Posts Tagged ‘colours’


Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria, now renamed Ficaria verna) in the woodland part of my garden this week

What a strange word “yellow” seems to be. While most of our words for basic colours are very similar to the German words, such as blue, green and red for blau, grün and rot, at first glance yellow and gelb don’t seem to be related. But they are – about which I’ll say more later. (more…)

Read Full Post »


Institutional blue reappearing on a green-painted fence, March 2, 2013…

The above is an iPhone snapshot and this is just a short post to launch my 2013 gallery, which you can see here.

But it’s also to ask if anyone else out there recognises this turquoise colour as “institutional blue”. A couple of decades ago it seemed (more…)

Read Full Post »


The beautiful rainbow-orange tiled wall of the ladies’ loos in the Kuku Club…

I don’t get out much, but the other night I went to someone’s retirement party at the Kuku Club in the Park Plaza Hotel in Cardiff.

It was a pleasant evening, but my abiding memory is of the ladies’ loos! The walls and (more…)

Read Full Post »


Blue is the colour (with a little help from my PhotoShop) - to see the original mauve Moon Shadow rose, click on this image by Drew Avery

In his prime, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, my father grew hybrid tea roses – 150 of them, row upon row, in our long, narrow back garden.

And like most rose enthusiasts, he dreamed (more…)

Read Full Post »


This teddy in the Wimbledon tennis colours is currently available online for just £14 - click on the pic to go to the Wimbledon Shop...

It’s the Wimbledon tennis championships at the moment, so what better time to look at that iconic colour combination of purple, white and green used by the tournament – and also by the suffragette movement. But (more…)

Read Full Post »


The bluebottle (Calliphora vomitoria) is a buzzing nuisance in summer - this picture is by JJ Harrison

Lately I have been “running around like a blue-arsed fly”, a lovely phrase I picked up from my parents during my childhood.

I don’t think there is any doubt about it, the saying must surely come from the buzzing behaviour of the bluebottle, an annoying fly (Calliphora vomitoria) found in many parts of the world.

It’s very much a fly of hot summer weather and rotting food, rubbish and excrement. Even its stop-start buzzing is annoying. Which is all a shame, as it has a pretty metallic blue colour. Here’s a lovely website all about iridescence, featuring the bluebottle and other lustrous marvels.


The bluebottle has a lustrous behind...

Why do we call it a bluebottle? My dictionary has no idea. Although I suspect it may come from the old word bot or bott, meaning the larva (maggot) of a botfly, which infests the skin of various mammals, producing warbles (painful, hard swellings). This particularly affects the stomachs of horses or the noses of sheep.

Bott probably comes from the Scots Gaelic word boiteag, which means a maggot. The word maggot itself may come from a Middle English word maddok/mathek from Old Norse mathkr, all meaning “maggot” and related to that other word mawkish, meaning “maggoty”.

My memories of the bluebottle come from the days before fridges, when we kept food in a larder or metal-meshed meat-safe. Our constant fear was maggots from bluebottles. We had roast shoulder of lamb (a cheap, fatty cut) for Sunday dinner (in the middle of the day, we didn’t call it lunch).

The leftover meat was placed on a high shelf and many was the time it was retrieved only to find the white fat moving with cream-coloured maggots. A bit offputting!

But flies are not the only bluebottles. In Britain bluebottle is also a name for the common cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) – not that I would ever have called it that. Another nickname I wouldn’t have used is “bachelor’s button”. Pretty flower, anyway.


Bluebottle is also a name for the common cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) - this picture is by Adrian198cm

Then there are the policemen… (more…)

Read Full Post »


Sequinned party dresses from Anna Sui

I have loved shiny things all my life. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman – I imagine it might be an evolutionary advantage to be attracted to bright shiny berries for food.

Sequins are glorious things, making me go Ooh and Aaah and put on a silly star-struck expression.


A dolphin painted in sequins...

Here I am (more…)

Read Full Post »


A surprisingly brown house...

When I passed this house the other day I was shocked to see it had been repainted in an unusual chocolate-brown colour. More than anything I was surprised because it took me back immediately to a childhood story I remember.

My Auntie Edna (same one who made the lavender bags, see last blog post), always encouraged me to read and one Christmas she gave me a big blue-cloth-bound book called something like “365 stories – one for every day of the year” (not sure about leap years). It was a modern book with very short stories and colour drawings in an almost cartoon style.

One or two stories were memorable and this is one of them. A family wanted to repaint their house but they couldn’t decide what colour. The mother wanted blue, the father wanted red and the children wanted yellow.

So eventually they decided to compromise. They got a big bucket and poured into it the blue paint, the red paint and the yellow paint. They gave it a big stir. And they ended up with what they considered a very satisfactory chocolate-brown house…

The one pictured above looks a lot like the drawing in the book. It’s actually not a house any more but a nursery school. Maybe they asked all the toddlers what colour they wanted?


The mother wanted blue, the father wanted red and the children wanted yellow...

Read Full Post »

Blossom and fruit of the orange (Citrus aurantium), by Ellen Levy Finch

Although I am not going to takes sides in any debate on religion or politics or football, the word ORANGE seems a topical one, since it relates to the kit of the Netherlands football team who lost in the World Cup final and to the name of the protestant Orange Men of Northern Ireland during this the Protestant “marching season”.


The orange strip of the Netherlands football team in the 2010 World Cup Final, which they lost to Spain, 1-0 after extra time...

It’s the word “orange” itself that interests me. It is often (more…)

Read Full Post »

Lilac by Edmund Blair Leighton, 1901

Lilac by Edmund Blair Leighton, 1901

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…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »