Going Mazy-Eyed In A Sea Of Grasses ~ Thursday’s Special

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I took this photo last night as I was coming home from the allotment. The sun was setting over the rapeseed field and illuminating the grasses along the headland. This is a broad strip of land on the town side of Townsend Meadow, left uncultivated as a defence against flash floods. The variety of grasses that grow here is bewildering, and I’m sorry to say I have never tried to learn which is which. They are very beautiful though in the evening light.

Grasses (Gramineae) are among the most successful plants on the planet and, excluding the polar zones, cover 40% of the earth’s surface. They of course include cereal crops, rice, bamboos, and pasture grasses and so are of immense importance to humanity. Grass is also an elephant’s food of choice, making up a substantial part of its 300-400 lb daily vegetable intake. I mention that fact here because our headland grasses have so benefitted from the agrichemical feeding of the rape plants uphill from them that they are now doing a pretty good impression of elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) also known as Napier Grass. This particular grass featured in he-who-builds-sheds’ doctoral research on grass smut in the Kenya highlands, and so is a species close to our hearts, and we both know how to identify it.

Coming up is another grass I know: wild oats. The sun was reflecting off its spikelets, which was all rather mesmerizing.

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Thursday’s Special: Lost in details  This week Paula has given us an intriguing challenge and photo to match. I’m interpreting it here both in words and images Who me?

Old Allotment Shed And Artichoke

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This was my shed when I took up allotmenting eleven years ago. He who builds sheds stopped it leaking and leaning into a complete state of collapse, and I and the snails and mice were very glad of it for several years. But then two years ago I left behind the plot it stands on to concentrate on my polytunnel plot. No one has taken it over, and this year it is doing a good imitation of the prairie with elephant’s eye high grass and thistles. Rather sad after all the hours of digging I did there. But at least the shed is still standing, and this year,  the greengage tree that stands over it has quite a bit of fruit in the making. The artichoke, though, was eaten long ago.

Traces of the Past: Black & White Sunday  Please visit Paula to see her dramatic seascape

On the Path To Harakopio ~ The Putative Roof

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I’ve had a passion for pantiles since childhood when they appeared in a storybook I was reading. The story was set in Spain, and I have absolutely no memory of what it was about. Only the pantiles stuck. Once I had discovered what they were, and that they were made of terracotta, and so were red like clay flower pots, and nothing like the boring, dun-coloured slates on my own house, they gave me my first magical sense of ‘the foreign’ – of lands and peoples beyond my island. But perhaps more than that, they suggested new horizons, and new possibilities; only in my imagination though. My family was not one that ‘went abroad’.

And so this pile of tiles simply had to be recorded on our walk to the supermarket in Harakopio. It is hard to say whether they are leftovers from a past project and thus spares for an existing roof, or if they are a roof in-waiting. Or being Greece, if they are simply there, stacked up under an olive tree.

Here’s an actual Harakopio village roof: interesting compilation of new and old.

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And a roof with a very nice datura, the spitting image of the one I once planted in my front garden in Nairobi, bought from a roadside nurseryman.

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For more of the walk in words and pix see On the path to Harakopio

Roof Squares #3 Now over to Becky

Greek Tortoise ~ Own Roof, Will Travel

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The path to Peroulia Beach from Harakopio takes you down winding lanes and through olive groves. On one such expedition we met a tortoise. A fine specimen it was too and so, still with notions of living roofs in mind, I’m posting it for today’s offering at Becky’s month of roof photos. And also for Debbie’s 6WS.

June Squares: roofs

Six Word Saturday

A Laburnum Roof?

Becky has kicked off her June spree of roof shots in square format with a view of Kew. I’d also been thinking of roofs in a garden setting, so here’s a tiny segment of the Laburnum Arch at Arley Arboretum as seen a couple of weeks ago. At 65 metres, it is the longest Britain. But where, you might be asking, are the flowers, the golden cascade thronging with bee-hum. Sorry to say we were a week early. The flowers were only just coming out. Not only that, it seems we walked down the arch the wrong way. The intention of the recent extension being to bring you to a spectacular view over the Severn Valley. Pretty much like this one, or so I imagine. Anyway, I enjoyed looking up into the  tracery of entwining boughs – which would not of course be visible if the flowers were out. Always good to find a silver lining in the absence of gold.

