Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

out of season

just wandering around the garden today I found these plants in flower (from the top, camelia, feverfew, geranium and cape lily), in addition to our normal winter flowering shrubs mahonia and viburnum. The camelia is at least two months earlier than usual. Any hard frost now will damage the buds. What a strange year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

only in our imagination

It's been a tumultuous year for everyone everywhere, and a sad one for us, but here's to a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to you all.


Spot and the OHG

Monday, December 19, 2011


At this time of year in the meadows it feels as if the party is over, the tussocks are drab and collapsed, seed heads look like cigarette butts chucked on the floor and ground out, the carpet is sodden, and the buzz of conversation has gone. All that chatting up and flirting, and vivid displaying on the dance floor in party frocks is over. No one has cleared up yet, but one gets the impression that the party goers, once over their hangovers, somehow somewhere will start the party again next year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

funnel troops

not a lot is going on at the moment although there are more mushrooms about than usual for the time of year. These very large mushrooms are one of the species of clitocybe and are large enough to be gigantea (edible when boiled) or geotropa (v edible), but are probably just plain old common funnel mushrooms (edible). A group like this is called a troop. As usual I cannot tell which is which. My unease about eating wild mushrooms is not helped by the mention (in only one of my reference books but not the others) of the spread of the Paralysis funnel, (C. amoenolens) which is easily mistaken for the others other than that it smells of ripe pears, the ivory clitocybe (deadly poisonous) which is common on lawns. These look edible but are ivory coloured, and don't smell of much at all! It's back to the superstore then.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

snipe starling

a starling looking very smart after the autumn moult. The new feathers have creamy tips that stand out from the dark background, and the back feathers are paler brown than in the summer. Below is a snipe caught in mid flight. This was one of a party of 6 or 7,  small groups like this are called wisps. There are two types of snipe, common and Jack. This is probably the common snipe becausethe wisp was feeding on very damp marsh land. They are extremely quick on the wing.

Lurchers frighten off rabbit

large buck rabbit looking very scared in flower bed after severe warning as to future conduct. We will stop at nothing to rid our garden of rabbits as long as it doesn't involve running around and barking.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Daffodils in November

It is hard to believe that these daffodils are so far ahead. Everything is out of kilter. Maybe it is a floral tribute to the sinking of the SS Europa after she hit a transatlantic debt mountain.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

more autumn colour 4

Stoke Climsland from the south west looking unusually picturesque for the time of year. And below our lovely scented climbing rose has decided to flower again

more autumn colour 3

Apleasant but fairly dull picture, until you see the little black spot towards the bottom of the tree trunk on the left, which is a very late flying red admiral sunning itself

and adding to this picture of unseasonal warmth there was also a late comma out and about.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

more autumnal colours

Bracken has now turned reddish orange and brown. The dearth of mushrooms continues but at least there is fly agaric around to add some colour.

Innycent fun

our morning walk (or in Spot's case madcap sprint), along the Inny, through the woods, bathed in golden sunlight and enjoying the warmth. The lower picture is at the same place where we came across a deer in September at much the same time of day. It shows how the colours change (see link).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

autumn in the Tamar valley

 this cut down jpg doesn't quite capture the beauty of the woods in the Tamar valley below Greenscoombe meadows (unlike the full version). Devon and Dartmoor are in the background. We went looking for mushrooms today but there are very few around. I think it must be too mild for them and the undergrowth is still quite green and heavy. Strange warm weather for the time of year..

Sunday, November 06, 2011

getting on with life

a walk on Bodmin moor on a stunning day, a raven flying above us all, and below Spot recharging his endorphin levels after what has been a period of obvious uncertainty for him after his mother's death.

Cassie's demise has left an emptiness in our house. It has left me pondering why we experience grief. As an emotion it seems to have no biological value at all unlike every other emotion, all of which seem to map on to some sort of survival activity. I do not share the view that animals are mindless automatons, I think their minds are just not quite like ours, but I suspect we are the only animals to experience grief (perhaps elephants?) and so maybe it is the price we pay for our ability to articulate that we are alive.  If so it feels like a bad deal.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Morning has broken

The clocks have gone back so we caught the early morning sun bathing the mists in the river valleys below on our first walk along our favourite lane since yesterday. What a difference a day can make in the sense of things. One person, three dogs and the spirit of the fourth poddling along behind us. Everyone is very quiet now that the leader of the pack has gone.

Monday, October 31, 2011

goodbye, Cassie, old and faithful friend

Cassie was put quietly to sleep this afternoon. We shall miss her great, soft, intelligent, loyal, mischievous contribution to our lives. The muddy paws, the hoarse barking, the great lurcher skill of extremely surreptitious thieving whenever possible, the log carrying, the joy of living, soft brown eyes, the woolly waterproof coat ... everything that makes a canine friend. Much of her life since 2005 is recorded intermittently in Spot's blog who was of course her favourite son. It was a good life.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


a redshank that has just arrived to spend the winter in the Camel estuary

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

quarry tails

soft grey colours in the quarry on Kit Hill, and one inhabitant showing off the length of his tail. It is worth clicking on the Kit Hill label (see list to the right) to see how this little patch of granite varies so much through the year.


It has been that kind of weather, sharp showers and bright sun, with gold at the end of the lane.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

herb robert

Herb Robert is usually pink with leaves tinged with red, and reddish stems. This appears to be the white form which is described as occasional although I have never seen it before. It is growing in the same field where we find the double/multiple forms of mayflower. There must be something in the soil (probably radon). Not quite as exciting as grizzlies and bald headed eagles but at least we know the names of the wild flowers around here.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

this is not Cornwall

Black Rock at Ucluelet, British Columbia, on the edge of the Pacific ocean, just after a storm. How we pine for the heat of Cornwall.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

last of the summer wine

a comma warming up on an apple at Old Solomon's Farm, Latchley, and below the view looking up river towards Old Solomon's farm (on the Cornish side) and Weir cottage to the right on the Devon side. At long last the weather has turned warm and fine, just as we are heading off to Canada. Spot and the rest of the OHG will be house sitting for us with Ruth so this will be the last blog for a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

not quite Provence

a field full of sunflowers in Venterdon, looking south towards the church, and Kit Hill in the distance. And the lane in its autumnal livery against a blue sky providing another example of Nature's painting.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

honestly autumn is here

the seed pod of honesty (we expect lots more next year)

 the clash of colour of spindle berries, according to Flora Britannica one of the few violent colour clashes in our native flora

and our rowan tree bulging with berries

Sunday, September 18, 2011

little beauties

some eyebright (and canine hoof) still flowering, and a little footbridge across the stream below Old Mill, near Luckett