Spider-thick world

Spider-thick world

Despite an occasional pathetic squeamishness, I protect insects and comfortably co-habit with spiders, and like the idea of this great old tree being thickly woven with them.  I also like the beadle-like pigeons strutting about, as if preoccupied with the maintenance...
Green-glowing fields

Green-glowing fields

What a glorious image, enhanced by the animals trotting past – aggrieved camels I can envisage, but never thought of donkeys as being flabbergasted. … flabbergasted donkeys and permanently aggrieved camels, trotting past green-glowing fields on their way...
Thick-pelted richness

Thick-pelted richness

Lovely notion, a frog-hopping place, cosy and dense with goodness, not to mention harbouring secrets.  See also this meadow’s durability. Frogmead, a damp and froggy place, along the banks of the meadow brook, a name redolent of everything a Wealden John Clare...
Self-renewing meadow

Self-renewing meadow

An image of ancient sustainability, a meadow which has renewed itself for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years, and with the lovely name of Frogmead, it suggests a damply froggy place.  I often dream of planting a wild flower meadow that will self-renew and prove a...
Frost-wrapped fields

Frost-wrapped fields

Norfolk is a small Netherlands of flat land and soaring firmament, cloud-churned.  My grandmother lived there for about a decade and I spent happy summer and other holidays in the refuge of her 16th century cottage with its two-foot thick walls. We took long walks...
Something marvellous

Something marvellous

This wonderfully apposite quotation by Joan Miró turned up in The Economist’s Espresso newsletter, apparently anticipating by decades this moment of isolation and quarantine. I hope, wherever you are, and however much confined, that you have at least some visual...
I shall teach the boy…

I shall teach the boy…

The Countess of Gormenghast ponders her personal curriculum for her newborn son, after despatching him to a régime of nanny-care for the first five years of his life.  She clearly has higher hopes for him than for his neglected sister.Her capacity for love is...
Sticking like a burr

Sticking like a burr

I’ve heard people describe someone as sticking like glue, or like Velcro, and burrs were the original inspiration for this modern sticky material. Woodnoth, then, was a bit of a boring hanger-on of the poet George Herbert. ‘Woodnoth sticking to Herbert...
Tussock-lined tract

Tussock-lined tract

What formerly passed for a lawn in our garden is now becoming a wild meadow, notwithstanding its random colonization by tough tussocks. Recently learned that the word ‘hassock’ can also mean ‘tussock’ in Scottish or Northern English. ‘A...
The book of life

The book of life

‘A million species of animals and plants are threatened with extinction. Three-quarters of the world’s land and two-thirds of its marine environments have been “significantly altered” by human action.’  I read these lines in The...
New-grown green

New-grown green

At the precocious signal of spring, I see new-grown green peeping all about. And isn’t that a sweet scene, sitting on a tree root surrounded with ‘just’ the seven virtues. So understated, so immense. ‘Look there beneath that new-grown...
Of bitterns and beaks

Of bitterns and beaks

A moss stalk and seed likened to a bird and beak.  Lovely. ‘Over and under and past boulders of granite, splashing upon mosses, whose browny-red seeds on the tall stalks were like bitterns standing with beaks upheld.’   Source: Henry Williamson, Tarka...
Shock-headed flowers

Shock-headed flowers

Two lovely names for a dandelion-daisy-ish yellow flower with spokes poking out like a leafy wheel. ‘The shock-headed flowers of the yellow goat’s beard, or John-go-to-bed-at-noon …’ Source: Henry Williamson, Tarka the Otter: His joyful...

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