28 May 2012

May is Bustin' Out All Over

Hawthorn blossom

Around here the Hawthorn has finally come into blossom - the hedgerows are full of it, with branches tumbling over one another to show off their finery.  Together with the Cow Parsley at its feet it makes a fine sight.

Cow parsley
 There is something fresh and calming about the white and green together - before the blossom falls and the cow parsley turns dusty in the heat of summer and promptly goes to seed.

Doesn't it make you feel as though you want to lay in the long grass to cool off and smell the sweet smells that surround you.

It is hard to capture in a photo just how pretty the hedgerows look, taking your breath away with the sheer abundance of the blossom.

Layer upon layer of tiny flowers with little pink stamens just waiting to be pollinated by the obliging bees.
For those of you interested in the history and folk lore of the Hawthorn there is a site here.  Lucy over at Loose and Leafy  recently did a post on Blackthorn and Hawthorn - she is far better at taking pictures than I am.

This a view of our field where I have my kitchen garden - it is sheltered by a huge hawthorn hedge  - not only is it beautiful when full of blossom but it provides a good barrier against the wind, keeps the garden warm and protects the plants from the vagaries of the weather.
My two sheep love nibbling the fresh young leaves and use the drooping branches to rub against when they have an itch that they can't scratch.   This year is definitely a good year for may blossom. 

20 May 2012

Bathtime Reading

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via pinterest
One of my daily rituals is to read in the bath.  Now that I have retired I can do this without any feelings of guilt.  It is one of lifes' pleasures and one I look forward to every day.  I have a small clock on the window sill so I can keep an eye on the time - otherwise I would find the morning has slipped away whilst I am engrossed in the latest novel.

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via pinterest
It has to be a novel and not a factual book and it has to be a paperback - hardbacks are too heavy and are in danger of being dropped - and there is nothing worse than a book with soggy pages.  I need to lose myself in the pages, whilst topping up with warm water and adding a soothing bath foam with a relaxing fragrance.

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via pinterest
At the moment I am reading Hidden in Paris by Corine Gantz which I found  on her blog Hidden in France

"Lost in France, a country she mistrusts, among French people she hardly understands, Annie has trouble venturing away from home since the death of her husband.  And since home happens to be a small jewel of a house nestled in the heart of Paris, why would she ever want to?  But when bankruptcy threatens her beloved house, her one anchor in life, Annie has no choice but to find rend renters, and quick."

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Does any one else revel in a soft, soapy soak in the bath with a good book?

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13 May 2012

Paris Time Capsule

I have just read a fascinating post on Moss and Ivy about a Paris apartment that has been left untouched for 70 years - pop over and have a read - I think you'll love it.
Paris Apartment untouched for 70 years

10 May 2012

A Day in the Life of a Hedgerow

The rabbit kitten has made a mistake.  It should have bolted underground at the first whiff of that rank smell.  Maybe it was dazzled by the sunlight flaring through the hawthorn stems, or perhaps it was too terrified to move.  Now the kitten lies crossways in the vixen's jaws as she lopes away up the lane.

The hedgerow looks beautiful, golden at its crest as the lowering sun gilds the May blossom, golden at the roots with shiny spear-blade petals of celandine.  But nature is inexorable.  A magpie, jaunty in its suit of black and white, cruises the hedge on the lookout for the slightest movement of a blackbird's wing or blink of a yellowhammer eye.

A lesser whitethroat sits absolutely still, in a tiny cup of grass on a clutch of eggs.  Suddenly the predator bursts out in an alarm call, and with a flicker of rounded wings is up and over the hedge. 

A man has pulled up to stare into the hedge.  For a moment he and the whitethroat are eye to eye.  But he doesn't spot her.

He picks two of the tender hawthorn leaves, folds them into a sandwich and goes on his way.

                                                                                                 written by Christopher Somerville