Archive for May, 2011


The beautiful stained-glass window by Sarianne Durie in Scaplen’s Court Museum, Poole, Dorset

I’ve no idea of the title of this stained-glass window by Sarianne Durie in an upstairs room at Scaplen’s Court, Poole, Dorset, but I love it. I see the sea, and shells, sails, and maybe old buildings and the bones of whales…

I place it here simply as an introduction to my blog gallery page showing images of one of my favourite places in the world – the old town in Poole, where many of my mother’s ancestors lived and worked through several centuries.

Click here to see more:
Poole Old Town in pictures

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Young robin (Erithacus rubecula) in the garden today...

The first young garden birds of the season are now visiting the bird table. We have so much leafy cover around that the young ones don’t need to show their faces until they are almost able to fend for themselves.

This is a shame – and the long-tailed tits nesting within sight of my window all disappeared together as soon as the chicks were able to fly – so I was disappointed not to see a host of baby “bum-barrels” at the bird table. They seem to prefer their own freshly-caught insects.

Anyway, so far we have two young great tits and one young robin…


Young (and noisy) great tit (Parus major) in the garden today...


Not so young, but a blue tit (Parus caeruleus)...


And another blue tit (Parus caeruleus)...


Although it's not the shot I was after, these blue tits feeding make a reasonable composition...

You can find more of my bird pictures here

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A 1940 Miss Muffet poster promoting reading by children. Click on the image to find out more...

First some reassurance – I am by nature an arachnophobe, and on the off-chance you are, too, this blog post has no images of spiders – apart from the pretty tame Miss Muffet picture, so feel free to read this before you decide if you would like to visit my spider gallery page.

One of my former editors insisted we did not print big pictures of spiders in our morning paper as he did not want people turning the page and choking over their porridge (or curds and whey).

Why do I dislike spiders? Who knows? When I was a child they were there lying in wait in the dark outside toilet, but surely it’s more than that…

It’s strange that I’m OK with very small spiders and possibly VERY big ones such as plump tarantulas or even Shelob in Lord of the Rings.

What really gets me is the full-size house spider, Tegenaria gigantea. Don’t expect any pictures of that here! I relate other house spiders to this benchmark, so I always think of “half-size” or “quarter-size” spiders.

Size is important, and also surroundings – I’m OK with spiders in the garden as long as they don’t dangle over my head or neck.

I am OK with most insects, so I can only conclude it’s the EIGHTNESS of spiders that gets me. The SIXNESS of insects is fine.

Spiders also tend to stick around. You can’t just drive them away as you can with winged insects.

Maybe (more…)

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Foxy shows his (her) face again…


A fox in a neighbour's garden this week...

I was quite pleased with this picture I snapped of a fox in a neighbour’s garden, so I thought I would share it…

Here’s a link to a whole blog post I wrote last year about Living with Urban Foxes

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A starling on a neighbour's roof this week...

Last year the local starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) spent their summer holiday in our garden with their kids, feeding on raisins and fat.


A pale young starling in the garden last year...

It was a novelty at the time, as we don’t often see these rainbow ragamuffins in our garden, so I even wrote an illustrated blog post about it: Ruffians in star-spangled jackets

This week they are back, but (more…)

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Blue Hosta

It was a very dry April and the garden was very pleased to have some proper rain this weekend.

Whenever the weather changes like this, I sing a bit of Rain Rain Beautiful Rain by Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Here are a few pictures of the plants drinking it all in.


Old-fashioned pansy


Convallaria majalis (lily-of-the-valley) - as seen in Princess Kate Middleton's bridal bouquet


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Penguin of Arabia by Ursula Vernon...

Penguins are beautiful. Although they are birds, they fly through water like fish. In our human imaginations they are slick, smart and intrepid. They are humorous, they are cute. But they are also edgy and can play sinister when required. Their sleek outline makes for excellent logos (think books and biscuits). In short, they are iconic.

They are (more…)

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