07 July 2013

Gateway to summer

Early morning, mist and an almost rain. A soft day. Crows lining the wires, hunched and implacable, without any of the nervous jitteriness that the swallows will show later in the year when they line up on the same wire, alighting and flitting and circling and swooping, preparing for the long flights ahead. But none of that now: it's high summer. The swallows whirr across fields and shorn meadows, enjoying mid-summer bounty.

Early morning. Izzy and I head off down the road near D's house in the middle of the countryside; or actually in the middle of the country: only a very short distance as the crow flies (when it flaps untidily up off the wire) is the Cat Stone, on the Hill of Uisneach, where the first of the Bealtaine fires used to be lit, and the place deemed to be the centre of the country, where all four provinces came together.

But none of that now on a mist-laden morning, warm, but Met √Čireann's promise of sun not showing yet. The local roadways, grass running up the centre, are quiet, no-one up and about at this hour, old gates half-open, wildflowers blooming in the verges and on the limestone walls: ox-eye daisies, vetches, trefoils, orchids, meadow-sweet, honeysuckle, and--always--a myriad grasses, panicles this morning glinting with mist, though not for long as the sun warms the air.

Early crows

Worth investigation?

Common Spotted Orchid, Dactylorhiza fuchsii subsp. fuchsii

Ox eye daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare

Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil, Lotus pedunculatus
Later, the sun does indeed come out and we head out across the countryside, visiting old churchyards and ending up in Tullynally Castle, where after a restorative coffee, we walk some of the 12-acre gardens, admire the parkland, the trees and the ornamental lakes from the castle terrace (and I have a Jane Austen moment, as one does when confronted by such things). We vow to return.

Church gate

"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure in the most perfect refreshment"
Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
(thanks LB)

Kissing gate, Tullynally
Thanks to D and B for such a lovely time. And thanks to the motor-gods for a car that actually started and got us home again.

At home, the sunshine has encouraged sunbathers to bask wetly and froggily on the edge of the tiny pond. Nearby the angel's fishing rods gently sway and nod and provide me with blooms to test my coloured pencils on  - will magenta and manganese violet (and a little white to blend) come close? What's the difference in the texture on cartridge paper or bristol board? Can I even draw the thing!?

Bring on the sunshine

Angel's fishing rods (Dierama pulcherrimum) and friends

Sketches of one flower of an angel's fishing rod, on cartridge paper (above) and bristol board.
Coloured pencils. 
Have a good week all.

1 comment:

  1. Your descriptions are always so vivid that I feel that I am with you on your journeys. Great photos too... love the low-down shot of the orchids especially. Good to see you still drawing- that's not an easy subject but you did a fab job. Well done! Hope to see you soon! Shevaun