Thursday, 30 September 2010


I was on my way to the local Health Centre but at a junction there had been a road accident. There were Police, ambulance, 2 crumpled cars and people sitting on the grass being attended to by paramedics so I began to turn round to go by another route.

One thing I saw as I turned was this large fungus growing among the grass on the verge so I stopped to take a photo. I should have found something for indicating the size but didn't think about it at the time.

I've also noticed this small fungus growing under my oak tree but it's virtually unseen as it blends in with the old brown oak leaves which have fallen in previous years. There are several clumps of it roughly in the same area. There's no stalk to be seen although there is one. Its name is schleroderma citrinum and was identified for me by for a small donation to help with running the web site.


I took this photo a couple of days ago when it was raining. The gossamer seems to have arrived at last but mostly on shrubs or trees which are densely packed with leaves.

'According to legend, this delicate thread is the ravelling of the Virgin Mary's winding-sheet, which fell to earth on her ascension to heaven....... Probably the name is from Middle English "gossomer", goose summer, or St. Martin's summer (early November) when geese are plentiful...'
This comes from Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable - my copy is stuffed with bits of paper giving definitions for all sorts of things which have caught my fancy.
I still think this looks like medieval chain mail because it's heavy with raindrops.

Saturday, 25 September 2010


I saw the oak tree branches thrashing about this morning so stopped dressing to see what was causing the disturbance.
A pair of jays were harvesting the acorns, the first time I've seen that. I haven't seen jays in the garden for a couple of years, not even in the cold weather last winter. Nice to know they're still around.
No photos though...

Thursday, 23 September 2010


Lying in bed, dozing, just before 6 am this morning, I thought I heard someone on the radio say that Autumn officially began, well, sometime in the early hours of today.
Apparently the sun crosses the equator from north to south around 23rd September and so we
get the autumnal equinox.

Don't think much of it, at the moment; very wet, grey, none too warm and dark!
What's happened to the 'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness'???

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


On the way back from shopping in Thame I sidetracked off the mainroad, the A418, to the little village of Cuddington - it was a lovely day with a bright blue sky, sunshine and no wind to spoil the temperature. Since I began blogging I almost always remember to take my camera with me and so it was today.

Cuddington has been used in several episodes of Midsomer Murders, usually showing this building but without the adornment of a green car and builders skip! It's usually portrayed as a village hall or where villagers are gathering.

I thought this sunflower looked a little bit like a Victorian lady in a bonnet with the frill framing her face, rather frilly sleeves, a pointing finger and a full skirt in green... It's looking over a wall near the school and I think might be in the school garden; just beside it are purply-red edged Morning Glories and a dense hedge of what looked like French Beans. The school was built in 1862-3, according to Pevsner, but the sun was shining on the back of it so didn't take a photo of the front in shadow.

I walked on down the quiet street and noticed this name at the beginning of a lane. When I was a child we had a cat named Tibby, which seemed to be quite a common name. Apparently it dates from the late 18th to mid 19th Century and not in fashion any longer.

I turned down this narrow dusty lane, not having been along it for about 15 years and vaguely remembering water at the bottom.
I spotted this real water butt - did you ever wonder why plastic water butts are round? It's a daft idea, especially for a small garden - why not use a water tank which normally goes into your roof space? It's a rectangle, fits into any corner without wasting space and the lid, reversed and with a few large holes punched into the centre boss, allows rainwater to drain into it. It'll need to have a tap put in and then stand it on 4 bricks in each corner which makes it just the right height. I bought mine about 20 years ago at a car boot - naturally - and it's still doing duty and looking not too bad for its age.

I had remembered the water at the bottom of the lane; past Tibby's Cottage, round a bend in an almost enclosed lane then found, several feet below me in a narrow water course, a shallow stream flowing out of a pipe in the side of the wall on which a bridge stood - this also held back a large pond in a garden. It was dark and shady after the bright sunlight of the village street.

Walking back to my car I spoke to an older man demolishing a tree in the hot sunshine - a hefty job for such weather. Passing the church I remembered I'd written an article about 19th Century cholera in Gibraltar, a tiny hamlet across the fields, where many people had died from drinking infected water from the well. There's a plaque on St.Nicholas' wall commemorating them.