Please pop over to Becky’s for more June Roof Squares:

June Squares

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St Bride’s Castle ~ After And Before At Black & White Sunday

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Over at Lost In Translation, one of Paula’s recurrent themes is the conversion of a colour image to monochrome. It’s always interesting discovering what will or will not work; which details become more or less significant. Sometimes there are quite striking and unexpected differences in mood. All of which is to say, I’m not sure why I even thought of converting this first photo to monochrome. As an indoor, night-time shot with too many light sources, I wasn’t expecting it to work at all. But then I found I rather liked the monochrome version. It somehow has a more formal or stately feel about it. It was taken in the hall-drawing room of St. Bride’s Castle.

Coming up is the front entrance. I don’t think the conversion does much for the image here:

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This next exterior shot perhaps works better: austere geometrical silhouette against active clouds:

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And I do rather like this clump of monochromed daffodils found in the castle grounds:

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Black & White Sunday: After and Before

More about St. Bride’s HERE

In which Six Go Potty In Pembroke With Cockapoo Puppy  – holiday snaps #10

Solva, The Oldest Working Woollen Mill In Pembrokeshire ~ And A Good Moment To Dust Down Old Prejudices

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Childhood summer holidays: the cottage stay near a Welsh beach and the much wearing a brown gabardine mac; endless search for places that might offer shelter and diversion from wet and gloomy weather; the Welsh Crafts Shop that, if we’re lucky, will have a cafe.

Back then, to my young 1960s’ eyes, Welsh tweed seemed very old hat. It had all the charm of the post-war-geometric-abstract-chemical coloured fabrics that my parents had taken to (fabrics which are now very popular again in vintage shops). I found the designs and colour palette distasteful then – too hectic for one thing – and I still do, though I can see they were meant to cheer everyone  up after years of rationing and austerity; inspire a spirit of hopeful busyness and productivity.

So where does that leave my views on Welsh tweed now?

Well, it’s always good to revisit old dislikes and appraise the situation with fresh eyes. For a start there is no denying the fabulous quality of the product. This is reflected in the price. However, it really does NOT still need to be used to cover bags, purses or to be made into unfortunately shaped waistcoats. On the other hand, deployed as rugs and furnishing fabric, then we’re on to something. In fact Welsh tweed has been acquiring cachet in quite discerning quarters. And although I forgot to take a photo, the stair runners are perhaps the finest things the mill produces, especially the red ones. You can see some in situ HERE.

As for the reversible rugs with their traditional ‘portcullis’ designs, I’m suddenly finding I like them too – at least to the extent of buying four place mats in spring green for the kitchen table. I like the ‘cottage industry’ simplicity and well-made-ness, in much the same way that I like the 1960s pale oak ercol furniture (now being reprised) – just so long as it doesn’t come with its original overdone upholstery and cushions which often obscure the pleasing frames. So I’m also thinking that if anyone needs to replace original fabric on a piece of vintage ercol, then  Welsh tweed could be just the thing – a refreshed ‘Arts & Crafts’ look. A little googling also reveals that another Pembrokeshire Mill has already thought of this. See what you think.

Solva Mill, as the sign proclaims, has been in operation since 1907. The workers’ clocking on clock is still in the old workshop foyer. For those who like wheels and gears, there is old weaving equipment all over the place, inside and out. You can read a bit more about the history of the mill HERE. Its situation is blissful, in a little valley up in the hills above Solva village. The overshot watermill that once powered the mill was restored in 2007 as part of the works’ centenary celebration, and there are hopes to get the whole system revamped to produce electricity. In return for free left over plastic yarn cones (see below), you can make a donation to the project. This meant that Super Puppy was able to leave the premises with a very satisfactory toy. A good morning out all round.

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March Square #27  Becky’s March Square extravaganza is nearly over, so with this post I’m probably putting all my squares and circles in one basket. I think it’s safe to say there are more here than anyone can possibly count.

In which Six Go Potty In Pembroke With Cockapoo Puppy  – holiday snaps #8

copyright 2018 Tish Farrell

A Bucket Full Of Blue ~ Mad March Square 10

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This was a heartening find outside our High Street florists on Wednesday. I love the blue of hyacinths, though their scent can be overpowering indoors. Anyway, it made me think how lucky we are in our very small and ancient town to have so many independent shops. As I may well have mentioned before, our traders’ roll call even includes two book stores. Also extraordinarily, we have a vicars’ outfitters where men of the cloth can have their cloth, well, customized. Who’d’ve thought…

I’m thinking I may feature more of Wenlock in squares over the next few days. I shall have to schedule same as we’re about to go to the dark side. That is to say, changing our internet provider. The last time we did that we were worldwidewebless for nearly a fortnight. So if you don’t hear from me over the next few days, do not be surprised.

March Square Pop over to Becky’s to get square with this squares and circles lark.

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