11 March 2012

Videos and vacations

Drunk with the success of adding a sound file last week (well, alright a link to a sound file), I thought I'd try video this week. Here are alder catkins on an early February morning, dangling like gorgeous earrings and moving gently in the morning breeze. This clip runs for less than a minute, and I recorded it on a phone (in February 2011); you'll hear nearby traffic in the background. It's just another way of saying there are things to see and enjoy even in fairly mundane situations.

It's a rough (very rough) approach to what the Quiet American would have us do:
Take a one-minute vacation from the life you are living.
One-minute vacations are unedited recordings of somewhere, somewhen. Sixty seconds of something else. 
Some of the recordings on that site are wonderful. I'd recommend it.

Okay, back from vacations to other places and times, this week saw beautiful weather again, hampered a little for me by a temporary injury that means I can't DIG! And it's March... And every gardener knows that March is when the bug really bites. Happily, my son is doing great work up on the allotment (thanks DM): I'm just pointing at the ground and then retiring home to so some faffing in the garden with a hand trowel. The injury has meant some wakeful nights, one of which gave me the chance to appreciate the garden at night lit by a full moon. It's a different and more enchanting place, accompanied at the moment by the constant rhythm of frog 'song'. The breakfast bench in the garden (it gets the morning sun from April to September) is also perfectly placed to be soaked in moonlight when the time is right. Not bad...

Hellebore Days at Mount Venus Nursery
Other gardening joys this week have been a trip to Mount Venus Nursery for their Hellebore Days - lots of delightful plants on show and, of course, for sale. One of the purchases I made was a beautiful Viola odorata, which I can confirm smells like Love Heart sweets (remember those?) as Monty Don remarks in one of his entries in The Ivington Diaries. It's in the ground already, under the Enkiathus, near the Witch Hazel in the back garden. Hope it settles in well. There'll be other purchases to go in too, and I'm also faced with the dilemma of where to put the lovely Trillium rivale, given to me by a fellow member of the AGS: they're running a mentoring scheme this year and I decided to give it a go (thanks BM). The Trillium and a Draba longisiliqua (the yellow-flowered one in the photo below) are my two trial specimens. I'm a bit nervous about how well, or not, I'll look after them, but I won't learn how to do it unless I give it a go! (There's a glimpse at a poet's view of a Trillium here).
Alpine and woodland plants surrendered into my care
Away from the garden this week, we ventured down to the shoreline, walking under boulder clay cliffs - left behind tens of thousands of years ago as the glaciers that filled the Irish Sea and covered most of Ireland finally melted, leaving behind a hotch-potch of silt and sand and cobbles and boulders, all dumped unceremoniously and now being scoured by the Irish Sea, bit by crumbling bit.
Boulder clay cliffs
Amazing to think of about two kilometres of ice pressing down on the very point where that photo was taken. The ice that scraped along the Irish Sea has left lots of clues about its journey, of which more another time, but here's one them: a cobble of Carboniferous limestone, 'chock-full of fossils' as our first-year lecturer used to say. Most of them are crinoids, or sea-lilies, close relatives of sea-urchins.

Chock full of fossils
Two things to finish up with this week: one is RED! The friend who owns this sculpture wondered if it would end up in the blog this week (and here it is CQ). Looks rather well in my garden, no? :-) Especially with the quince in blossom in the background. It's there only for a few days before it moves on to its new home; its creator is John Burke, who has well known sculptures around the country.
And finally, in anticipation of a trip to beautiful Donegal next weekend, a 19-second vacation; try this one with headphones if you can.


  1. Lovely multimedia inserts! And how about a weekly mini geology lesson? I'll be keeping my eyes open for boulder clay from now on... Only I don't know if they have any in Den Haag...?

  2. Thanks Aido! Lots of glacial stuff in Holland alright, as far as I know...