Back at the car it struck me how the horse chestnut trees are turning rusty now but I haven't seen many conkers about this year. Must look harder!! The village store is on the right with a group of walkers just about to go in.
I'll have to go walking here again, there's lots more to see.


Yesterday I went to lunch with a friend - this clematis is all along the fence, on and over her shed. It's a vigorous grower!! I had one but I think last winter's extreme cold has just killed it off completely.

On the other hand, I took a moment off writing this, went down the garden and looked where it once grew. There's a 4" shoot which just might be it struggling to stay alive. Will have to keep a watch on it.

Dainty little flowers which, when they mature, turn into fluffy white balls of seeds. The 'Old Man's Beard' which will soon be showing as mounds of white fluff in the hedgerows is the common version of clematis.

Sunday, 19 September 2010


This is what my patches of lawn look like this morning after a badger has been visiting... Could be worse but if I catch my foot in one of the holes I'll lose my balance and you can never get all the soil back in the hole to make it level again.....

My next door neighbour is upset about the damage to his lawn and, unfortunately, blames me for encouraging them in as I put out food for them, but to be honest, they'll come anyway. There's not a lot you can do, as badgers climb as well as dig. I have a couple more photos, too, but won't put those on - the badger picture comes from a couple of years ago as I didn't take any good ones this year even though they were coming in the daylight. The most I've had in one visit is four and I think they must have been a family group with one scooting in and out of the shrubs, having a fine old game.

A hole under the fence between the neighbour (above) and me was blocked by next door but the badger just dug another one which exits under my hydrangea bush and the track they've made goes across another flower bed and under a hole under the 'other side' neighbour's fence. But they feed them, too, so I'm OK there.

Badgers eat all kinds of things but dig for worms - unfortunately also destroyinga bees nest in the ground a few years ago, taking two nights to clear it out completely... I leave out apple cores, jacket potato skins, peanuts, bread and peanut butter, porage oats rolled into a small ball with water, just enough to make it stick together and any bird seed disappears, too. And tulip bulbs...

I put up with the damage for the pleasure of seeing the black and white face (and the rest of it!) slowly and cautiously advancing up the path in the light from the security light, put up just for this purpose. And one came visiting in January this year when the snow was quite thick on the garden - I managed to photograph a footprint with the claw marks showing so knew what had been around.
They're part of our British wildlife and I'm pleased they choose to come into my garden.

Friday, 17 September 2010


The other morning, when I saw these epimedium leaves with semi circles snipped out of them, I was determined to put a photo on my blog, just to see if anyone else has noticed them and/or been bothered by them. They appear on roses and hydrangeas, too, not just epimediums
They're nothing to worry about since they're caused by leaf-cutter bees cutting the pieces to line their nest (the AA Book of the Countryside says) which is often in rotten wood or soil or sand.An egg is laid with a store of pollen and honey nearby and the cell is sealed with more leaf. There the eggs hatch into larvae and emerge next spring and start over again. The original bee died after laying the last of the eggs. I'm just pleased to think that some more wild life finds the garden an acceptable place to live.
I met a lady-older-than-me with her daughter in a local garden centre a couple of years ago trying to find something to kill this pest so I hope she went home without insecticide and tolerant of something just 'looking for a home' after I'd explained what had caused the damage.
Mind you, the badger dug up quite a patch of lawn last night now Gillian's cut it...

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

B of B Memorial

This photo comes from website


I haven't had an internet connection all day, BTs fault, so a trip to India got me the instructions how to put it right and a phone call to grandson James meant he came and got me connected again. No way am I standing on a bar stool to reach the hub on top of the cupboard!!

But today - it's the date on which the Battle of Britain is usually remembered, 15th September. I was a child during the battle and can remember watching the dogfights in this incredibly blue sky with contrails scribbled across it like random scrawls on a piece of paper.

Afterwards we children would go out into the street and collect the empty cartridge cases. For us, as youngsters, it was something that was 'normal' during our summer holiday from school but our parents must have felt very differently.

But there was no television, newspapers were monitored for information, radios were more generally owned but not in my house, we didn't have a radio all during the it meant people were not as well informed as we are these days and authority wasn't questioned as it is today.

