In 1906 Edith Holden started a Diary, now known as ‘The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady’. In it, she observed Natures cycle through the months of the year, writing simply about the weather, the birds, the flowers and the natural world around her. All the pages are beautifully ornamented with her original artwork and favourite poems. In this Blog, I’m going to try to emulate her Diary in a modern way. For a start, this is a blog on a computer, not pen and ink lovingly written on paper! However, I hope that the end result will have some similarities, in that I want to capture day by day, month by month the steady rhythm of Nature through the year. For although our 21st century lives are hectic, chaotic, noisy and deafened by electronics, the beat of the natural world, which is the backdrop to all our lives whether we notice it or not, remains ever the same. So take a sedate, gentle and steady-paced journey with me through the next year, observing the natural world. Our way of life may have changed almost beyond recognition since 1906, but nature is doing what it always has done, the cycle of nature remains constant and reassuringly predictable. In that respect, nothing has changed. ‘ No Winter lasts forever; no Spring skips its turn.’ (Hal Borland)

Sunday, 14 July 2013

July 14th.

Illustration available here

Still hot and sunny, the meadows are baked in the sunshine, and the reens that were  full of water only a week or two ago , are drying up, leaving some huge groups of fat tadpoles stranded in large black wriggling masses. I collected a few jars full and transferred them to some fuller ponds, they have developed their back legs but still have a way to go before they can survive out of water. The willows that line the Olway valley are shedding their seed, white fluff falling down like snow.There are so many wild flowers in bloom, and ironically the best place to find them is on the roadside verges; ragweed, st. Johns wort,willow herb, bindweeds, agrimony,cranesbill and several varieties of thistle. Many of these plants are considered weeds these days, but they are all very pretty plants, and full of bees and butterflies. The grasshoppers too are out in force in the meadows, leaping between the different grasses.
Although my garden is full of house sparrow fledglings, the parents have started hatching out the next brood, unfortunately another day or so old chick fell out of its nest in the roof to its death. The little birds must be baking up in the roof-space, and dehydration can often be a problem for young animals of all sorts in this weather.
On the river the birds were looking a little worried by all the humans that have invaded their usually peaceful waters ( me included!).The river has a big bloom of crowsfoot this year, growing in thick clumps with little white flowers, even the people didn't deter the damsel flies that were crowding on to the flowers. Saw a young dipper, but sadly no kingfishers.

Summer Images-John Clare. ( lines from)
Now swarthy Summer, by rude health embrowned,
      Precedence takes of rosy fingered Spring;
And laughing Joy, with wild flowers prank’d, and crown’d,
      A wild and giddy thing,
And Health robust, from every care unbound,
      Come on the zephyr’s wing,

          And cheer the toiling clown.
Me not the noise of brawling pleasure cheers,
      In nightly revels or in city streets;
But joys which soothe, and not distract the ears,
      That one at leisure meets
In the green woods, and meadows summer-shorn,
      Or fields, where bee-fly greets
          The ear with mellow horn.

 The green-swathed grasshopper, on treble pipe,
      Sings there, and dances, in mad-hearted pranks;
There bees go courting every flower that’s ripe,
      On baulks and sunny banks;
And droning dragon-fly, on rude bassoon,
      Attempts to give God thanks
          In no discordant tune.

 The speckled thrush, by self-delight embued,
      There sings unto himself for joy’s amends,
And drinks the honey dew of solitude.
      There Happiness attends
With inbred Joy until the heart o’erflow,
      Of which the world’s rude friends,
          Nought heeding, nothing know.

   There the gay river, laughing as it goes,
      Plashes with easy wave its flaggy sides,
And to the calm of heart, in calmness shows
      What pleasure there abides,
To trace its sedgy banks, from trouble free:
      Spots Solitude provides
          To muse, and happy be.

 There think me how some barter joy for care,
      And waste life’s summer-health in riot rude,
Of nature, nor of nature’s sweets aware.
      When passions vain intrude,
These, by calm musings, softened are and still;
      And the heart’s better mood
          Feels sick of doing ill.

 I see the wild flowers, in their summer morn
      Of beauty, feeding on joy’s luscious hours;
The gay convolvulus, wreathing round the thorn,
      Agape for honey showers;
And slender kingcup, burnished with the dew
      Of morning’s early hours,
          Like gold yminted new.
Illustration available here

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