Words have been eluding me this month – words that are publishable that is.
Here in the totalitarian state of blighty our lives continue quietly, if bizarrely. Tomatoes have been featuring heavily in our lives, which just goes to show what happens when panic causes the human mind to overreact and envisage a global shortage of some deemed precious item.
The good side: I’ve given loads away. Even so, the last few weeks have involved repeat bouts of soup and sauce making, most of the crop now rendered into frozen bricks stacked up in the freezer. In fact there has been much vegetable processing all round, the kitchen looking like an exploded harvest festival; not necessarily in a good way.
But out in the autumn garden, there is much still to please, the helianthus yellow retreating before the Michaelmas daisy purples and mauves, the deepening russet reds of the crab apples and Coxes pippins. Last week we even had several days of sunshine weather just when we thought summer was done.
So, this month’s thought for sanity survival: striving to be thankful for life’s small but blessedly lovely things is the only way to go.
From the September garden:
And from the other end of the spectrum:
The Changing Seasons: September 2020
A big thanks to Su for continuing to host this monthly photo posting.
Now here’s a change of style from our roadside show-offy red poppies posted earlier in the week: Meconoposis Lingholm, a blue Himalayan poppy. It is a newcomer to the shady, behind-the-shed corner of the Farrell domain. I bought it last autumn on-line from the very excellent Ballyrobert Gardens in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. (It’s amazing what excellent plants people you can discover in the gardening section of ebay.)
The poppy was little more than a large ‘plug’ when it arrived with the rest of my order. I dithered about, wondering whether to pot it on (and worry about it freezing in its pot if we had a hard winter) or to plant it out while it had time to establish itself, but still hope that we wouldn’t have a hard winter. I opted for the latter course, and then it poured with rain for the next five months, with hardly a sign of frost. And so I worried instead that it would get water-logged and rot. When it died down, leaving not one single trace of itself, I thought I’d lost it.
Which just goes to show you can do a lot of worrying about nothing. Besides, I knew very well that I’d taken the best care I could when I planted it. Anyway, the rather hairy leaves started poking through the mulch in April and the single bloom began opening about a week ago with another bud behind it. But what a floral wonder! I’m hoping it’s going to thrive now, though mostly only Graham will get the benefit. I planted it to give him a view from his shed window while he’s grinding and drilling and making odd constructions that only he understands.
Our cottage faces east and so has full-on morning sunshine, and here it is filling the oriental poppies – a sort of natural neon effect as they sway in the breeze. They are right beside the main road, which is growing busier by the day now that lockdown strictures are easing. But the increase in traffic isn’t cramping the poppies’ style. Lots more buds set to open, and that will definitely please the bumble bees.
Jude’s ongoing photo challenge at Travel Words is well worth your attention. Her aim over the coming months is to help us be more creative with our photography. May is dedicated to the use of light, with a different assignment each Sunday. Here is this week’s:
‘Look for shadows. Strong light, casting well-defined shadows, can create interesting abstract images. Layering light and shadows brings a sense of depth to an image and can convey mystery.’
My shadow composition came about as a result of some domestic DIY. It must have been late summer a couple of years ago. I don’t remember what the job was, but it involved washing this dust sheet afterwards. And as the late-day sun headed over Wenlock Edge so the shadow garden was made.
2020 Photo Challenge #18 Shadows
Late afternoon yesterday, I happened to look out of the bedroom skylight, and there was the moon in next door’s ash tree. And a planet too. Venus I think. A fine sight.
January Light #29
Becky’s looking up at the night sky today too.
It’s not something I do often – once in a blue moon, or more especially as an antidote to four months without much sunshine. But then the Seville oranges had arrived at Entertaining Elephants, sister Jo’s scrumptious shop. So it had to be done – a spot of marmalade making.
