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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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