Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Greeting

A Happy Christmas to everyone who reads my blog and let's hope the New Year will not be too bad. X

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lemon balm

Melissa Officinalis - Bee Balm

Geoffrey Grigson writes in The Englishman's Flora "The rain may long ago  have washed out a chalk cottage in Wiltshire, a cob cottage in Devon or Cornwall, but as likely as not a thick thicket of bee balm will survive"
Morning Minion mentions it in her blog, and it reminded me of my old garden, lots of lemon balm everywhere not only did it travel happily around  but I also planted it in bare spaces. I have a love affair with plants and trailing and bruising the leaves through one's fingers of this particular plant was a joy on a summers day.
Many years ago I kept angora rabbits of different hues, and they also enjoyed eating the young leaves, especially my first rabbit Daisy who would savour the various plants like a connoisseur and showed a remarkable intelligence for a rabbit!
So what else does Grigson say; it comes from Southern Europe, early botanists identified it with melissophyllon 'bee leaf' of Dioscorides and the apiastrum of Pliny.  You can drink it as a tea, though there is no real taste to it and Grigson says it was by no means as nice as the smell of the leaves,  I haven't got any here in Essex, have not seen in the nursery centres..

Pliny's words; It is profiterablie planted in gardens about places where bees are kept, because they are delighted with this herbe above all others.. for when they are straied away they do finde their way home again by it..

Gerarde added that you should rub the hives with the leaves to attract more bees and also which causes the bees 'to keepe togither'

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Plasauduon, Carno, Powys

An animation of a typical 17th century 'Severn Valley' house in Powys, Wales, might even contemplate doing a miniature of one of the rooms....... it's so pretty.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ted Hughes

Curlews in April

Hang their harps over the misty valleys
A wobbling water-call
A wet-footed god of the horizons

New moons sink into the heather
And full golden moons

Bulge over spent walls

Ted Hughes has the final honour of being immortalised at Westminster in Poet's Corner this week, not sure how  he would have felt about it, Thomas Hardy did not want it after all but there we are great men get remembered for past deeds.  Two of my favourites of his poems are Hawk Roosting and the other Pike.
He is a favourite poet of mine, just love his incisive gloomy words, have a taste for morbid poets such as, Hardy, R.S.Thomas and Hughes.  When we travel up North we pass through, or at least go by a sign for Elmet, the old British Celtic kingdom in West Yorkshire or though it probably stretched out over the vale of York in its heyday.   Its particular geological situation makes it a hard place.  One of his book of poems is called 'The Remains of Elmet' and we have a copy illustrated by Fay Godwin's black and white photographs bleakly and darkly sitting side by side with Hughes poems.  It was a gift from an Irish friend a couple of years ago over here for a meeting at Avebury, he had crossed over to Wales and stopped off at Hay-on-Wye to look at the book shops there. So when ever I take down the book I think of the meal we all had at a little pub near Avebury;
I suppose his love of fishing echoes some of my childhood exploits fishing for trout on the farm near Pumpsaint in Wales, accompanied by the farm's friendly pig who snuffled around whilst we fished and then wandering home through the fields with the farmer, on one occasion with a very bouncy live eel in his knapsack that was fried when we got back.  This farm was the place my grandfather would come down to at weekends and catch salmon when they were around, these salmons would fill the fridge at home...  I once ate some pike as a child, it is supposed to be muddy to eat, but I'm sure I can only remember its teeth,  it was caught from a murky lake if I remember rightly.