Once you've heard a Spitfire's Merlin engine you just can't mistake it. You can be sitting indoors one minute then falling over yourself with eagerness to get outside to watch the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight go over. This year I've only seen the Lancaster bomber, not the fighters. It's incredible, and moving, to see planes from more than half a century ago flying over your own house.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


Yesterday started well - I came downstairs, began to fill the kettle for breakfast tea and then realised I was standing on soggy carpet. Had a look under the sink to find the shelf was layered with water, the shoe boxes I keep all the sprays, tins and containers in were disintegrating and dusters were sodden. I think it was Scarlett O'Hara who said - I'll think about it later - so that's what I did.
Once breakfast was over I phoned the plumber (at 7.30) and he arrived just after 8. Every surface was covered with damp/wet cleaning things plus a huge patch of damp on the carpet, just where he had to kneel, but within half an hour he'd found the problem, replaced the joint which was leaking and dried the shelves as well. I was quite happy with the prompt service and thought £65 was a fair price to charge. What a good job I'd asked for his trade card the last time he'd been to the house...

Then off on the almost 50 mile round trip to the dentist where I thought I was going to have a tooth out but the dentist had other ideas - a filling. An injection because the tooth was a bit touchy then filled and £45+ left my purse. But I do have another 2 months free treatment if there's a problem with this repair.
Had a quick look round the charity shop opposite but nothing there, this time.

I managed to read some of the new edition of Radio Times, too, while I sat in Waitrose' car park on the way home munching a hot cross bun, and in an article about reversing the ageing process using various mature people once in the public eye it recommends - 'write down three good things about your day before you go to bed'.
I reckon mine yesterday were - the plumber coming so promptly, having a filling rather than an extraction and a neighbour from along the road bringing three carrier bags full of home grown produce, tomatoes, courgettes and runner beans, and telling me to take what I wanted.

And now the sun's coming out!

Sunday, 5 September 2010


I put the chevron quilt into this village show and got a First for it.

The prize money was a magnificent - 60p!! Ta da.....

Gillian, who helps me garden (well, she gardens and I help her) put in this snake made from bottletops and got a Second, prize money 40p.

Lots of exhibits including Art work from the Friday Art Group I belong to - a total of 20 prizes, 1st, 2nd and 3rds. Not mine this year. Cross stitch pictures, hand made cards, photography classes, knitting and jewellery. There was wonderful miniature furniture in the 'Other Crafts' section, which won First there.
Fantastic flowers, oodles of tomatoes, huge marrows, one being carried out cradled in its owner's arms like a baby, jams, pickles and cakes that you could hardly keep your hands off... Lots of classes for children, too, who were well represented.

For 'just a village show' there are so many classes to enter and plenty of active participants, nice to see, unlike my village which has nothing...

Ho hum.

Friday, 3 September 2010


This was the day the Second World War began. I'd already been evacuated from London to Brighton, on the south coast of England, on the 31st August with my school, according to the writing under a photo Mum had taken.
I'm on the left, holding a straw bag stuffed with comics, which were printed on pink, blue and green paper - my Dad worked 'in the print' so was able to get these. The usual navy pleated gymslip but - no gas mask or evacuation label. I have the label somewhere but can't find it, of course!
The two girls are sisters together with their mother who came as one of the school helpers. They have their gas masks as does the mum.
We walked in a crocodile to Victoria Station where the train waited but all I can remember of the journey was the state we left the railway carriage in at Brighton - full of dismantled comic pages.
I wasn't at all worried about leaving Mum behind or my Granny who lived with us, and was lucky enough to be billeted in an interesting home. The three people in the photo and I were all in one place, an antique shop run by a spinster lady. I can imagine what her thoughts were when she knew three London children were going to be staying. But she'd been In Service all her life and had very strong ideas about behaviour. She was a bit scary to an almost 7 year old but she was kind underneath the exterior - having to share her home with four people must have been a trial. I have all sorts of memories from my stay in Brighton and Mum kept all the letters I wrote every week - I have a child's eye view of my time there in 1939 to the summer of 1940. Then I returned home in time to watch the aerial combat...70 years ago.

Thursday, 2 September 2010


I saw these growing beside a friend's driveway and thought how pretty they were with the sun shining through the petals. There was quite a large patch but these were in the sunshine.