Sunday 27 November 2022


Bali (greyhound) and lad get snapped a lot when the latter comes back home for a visit but I particularly loved this picture with the drying tea towel/pyjamas backdrop.


Thursday 24 November 2022

You learn something every day. Note number 2,000 or so

Maybe not quite that many, but I have many-a-time blogged about the sudden acquisition of a basic and somehow overlooked piece of fundamental logic.

I was reading about trees recently - deciduous varieties - and it seems that at the point that the tree decides, through chill or lack of light or combination of both that it is time to let its summer coat go, a chemical reaction takes place and each leaf detaches from the mother ship, deprived of its usual water and nutrient supply.

Every species of tree is different of course - early budding and early shutting down such as the horse chestnut, or more cautious, like our very late-leafing apple tree which still seems to have ninety percent of all its foliage. At the moment our lawn is perpetually covered with papery yellow and brown leaves of our towering lime tree. 

Usually, we rake, perhaps dump the leaves on a tarp and drag them to various mulch piles, the tarps gradually ripping and thinning in the process, or just pick them up by hand. But this year, Dr Lockett seized with sudden wisdom, cut two pieces of old hardboard from the woodpile and started to use them like large mole hands. It's transformed the job, the leaves crushed and pinned between the wood - actually very satisfying to do too. Why did we not invent this before?


Tuesday 22 November 2022

A very favourite place

Win Green hill in Wiltshire. Somewhere that Mum and I used to go to walk, listen to the larks twittering as they rose into never-ending summer skies and sit within the cool green shade of the hill's crowning trees.

I haven't been able to get back to Mum's grave since the day we said goodbye to her, the flowers and earth fresh, the plot waiting for its new little silver birch tree. Covid prevented the visit and only now have I been able to get away from home and make the trip back to Dorset.

So, I stood and talked to her for a while and reflected on some of the places we might have visited, back in time, seated in her elderly burgundy Nissan Micra. The sea, a walk at a favourite avenue of lofty oaks followed by tea and cake in the nearby café, an ancient hill fort with views across the undulating green countryside. Or, Win Green, a long curve of a hill topped with a wedge of stubborn beech trees, shaped over the years by the scudding Northern winds, a place that has featured many times in my books.

I chose the latter, and it being fairly . . . no, impossible, to access by public transport my lovely friend and fellow tree/hill/wilderness enthusiast drove us there. It was probably the first time I had experienced the hill without its gentle breezes, larks and nodding wild flowers. This day had been wind-wild, smatterings of horizontal rain, the beeches almost leafless and the usual views curtained by misty cloud, but it was just as atmospheric and memorable. We sketched, changed a few shouted words of appreciation against the blasts of wind then squelched back to her car to recover and plan where we could raise a cup of tea to Mum's memory.