to be in England
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England – now!
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops – at the bent
spray’s edge –
That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower
– Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!
This poem is called Home thoughts from abroad and was written by Robert Browning a Victorian poet who spent much of his life in Italy. At present we are unable to leave the house except for short walks near home and I feel a bit as he must have felt when I think of the beautiful spring countryside all around. Unfortunately the thrush who sings each song twice over is quite rare but we do have blackbirds, robins,finches and rooks come to share our garden and I took this photo of red tulips on my walk this morning. The other photo was taken in April last year on Clevedon seafront.
If you need cheering up can I recommend this family’s version of “One day more” from Les Mis It is true that getting an online Tesco delivery slot has suddenly become the most important activity of the day.
This post will be added to flower of the dayFOTP a photo challenge run by Cee Neuner.
and Sunday Stills a challenge run by Terri Webster Shrandt.
Two or possible Austin minis were covered with old pennies in 1967 and used to promote the Beatles record Penny Lane.
The 1960’s conjure up images of flower power, hippies, mini skirts and the birth of pop music. The iconic car was the Austin mini designed by Alec Issigonis and the Beatles were undoubtedly the biggest group of my teenage years.
In 1967 the John Lennon and Paul McCartney single “Penny Lane” was recorded during the Sergeant Pepper session and released with Strawberry Fields forever as part as a double A side. Penny Fields was the area of Liverpool where the Beatles grew up which was named after an 18th century slave owner James Penny.
If you want to sing along click here Continue reading “Penny Lane Austin mini”
The early purple orchid is one of the first orchids to appear each Spring in an English ancient woodland. It has about fifty small flowers which are arranged in a cone shaped cluster on a tall spike. Like many orchids it has a rather unpleasant smell. The leaves are very distinctive with dark blotches which some people think look like dried blood. An old name for the plant was dead men’s fingers. Continue reading “Early purple orchid at Folly farm”
Here in Britain the country is going into full panic mode with the corona virus scare. When I went to the supermarket this morning I noticed a lot of empty shelves. So it is good to know that many of the plants in our woodlands are edible and can be very tasty. A couple of weeks ago I went on a plant foraging walk in our local nature reserve and the leader Steve England introduced us to several plants that were safe to eat or had other uses such as making string or home remedies. Wild garlic is particularly easy to distinguish because of its distinctive pungent smell.
Continue reading “Foraging for wild garlic”
Bristol is famous for its street art. It is after all the home of Banksy. Over the last few years the buildings, underpasses, bridges, buildings and street furniture of inner Bristol have been turned into an art gallery. Continue reading “Bristol Street art for Thursday doors”
The Royal Horticultural Society holds a series of flower shows through out the year including the world famous Chelsea flower show. The season starts in April with the Cardiff flower show. It is always held in Bute Park next to Cardiff Castle. This year, Corona virus permitting it will take place between the 17th and 20th of April. The early date gives visitors a chance to buy bulbs and other plants for the summer.
Click here for more details and to purchase tickets
My photo which will be added to the flower of the day FOTD photo challenge run by Cee Neuner is of the winning entry from last year in the floral marquee. I hope she will allow a succulent display.
It is not certain how the daffodil became the national flower of Wales but Welsh people often wear a daffodil in their buttonhole on March 1st for St. David’s day.
#Sunday Stills is a weekly photo challenge run by Terri Webster Shrandt. For the second Sunday in March, the challenge is your national or state flower.
I am English and our national flower is the rose. I love roses but they flower in the summer here. So I cheated and took a trip across the Severn Bridge to Wales and chose the daffodil. Continue reading “Daffodils for St. David’s day”
Last year we decided to visit Tintern Abbey a ruined Cistercian abbey that sits high above the river wye, the river that divides South Wales from England. The abbey was built in the gothic style between 1361 and 1550 and the monks grew rich from the profits of the wool trade. It was dissolved by Henry VIII but the fact that so much survives is a tribute to the skill of the early builders. Continue reading “A Falconry display at Tintern Abbey”
This week is valentine’s week and the theme for this week’s photo challenge is sweet.
First a confession I don’t usually like sweet things, I prefer savoury snacks and don’t take sugar in my tea. However since this week’s #Sunday stills photo challenge is “sweet” I thought I would try to see what I could manage.
Continue reading “Sugar and spice and all things nice.”
The Tolsey Bradford on Avon.
I am adding this post to #Thursday Doors. This is a weekly fun feature run by Norman Frampton which allows door lovers from around the world to share their finds.
I discovered this door on a walk in Bradford on Avon near Bath. As it was obviously very old I tried to find out a bit more about it. Bradford on Avon was a Saxon town which grew up around a monastery. It is famous for having one of the earliest stone churches in England dating from around a thousand A.D. It also has an enormous medieval tithe barn which attests to the wealth of the area. (In medieval England people were expected to pay a tenth of their income to the church).
This door is in a road known as the shambles which gives Anglo Saxon scholars a clue to its identity. Shambles is believed to come from an old word for stall and often indicates a market. The shambles in York is particularly famous and well worth a visit. Local historians think my door would have once been the home of the market manager or Tolsey who would have collected market tolls. It is thought to be late 15th century. A pillory once stood opposite it and the cellars of the houses opposite were used as the town jail. The site may have been used as a market for over a thousand years and as you can see from the photo below looking along the Shambles is still in use. In case you are wondering the gold pillar box is to celebrate local man Ed Mckeever’s kayak win in the London 2012 Olympics.
Bradford on Avon museum has more information about the town and some lovely old photos.
If you want to read more about our walk around Bradford on Avon or find out about me please visit the platinumline