This magnificent face is above all the front doors of a row of old semi-detached houses in a small Cardiff side street that I often walk along.
He intrigues me so much that (more…)
Oh how we love our daffodils, here in Wales. And especially today, March 1, St David’s Day – our national day. We have a choice – to wear a daffodil or a leek – so most people choose the daff and an easy way is to buy a charity daffodil pin from Marie Curie Cancer Care. I’ll be wearing mine.
It’s also a day when (more…)
Back in the summer I was totally smitten by this circle of six ancient wood-carved figures in a forest clearing in Tintern, Monmouthshire.
The figures themselves, sculpted from oak (or in one case sweet chestnut), are not ancient, but the people they represent are historical and mythical characters at the heart of this part of the country.
They were (more…)
I heard a tawny owl (Strix aluco) in the garden last night, for the first time in months. It’s an eerie sound and how appropriate for this Halloween time of year.
In this post I will mention the goddess Athena, witches and wizards and share with you some owls depicted using various media. In most cases clicking on the image will take you to the source of the picture.
Owls are surely (more…)
We have now had a couple of light frosts this autumn, and there’s an “Arctic blast” on the way this week, so I thought I would look into the words frost, hoar and rime, which I always thought meant the same thing, but apparently not…
According to my Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary (1980), frost means: a state of freezing; temperature at or below the freezing point of water. It comes from (more…)
Halloween is drawing near so I thought I would look at pumpkin lanterns – and the swede lanterns I am more familiar with from my Welsh childhood. A swede? You may also know it as a Swedish turnip, yellow turnip or rutabaga.
Here in the UK there is a long tradition of making lanterns from turnips, mangelwurzels and swedes for harvest time in general, but it was the Americans who started to call them Jack o’ lanterns in 1837 and to associate them with Halloween, in 1866. Thanks Wikipedia for telling me all that.
American traditions have taken over in the UK now, not only by replacing root vegetables with jolly pumpkins, but also (more…)
The other day I was walking along the street as the city awoke and was suddenly assailed by a strong smell of lavender.
My first impression was that someone had passed by, wafting perfume, or that an early bird was washing the kitchen or car with lavender-scented cleaner. It is a very (more…)
It’s that lilac time of year again. Common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) is such a humble plant. We had one in our back garden when I was a child and it grew in a place where we emptied the soggy brown leaves from the teapot – and where we emptied the chamber pot in the morning. Sorry to (more…)