To The Lighthouse: Penmon Point

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On Christmas Day we went to Penmon Point in Anglesey, North Wales – fair weather and good winter light on the lighthouse.

 

Happy New Year Everyone

 

January Light  #1 This month Becky says ‘let there be light’, however we choose to conjure it so long as it’s squared. Please pay her a visit. Better still, join in. We cannot have too much light in 2020: lots of issues requiring full-beam illumination.

Roll up, Roll Up For The Much Wenlock Christmas Fair

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Feel your senses throb to the drummers’ beat, take a donkey ride, guess the name of the little pony, buy your Christmas trees, have nip of gin, or a nibble on a spicy Jamaican pastry, wander about on the Church Green and up and down the town’s main streets, shuffle round the two big crafts tents and buy your last minute special gifts, greet your neighbours, stock up on mistletoe to attract festive kisses, spot a meerkat (!!!?) No wonder Much Wenlock’s annual Christmas fair is the town’s most popular event.

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Lens-Artists: On display

“If You Are Not Confused You Are Not Thinking Clearly”

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The quotation in the title is ascribed to one Irene Peter, but strangely I cannot find a thing about her on the web, only the tagline ‘famous American writer’ heading a short list of other pithy observations. A quick search on-line brings up no lists of books or articles. Nothing on amazon.com.  I am therefore puzzled; confused even. Does she not exist? Has whoever it is been blanked from the interweb for expressing common sense?

So: now I’m thinking who cares who said it. The message is what counts. In fact this could well be the aphorism for our times. Every day the mass media attempts to shape our thinking on important (in some cases life-threatening) matters. We have think tanks, government spokespersons, celebrities, politicians, bots telling us in unexamined sound bites and headlines what to think. We are forever being herded into one corral or another in a bid to secure our consent for either one position or another.

Keeping us divided in opposing camps is part of the strategy. Firstly, shouting at each other to defend our positions consumes a lot of energy, even if that shouting only takes place in our heads; there may even be some entertainment value, elements of atavistic tribalism satisfied. The shouting also cements our respective positions, making a change of mind less likely.

And once a large enough body of consensus has amassed around a particular issue, then anyone brave enough to question it needs to be ready for reputation-smearing and all round media pillorying. And so by these means we are distracted from scrutinizing the actual issues, rational discourse is effectively outlawed and we thus fail to discover who precisely benefits from the lines being sold to us in the world-wide hypermarket that we now inhabit.

Time to be sceptical then. Time to unpick the assumptions that we’ve taken for facts, and the opinions we’ve accepted as evidence. Time to face the confusion – even though, first and foremost, it means standing our own views and convictions on their heads. You never know, if we all did this some actual world-wide wisdom might surface.

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copyright 2019 Tish Farrell

Autumn Leaves A lot To Be Desired ~ Again

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It’s that time of year and the gardener’s gold must be gathered in. And so whenever I go up to the allotment, taking stuff for the compost bins, I then head up the lane to the woods behind the plots. Until recently the fallen leaves have been rain-sodden, but with a few rainless days they’ve dried off a bit and a bag full no longer weighs a tonne. Ideally too, the leaves should have the mower run over them before storing. This speeds up decomposition. You can also add grass mowings and comfrey leaves.

But whatever you do with them, they do take a long time to make proper leaf mould for seed sowing purposes – 2- 3 years probably. On the other hand if you only want compost for mulching winter beds, then they are good to go in less than 12 months. I stored mine in rolls of fence wire, pegged to the ground to make small silos. This year I’ve also bought some jute leaf sacks. The jute will eventually rot and be composted, but in the meantime the leaf sacks can be stored in shed and polytunnel.

No one else at the allotment gathers leaves, although when I mention the subject they all agree it’s a good idea. Then after a pause they usually say ‘ah, but they take so long to rot down.’ To which my first and last riposte is, well the sooner you start collecting them, the sooner this ceases to be an issue. And yes, I can see it might seem a touch eccentric to go scrabbling round in the woods but hey, last year’s leaf compost has now made a nice thick mulch for the strawberries, raspberries and young asparagus plants. So thank you trees – oak, beech, field maple, sycamore and bird cherry – and never fear, this year I’m still leaving you plenty of leaves for your own personal use.

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November On And Over The Edge: The Changing Seasons

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For  most of November it’s been rain and gloom on the weather front, and hate and smear in the mass media. When it comes to the upcoming general election it feels like a no-win situation. We’re dying for it to be done with, but horrified by the possible result. I further give my position away when I say the only bright spot this last week was when Channel 4 ‘emptied chaired’ Boris Johnson who refused to take part in the leaders’ climate crisis debate and replaced him, as they said they would do, with an ice sculpture. This served to generate the Twitter hashtag #BorisIsAMelt which in turn made me laugh out loud, and briefly lifted the spirits.

And then on Friday the sun came out so we popped over to nearby Ironbridge and turned it into a proper outing, mooching and lunching. And then yesterday, though Wenlock was again lost in murk, when we drove out of town into Corvedale there was the sun floodlighting the valley through a thin gauze of mist. Goodness! Sun – two days running. So we went to the off-season opening at Wildegoose Nursery where we had last been in August when the walled garden was alive with butterflies and all round floral brilliance. Yesterday it was transformed to muted tones, here and there lit up by plumes of ornamental grasses as they caught the sun. The place is pure magic however it comes, and especially its magnificent glasshouse. Yesterday it was hosting a special course of Christmas wreath making plus some arty works from our much loved 2020 Gallery (even though it’s moved from Wenlock to Ludlow).

And so making the most of November’s sunny intervals, the following photos are mostly from the last couple of days: first off, yesterday at Wildegoose Nursery:

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Ironbridge 29th November:

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And on home territory earlier in the month: fog over the garden fence and brighter vistas in and around the Linden Walk and Wenlock Priory parkland…

copyright 2019 Tish Farrell

The Changing Seasons: November 2019

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