Thursday, 19 May 2016

The moth's birthday

During a recent fit of digging, I noticed a little creature struggling in the soil. On closer inspection, I realised it was a new moth, battling its way out of its chrysalis. Its tiny wings didn't look properly formed, and I was worried I'd disturbed it before it was quite ready to hatch. (Is hatch the right word?) Also worried about Harvey treading on the moth, I managed to move it onto the hydrangea where it could dry out in the sun. Sure enough, its wings gradually uncrinkled, and here it is, in the centre of the picture if you can spot it.

After a while it moved itself down into the shadows of the plant, where I hope it survived birds and bats. It's not every day you witness the birth of a moth! I wonder how it feels, to go into a chrysalis as one creature and come out as another. How do you suddenly get the hang of flying?

I've been looking at my 'Complete British Wildlife', trying to identify the species of moth for you. Some of the pictures give me a funny, tickly feeling at the back of my neck, so I had to stop. However, the names of moths are very poetic. The Vapourer. The Heart and Dart. The Beautiful Golden Y. The Canary-shouldered Thorn. I could go on. There are pages!

Everything in the garden is lovely and green. We have lots of yellow poppies (Meconopsis cambrica.) The odd one comes up more orange in colour, like this. I'd like to try growing the difficult Himalayan Blue ones, but don't think I have the right soil.
Here's Harvey in the park. I had to attach him to a tree to take this photo, otherwise his retriever snout is down on the ground, snuffling out every bit of smelly goo. He's looking affronted at the interruption to his foraging.
The park is all frothy with cow parsley this time of year. Also known as Queen Anne's Lace.
Who lives in a hole like this? Elves, maybe. Or moths with magical names.
Have a magical May!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Books, books, books

There've been many changes in the three months (three months?) since I last blogged. Without being too specific, inviting stalkers, lurkers, or "I'm your number one fan", I am now working at a place with lots of books! In addition I have a few hours voluntary work that involves sewing and crafts. How lucky am I? Books and sewing are two of my favourite things, so it's lovely to have them as part of my gainful employment.

I thought I would be writing more, but I am still progressing at my usual rate i.e. between steady and slow. However, I have sold some stories so that's fine. I also won a £5 Amazon voucher for a little poem on Kishboo.

Some of the books I've enjoyed so far this year:

'The Casual Vacancy' - J.K. Rowling. Dark but brilliant. Did you see that a chair sat on by J.K. Rowling when she wrote Harry Potter has been sold for almost £280,000? Someone could buy all my furniture, and probably the house too, for that much!

'The Franchise Affair' - Josephine Tey. Classic detective mystery.

'Room for a Single Lady' - Clare Boylan. A series of lodgers provides entertainment and education for the young daughters of a Dublin family in the fifties.

'Miss Marple and Mystery' - Agatha Christie short stories.

And because I seem to be on a mystery theme, I have also been reading my way through the Fethering mysteries by Simon Brett.

Question of the day: why is a grapefruit nothing like a grape?
I'll let you ponder on that for the next three months or so. In return, you are welcome to leave me some book recommendations if you have any. I'm always on the lookout for the next good read.
Hope you have an inspiring April. Watch out for the showers!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of you. I hope 2016 has begun well, and will bring even better things as it goes on!
You may remember that my job is due to disappear at the end of March. I have promising news about an unexpected opportunity, but I shan't say more until it's all signed and sealed. It will definitely leave me more time to write though, so 2016 is looking good for me so far.
We had a sprinkling of snow this morning. Harvey enjoyed a good chomp, but it is melting really fast. Barely enough time for him to try fetching a snowball.
Here is a snowier scene. Last year the subway beneath Cannock town centre was retiled, and local artists contributed paintings for the walls. It is such an improvement on the dingy old underpass. Lots of the paintings relate to the area's history. In this one, by Matt Sayers, you can see the old pit in the background.
Mining stopped in the Cannock area some years ago, but there are still rows of miners' cottages in places. Another painting by Matt Sayers...

I'll take a few more photos next time I visit. There's a wide variety of subjects and styles, some lovely murals on the theme of Cannock Chase, and it's so much more interesting to walk through that subway now!