Friday, 1 November 2013


So the mighty storm has just clipped the southeast corner of England and is all the news.
If it had been up here it might have got a mention on page 20? London news is big news, all else is just regional stuff of minor consequence?
Spouting over. There is little of great importance south of Lancaster, let alone Watford.

Outside my window a charm of goldfinches are feeding. The flashes of colour, yellow on the wings red on the face, make me understand why people used to keep them in cages. However seeing a dozen together is special.

To collective nouns later.

The late show - of flowers - is on - November and still blooming. However have just cleared away the sweet peas carefully leaving the roots in the ground so the nitrogen fixing bacteria can enrich the soil. The cosmos in the cutting bed have gone over - six feet tall- and have been removed along with a sunflower. Above is the last of the white ones.

The pink cosmos in the garden proper are still in flower as are the nasturtiums and phlox.

Roses are still flowering and will do so right into the hard weather. Often I can place a rose on the table at Christmas.

So to collective nouns of birds - fascinating.
Yes, there are exultations of larks convocations of eagles but what about the following -
siege of bitterns (they will be on BBC Autumnwatch this week at Leighton Moss),
bellowing of bullfinches,
gulp of cormorants,
deceit of lapwings,
unkindness of ravens (a fox has got a couple of the ones at the Tower of London)
scream of swifts and, peculiarly,
a herd of wrens.
Having said that there are two which are great - a murder of magpies and - nothing to do with birds, sort of -
a superfluity of nuns!

Back to gardens and woodland - we were in Oxford last weekend and went to the Harcourt Arboretum which belongs to the University Botanical Gardens. It seemed pleasant enough but a bit tired. Fortunately the company was excellent so it did not matter. (Enjoyed a pint with C in the Lamb and Flag and two Canadians, one of whom was a nuclear physicist, now retired so just pottering about with astrophysics as one does.

Back to our corner of the universe. The photograph to the left is at the parting of the ways - right up into the wood and straight on to the far wood. Leaves are falling everywhere and will need removing from the paths. Left alone they will compost down and make a good place for weeds to grow.

The grey squirrels are back and have chewed through the wire of a peanut feeder (some teeth!). There has been no further sign of Ratty.

Just a note on the boring old sycamore - why cannot its autumn leaves be more cheerful - rather than brownish grey?

It seems a long wait for our small trees and shrubs to get big enough to make a fine impact in autumn.

(By the way the new Weasdale Tree Nursery Catalogue is out.)

So I have to steel myself to the great garden clear up and get my hands dirty.
This is of more consequence than usual as I have stopped biting my nails and now muck gets under them looking  - unclean, unclean, D is unclean!
The to-do list gets longer faster than I can clear it  (which is very slow at the moment as I cannot be much bothered to do anything)(except eat and sit and - well, did go to the gym this morning)(must be crackers).

The word "advert" has been muted with this blog and I am resisting it. This is not intended to be a money maker blog, just the ramblings of an old man who potters around.

So, my daughter is about to be forty - how dare she! It makes me feel ancient. (I am ancient).
Last night went to my poetry group - 4th Monday Poets - followed with a pint of Wainwright with Neil Curry, a proper poet and author (and friend). He is off to America to visit his daughter for her birthday, but she is to be 50! Makes me feel almost middle earth aged. Got to get out of the hobbit habit of feeling decrepit.
Time to take another gandalf gander at the garden and see what I can avoid doing next.
Or have a cup of tea.

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