There’s no doubting it’s a faff – all that separating of orange innards into a muslin bag. (I found a desert spoon speeded up operations). Then the fine chopping and slow simmer of peel. But oh, the scent of warm orange that filled the cottage, and then the satisfying row of glowing jars. So then I thought I’d take a photo, and as I was cropping and squaring it, it occurred to me that it had a Rothko-esque quality had that fine artist ever thought to pursue the diagonal or ponder on the joys of marmalade making.
By the way, it tastes delicious too. But in the absence of a tasting, may the marmalade light be with you.
copyright 2020 Tish Farrell
January Light #27
The following themes are now available at this address:
‘The Miss Haversham‘
‘Web Apps ’
When I looked out of my bedroom window this morning all was dull and dank. There was no view of the Edge, only fog on the field that in the past two days has been harvested, harrowed and re-sown, and is anyway looking gloomily autumnal. But when I walked out into the garden I found every leaf and stem was glittering with dewy webs. So much spinning and weaving in the night – a thousand spider-stiltskins run amok. And even if you don’t like spiders, you can still admire their fog-enhanced artwork. Well, can’t you?
There’s all sorts of flare going on in this photo, not least around the moon. The pink smoke, and golden hedge effects are courtesy of a tall street light out of shot top left. I was trying to capture a blue moon. I even used a tripod. I’m not sure where the light on the right came from as there isn’t an actual street lamp on that side of the road. Anyway, if you peer hard you can look down the curve of Sheinton Street towards the town centre. It looks a bit like a film set. In fact isn’t that Mary Poppins coming along the road? Chim-chiminee, chim-chi…
Thursday’s Special: Flare
Please visit Paula at Lost in Translation for more flare
Here at Sheinton Street we are wondering if spring has come. Certainly it looks like spring. We have had daffodils, crocus and cherry blossom, and now the crab apple tree is blooming. But this is not spring as we know it. For one thing the winds have been icy, and unrelenting day after day. For another we completely missed out on April showers, and when they finally came on Saturday night, they came all at once and pounded away what blossom was left on the damson tree. I’ll be surprised if the Shropshire Prune has any fruit this year. Out in the very wet garden on Sunday morning the tulips looked positively shivery. Dishevelled too.
Definitely brrrr all round. There’s an old English saying that advises, ‘Ne’er cast a clout till May is out,’ and I can tell you there will be no clout casting in this house – probably not till July. Time to stoke up the wood burning stove, and see how the baked spuds are cooking.
Happy May, Everyone, Whatever Your Season
The other day I was astonished to look out of my kitchen window and behold this perplexing vision on the side of a carpet truck. It was a bit like spotting a unicorn. Well, what do you think this image is saying carpet-wise? Hey, come unravel me? Anyway, it made me laugh. And some days you do need a sense of humour to live where we live.
Trucks are a daily feature of Sheinton Street, a town lane that somehow in the 1980s was upgraded to an ‘A’ road. This means it is designated as a “through road”, and that there should thus be nothing on it to impede the flow of traffic.
Anyone who has read my previous post (By the Silurian Sea) will know that while the back of our cottage mostly overlooks farm fields and woods, the front is very close to this road. Along it come all manner of large vehicles – many so big that they get jammed together trying to pass one another. This includes school buses, and combine harvesters, garden fencing lorries and clay trucks. Sometimes they block the road completely. Not good news if you are trying to get to hospital in an ambulance. There truly is no other way to go without a huge detour.
Over the years I have captured a few of these HGV encounters. I call the phenomenon Truck Stuckage. Most of the photos are taken from my upstairs office window. See what I get up to when I’m supposed to be writing. (I know: it’s hard to say what is more oddball – the photos or the person who took them). And not only do I snap stills, I also from time to time put short video clips on You Tube so I can forward the links to Shropshire Council’s chief highways engineer. She’s called Alice. I think we are on first name terms. She doesn’t know what to do about this road, but a team of consultants has recently been employed to think about what might be done. Or not.
In the meantime, if the trucks get any larger, we will need the local fire brigade on permanent standby to unravel the stuckage. They will have to do this before they can answer any emergency calls north of Sheinton Street. One can see where the “through road” designation begins to fall down somewhat:
Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge