Sitting on a Bench.
Bobby looks forward to Tuesdays. A train ride to London. Usually Farringdon. A nice walk to Islington, through what turns out to be the design centre of London. He always leaves the Al-Anon meetings feeling better than when he went in. And looking forward to a myriad of choices of how to spend an afternoon in the wonderful City. The sun shone. Someone on the early morning radio had mentioned the glory that is Queen Mary’s Garden within Regents Park. And so it was free bus pass rides to the park. We wrote a blog last year on the rose gardens and determined to seek serenity this time just reading a book all afternoon. The roses were only just starting so he found a seat by the wilder part of the garden looking across the lake. Shaded. Perfect. Pret bagette. Peach drink. Shortbread. What more could you want to spend an afternoon finding serenity reading a book? (more…)
Writing for Mental Health.
I am a writer. I write.
I am a good writer. Bobby told me so
I am a bad writer. Bobby’s mind told me so.
I don’t care what you say.
I do care what you think.
I am a writer. I am writing this.
I was always a writer who never wrote.
I am a writer with words tumbling in all directions.
I hope they make sense.
I hope you read them.
I am a writer. I read them.
I am a bear. My name is Bertie. I think a lot. Some bears do. (more…)
The Darling Buds of May… “Murdered by Surrey County Council”.
David Gilmour… (once of Pink Floyd):
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds to shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
We make no apology for using Shakespeare’s famous love sonnet to announce our intention of trying to stop Surrey County Council wasting taxpayers’ money by their annual destruction of the wild environment along the A24 south of Dorking. It does, after all, relate the human condition to the natural environment.
At a time when there is a world beyond Brexit that is seriously concerned about biodiversity, mental health and economy, their action is inconceivable to many of us. Do they realise how much they upset some of us to see such wanton destruction?
The same policy undoubtedly exists elsewhere in Surrey and beyond. But not, so it would appear, further south in Sussex.
To establish our remit in campaigning for the future of next year’s darling buds, we will concentrate on one very small area of the A24 to challenge the Council. Out of the six miles of dual carriageway with a wide central reserve and wide verges, this is typical of what was mown down indiscriminately last week.
The following pictures were all taken on Tuesday 14 May within a few yards of the chevron sign. Whatever Surrey County Council may choose to make of this action, there is no rule on earth to stop me walking through a nature reserve. Alive with insects. A real pleasure. Not something I would normally do, but I saw the cones appearing and guessed what was about to happen. In the pictures you will notice that the moon daisies in particular had only just started flowering. They were mostly still in bud. A portent of what was to come.
Tuesday 14 May
A profusion of flowers and grasses – our Darling Buds of May:
Thursday 15 May
Saturday 18 May
Lighting a Candle for Diddley and the Moon Daisies.
Diddley adored the Moon Daisies and looked forward to their annual appearance on the A24. I had always called them Ox-Eye Daisies and it seems that the various names come from the part of the country you lived in. In her glorious Cotswolds, they are known by the much more evocative name of Moon Daisy. At her funeral, her daughter Amber included this is in her eulogy:
“I always feel close to mum in June not only because it’s my birth month, it is the time of year for moon daisies which appear by the roadside. Every year she always commented on how they reminded her of being pregnant with me, and this year they were particularly abundant.”
Our research found the following snippets:
Names: Ox-Eye Daisy, Dog Daisy, Field Daisy, Marguerite, Moon Daisy, Moon-Penny, PoorLand Penny, Poverty Daisy and White Daisy.
From a Gloucestershire church website:
”Buy plant ‘plugs’ from a company like www.plantwild.co.uk (01531 670 797) that can be planted in corners and allowed to naturalise through the churchyard.
Suitable plants to start with are: Cowslips, Aquilegia, Foxgloves, Blue Geraniums, Moon Daisies, Scabious – both field and devil’s bit(!). Start with larger, stronger varieties. Others like Spotted Orchids may well follow.
We owe it to Diddley to try to stop this unnecessary destruction of these darling buds of May and June. With reasoned debate. Not confrontation. The plants will recover and, given good growing conditions, rapidly become a problem in late summer to be mowed down again at great expense. But, the flowers are gone for another year. As have the seeds, the insects and the birds that benefit from both.
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The Isabella Plantation.
A Journey through Time.
Sid and Dorothy (Bobby’s parents) loved The Isabella Plantation. It’s an abiding memory of a long time ago. Especially the day they took him there on the 213 bus.
Bobby has been there many times in recent years, but never again by 213 bus. (more…)
The Handkerchief Tree.
Bertie: “Gor blimey, Bobby. You do find out some interesting things!”
Bobby: “Thank you, Bertie. I am just naturally inquisitive.”
Bertie: “Well just think. This is all about a tree. A seemingly boring tree. A tree you have walked past, cycled past and driven past loads of times without so much as a second glance. A tree you realised was really special this time last year. But went off to Paris and forgot about it.” (more…)
A Day Out With Thomas.
Here is your friend Thomas, the Tank Engine.
He wanted to come out of his station-yard and see the world.
These stories tell you how he did it.
I hope you will like them because you helped me to make them.
Your Loving Daddy
April in Paris.
She was 97 on 3 April.
Bertie: “A Museum! We have come all the way to Paris to go to a bleedin’ Museum!”
April in Paris.
Bertie: “What’s the matter with you, Bobby me old mate?”
Bertie: “They took my bleedin ‘ead off last year. Anyway, wot about our ‘oliday round Europe?”
Bobby: “Well, it’s just two weeks away and I can hardly walk.”
Bertie: “Do you know what mate? I don’t think you really want to go.”
Bobby: “‘Course I do. I’ve booked all the tickets and reservations.”
Bertie: “Well, in the past you were dead up for it mate. Full of it. Over excited, even by your standards. This year hardly said a word. Be honest. Do you really want to go?”
Bobby: “Those first two trips all round Europe on trains were fantastic adventures. Look where we went. Paris, Venice, Rome and lots of other places.”
Tie on Baggage Labels.
Bertie: “Watcha Trev! How’s things? You’ve been a bit quiet lately!”
Trevor: “Bertie… I have told you before. Kindly use my proper name… Trevor. I may appear quiet but, quite honestly, so do most people when in the company of you and Bobby.”
Bertie: “Oooohh err. You are so sensitive. How about doing a story next week?”
Trevor: “That would be most agreeable, Bertie. But, as you will remember, my preference is nostalgia and Bobby’s fascinating childhood. A true schoolboy, growing up in the 1950s. We last wrote about airline sticky labels. It seems that many enjoyed the beautifully presented “stickies” for airline travel back in the 1950s. They were the advertising, ‘Look at me and see where I have been’. Lovely graphics from a bygone age. (more…)
Armandii. The Queen of Spring.
This is the story of a plant, a priest and a love affair.
Back in 1986, Bobby saw his first Clematis Armandii. The first time, that is, he knew its name. Draped over a disused shed at Highdown Gardens near Worthing in Sussex, it wasn’t even in the main garden, but hidden in a working area. Its rampant glory, and sweet scented cascades of flowers, were unforgettable. Returning to the garden a few weeks ago, there was no sign of the shed or its veil. (more…)