Monday, May 3, 2021

greater stitchwort, mount owen, gale


Saw lots of stitchworts when I was cycling the northern slope of Mount Owen.

I wanted to call them lesser stitchworts but the way the petals are cut - about half-way down - and the largish leaves suggest greater.

Apparently the plant was used as a remedy for stitches.

Had to do the last few yards of the slope on foot because the wind was too strong - and it wasn't as fierce as it's supposed to get later this afternoon.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

the gated road, marsh marigolds, beacon, hope, work, no reason not to have a.lie in


Cycling the gated road (no longer with gates and aka Calcroft Lane) from Broadwell to Clanfield, having crossed the Beeching-cut railway line over the steeply arced bridge, I searched for marsh marigolds.

None in the dried out ditches - brim full of water and plants last year. Only as I neared the end of the vast plain of the field to the south, Folly Hill far beyond, did I see the bright yellow. I fixed on it, getting closer, then stopped and took a picture. Not quite the only clump in the shallow clear water but the first sighted. 

Feelings of hope.

Flowers brighter than usual, I fancied, leaves more plump.

Since, a week of work - the feet not touching the ground kind. Work still, yesterday. Now a couple of days off.

Shame about the predicted rain but at least there won't be a reason not to have a lie in!

Monday, April 26, 2021

day-before full moon, the pink moon, hazy

Beautiful day-before full moon over the southern precincts of the village.

April's full moon is known, apparently, as the Pink Moon and tonight's dress rehearsal was gorgeous and did have, we fancied, a pinkish haze! Though not captured in this photo! :)

Sunday, April 25, 2021

potato dibber, wider range, hopes for a drier august, blight, high demand, sprouts


The potato dibber's time this year came a week ago. See also, post of Saturday 9 May 2020 and link to related ones on

I planted a wider range of spuds than last year: Maris Peer earlies, Cara, Charlotte, Desiree, Estima and Nadine.

Am hoping for a drier August after the sodden ground of 2020, which led to blight and the loss of half the crop. It got us to Christmas at least but we'd usually have the previous year's harvest till March or April.

This was only the second time there'd been blight on our allotment - the previous one was in the year of the great flood of 2007.

We bought our seed potatoes early to ensure we had some - demand for all seeds during the pandemic continues to be high. Though having to store them till the Oxford clay dried out meant long sprouts, as in the above photo. Still, all should be well.

Friday, April 16, 2021

frosty walks, needles, warmer, apple blossom


Frosty morning walks! Loved the needles on the whitethorn.

Forecast seems to suggest warmer starts from now on. Just in time, with the apple blossom coming.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

willow rose?, wildfell, mogford prize

Things were getting very springlike before the frosts. The pussy willows on the water meadows on the High Moor side of the village were stupendous - so colourful the closer you looked at them. Not quite sure what you would call the furry pink bud - a willow rose perhaps, by analogy with the larch?

Loving reading more of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I wondered if it would be difficult to pick up the story again but its plot is fairly straightforward (not a criticism) and I was in its world almost immediately.

I was really excited to hear that my friend and fellow member of Writers in Oxford, Lorna Fergusson, had been shortlisted for the 2021 Mogford Prize. Although she didn't win, the 3 runners up get a decent cash prize and to be in the final 4 out of over 800 entrants is amazing! Especially given the impressive judging panel of Jeremy Mogford, Lemn Sissay and Mick Herron. All congratulations to winner, Finlay Taylor for Madame Blini's Disdain!

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

easter wreath, holiday, 'out and about', letting go, past the worm full moon, flurries!

Easter wreath at the porch of St Mary's Bampton.

Seen on my way through the churchyard after my morning walk - this week, taken at a civilised hour because I'm on holiday.

A lovely time to be out in the countryside.

It takes a while, though, to escape work, despite being tired after a busy term. You want to let go but the upturn in the year after the clocks go back, the change in the sunlight, and the passing of the full Worm Moon, make your mind somehow eager to take ideas forward.

I think I'm there now. Able to enjoy being at home ... in a different way to WfH ... and doing fun things.

The odd flurry of snow, ice on the bird bath and bitter North West winds are a bit of a surprise, even so, after the weekend warmth!