Sunday, 21 July 2019

That was then

Dear Reader,

On July 15, 1786, Gilbert White wrote in his diary:

Made jellies, and jams of red currants.  Gathered broad beans...... The cat gets up on the roof of the house, and catches young bats as they come forth from behind the sheet of lead at the bottom of the chimney.

On July 15th, 1802, Dorothy Wordsworth wrote in her diary:

Arrived very hungry at an exquisitely neat farmhouse we got some boiled milk and bread; this strengthened us, and I went down to look at the ruins.  Thrushes were singing, cattle feeding among green-grown hillocks about the ruins.  These hillocks were scattered over with grovelets of wild roses and other shrubs, and covered with wild flowers.  I could have stayed in this solemn quiet spot till evening, without a thought of moving, but William was waiting for me, so in a quarter of an hour I went away.


I will not be writing a blog next Sunday as I will be on holiday in Lyme Regis.


That was Then

We made our way home
where the west wind blew
and the sun shone sometimes,
we walked where people
we met in the street
or in the country lanes
exchanged news,
people well known to us
growing from infants to children,
teenagers to married couples.

We walked by the Evenlode river
up into the fields where
butterflies gathered in the clover.
We saw horses grazing,
wheat fields full
of red rememberance poppies,
the first primroses and bluebells
in the spring, foxgloves,
cow parsley dressing the hedgerows,
summer roses,
the first autumn leaves
fluttering to the ground,
the winter snow.

He walked ahead,
I followed.
We held hands, embraced,

 but that was then.


With very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Rose Coloured spectacles

Dear Reader,

There were two extraordinary stories in the newspaper this week, and both, I think, are absurd.

If you did read about them skip this bit but if you didn't here is the gist:

A Christian doctor who is suing the Department for Work and Pensions says he lost his job after a recruitment agent asked whether or not he would call a bearded man 'madam'.  "No I would not," he said.   He was then sacked for refusing to call people who were born male 'she' even if they now identify as female. He was suspended as a disability claim assessor said it would be irresponsible to address people based on preferred pronouns.

The other story is about a senior Northern Ireland civil servant who was paid £10,000 compensation for having to walk past portraits of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in his line of duty  Mr. Hegarty's complaints are said to have led to the portraits being removed and replaced by pictures of the Queen meeting people.  One of those was Martin McGuinness, former Deputy first minister of Northern Ireland and an ex-IRA commander.   The case brought by the complainant was settled secretly and the sum of £10,000 was handed over,  presumably for hurt feelings and distress.

I just wonder where the UK is going.  It all seems so mad to me, and so sad.


Rose Coloured Spectacles

For her he was such a hero,
caught the biggest fish,
rode the fastest horse,
made people laugh,
procured lots of money,
knew the elite
made them his friends,
no weaknesses were known
or seen.
Yes, he was somebody.

But who is without a flaw?
He was insensitive to others,
spoke out of turn, hurt feelings,
and didn't care or notice.

She sadly learnt her hero's crown
was not made of gold.
Found her spectacles had slipped,
that she needed a new pair
with clearer vision.


With very best wishes, Patricia

Sunday, 7 July 2019


                                                                                         Nomad Bees

Dear Reader,

It seems that Britain's rarest bee is under threat because of habitat loss at the only location it is found.  It used to be scattered across southern England but is now only found in one place. The location is on the cliffs at Prawle Point in South Devon.    Nomads are known as 'cuckoo' bees as they lay their eggs in other bees' nests.  When the nomad's larvae hatches, it eats the pollen stores that the host bee gathered for its own young.  The nomad's choice of host is the long-horned bee, which is threatened itself, since it only feeds on a few wild flowers in the pea family such as everlasting pea and kidney vetch.

In the nomads last refuge in South Devon, the cliffs provide the perfect habitat for the long-horned bees to breed.  But even here, both species are disappearing.  Farm fields have squeezed closer to the cliffs, removing legume-rich grasslands the long-horned bees depend on.  If this continues, the nomad bee faces extinction in Britain.

With wild animals disappearing, and birds and butterflies fewer every year, what kind of world are we
leaving our grandchildren and great grand children?



The church is cool from the summer sun,
organ music plays.

We walk down the aisle
enjoy the scent of lilies
filling the holy air
point out ruby stained-glass windows
depicting Christ on the cross,
examine oak and stone carvings
plaster heads of saints
the altar cloth rich in green and gold.

He runs up the pulpit steps
says a few words in Latin.
I laugh
then we kneel together in a back pew
say a prayer.

He takes my hand.


Very best wishes, Patricia