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)

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

July 9th.


Illustration available here


The weather continues to get hotter and hotter with the Usk valley being the hottest place in Wales today! Went for a long ramble early in the morning up in the fields, through the woods and up to the mountain top above Mamhilad. A stunning day to be on a mountain top, with the most spectacularly beautiful views across the county, from Abergavenny and the Wentwood ridge down across the Usk valley, and to the Bristol channel across to Somerset beyond. Skylarks filled the air with their song and meadow pipits fluttered among the bracken stalks. Amongst the bracken were hundreds of foxgloves which made the most beautiful purple and green landscape.


Also there, were some large flocks of Mistle Thrush, something rarely seen down in the valley. The woods were a cool, damp relief after the sweltering mountain top, and full of moss and ancient beech trees. Saw a lovely family of spotted flycatchers in the dappled branches. Down in the meadows were lots of butterflies; tortoiseshell, meadow brown, small skipper  and the welted thistle that seems to be having a bumper year was full of hungry goldfinches. Back in Usk along the Olway valley,I was very pleased to see a family of linnets, a bird I haven't seen here for a long while. This so far, is a much kinder summer to wildlife than many years previously!

On The Hilltop-Elizabeth Stoddard. ( lines from).
Not by the margent of the sea,
But on the hilltop I would be,
My little house a mossy den,
Between me and the world of men.
Beside me dips a wide ravine,
Covered with a flowery screen;
Far round me rise a band of hills,
Whose voices reach me by their rills,
Or deep susurrus of the wood,
That stands in stately brotherhood,
Upholding one vast web of green,
Whereunder foot has never been—
The pine and elm, the birch and oak—
And thus their voices me invoke:
“If you would on the hilltop be,
We cannot share your misery;
Cease, cease this moaning for the Past:
The law of grief can never last.”
When springtime brings anemones,
Upon the sod I take my ease,
Or in the tinted April hours
I watch the curtain of the showers
That fall beneath a lurking cloud,
Which for a moment throws a shroud
On the sun’s arrows in the west,
Till it blaze up a golden crest.
The young moon bends her crescent horn
Against the lingering summer morn;
Then, riding down the starry sky,
She follows me till night goes by.
Whatever is the truth, I say,
If up and down the world I stray,
Still on the hilltop I would be,
Not by the margent of the sea!



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