Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Spring at Last

Looks like spring has arrived at last. The daffodils are in flower, the collard doves are billing and cooing and we have frog spawn in the pond. As I was walking back from replenishing the bird feeders in the plum tree I noticed the frog spawn and went to take a closer look; at this point the whole of the surface of the pond seemed to move - it was the newts basking in the watery sunshine and looking forward, no doubt, to feasting on tiny tadpoles when they eventually emerge from their little bubbles.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Overheard earlier today as I walked to the local shop. Two small boys chatting on the pavement whilst playing football

1st Boy - she isn’t ginger

2nd Boy - she is, well ginger-ish

1st boy - she’s strawberry blond

2nd boy - she isn’t blond, she’s ginger-ish

1st boy - she isn’t ginger

2nd boy - not ginger, I said ginger-ish

The pretty tabby kitten sitting on the wall watching them play gave me a knowing look.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

One Year On

Well, I started this Blog a year ago today and it seems I wrote about Dab Chicks at Cromford Canal. Perhaps we should go back and look at them again but given that the weather is much colder this year than last they probably aren’t up to their courting rituals and amusing antics yet; is everything later this year? I think the blackbirds are nesting in our front hedge and today, when we walked around the lake at Trentham the heronry was buzzing; with the birds landing and taking off like planes at Manchester airport. The deer were clustered together as well; all the hinds around one protectively dominant, antlered stag. I’ve just downloaded the Springwatch details from the BBC web site. I haven’t seen any frog spawn in our pond yet this year; just one poor dead frog on the lawn, its back legs sheared off. P said it looked like it had been dropped from a heron’s beak because if one of the cats had taken it its injuries wouldn’t have been so clean cut. Funnily enough I saw a heron land near our pond the other day, peer rather dismissively into it – why do I always see herons wearing a pince-nez? – register that there were no fish and then take off, rather awkwardly, legs dangling, up and away over the shed and the trees behind, wings flapping like mad – hope it had an easier landing at its next port of call..

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Bad Decision

I visited the Elan Valley twice last year. Once with friends on our annual ‘get-together’ and the second time with P on our way further into mid-wales and the coast. It is a strange and beautiful place, even though man made, and summons up those same feelings as when, for example, you visit Ladybower in Derbyshire, or Rutland Water in Rutland because you are always aware of what lies beneath. You can imagine the anguish felt by the people whose homes were destroyed and the sheer hard labour of those who built the dams. For over 100 years the Elan Valley has supplied Birmingham with water at great cost to themselves. Lives, livelihoods and treasured family homes were lost. That is why I think it was so short sighted of Birmingham Council to say no when Community Arts Rhayader And District asked for a donation towards the cost of the £550,000 museum. There is a huge link between the two areas and when I watched the local news yesterday many of the people spoken to in the streets of Birmingham felt that the Council should have made a donation. I think that they have underestimated how their citizens feel about this. I hope they change their minds.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Favourite Book

As it is World Book Day today I thought I would mention one of my all time favourite books J L Carr’s ‘A Month in the Country’. It is set a few years after WW1 and is a bitter-sweet story of love, loss and discovery. There are multiple layers to the meaning of the book and the stories of the wonderful characters interweave throughout its pages. It makes me laugh, it makes me smile, it makes me cry. A truly glorious book that you can read again and again.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Arousing Strong Feelings

I can’t be the only person that hasn’t read any Dan Brown novels and in particular 'The Da Vinci Code', in fact, I know I’m not because I’ve spoken to several people who haven’t read him either. Of the people I’ve spoken to who have read the book they seem to be split into two very distinct camps, those that loved it; and those that hated it. In fact, not just hated it but, indeed, the very mention of either the book or the author seems to make then spit out very colourful and venomous expletives, the like of which I rarely hear except when directed towards mass murderers, child molesters or football thugs. However, the book that has been mentioned in the alleged plagiarism case, I seem to think I have read, many years ago when it was considered 'cool' and the right book to be seen with on a train - or a plane. It was passed round my place of work at the time and we all read it in turn. Well, if it wasn’t that one is was certainly one about the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail. I can't remember anything about it now though. So, I have to make the decision to read or not to read? Perhaps I'll just go and see the film.

Did you all remember to say 'white rabbits' this morning? For once I did remember.