Reydon Wood

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We drove to Reydon Wood on Friday, in search of bluebells.

Wood Lane

We parked at the end of Wood Lane. The walk down the lane is pleasant and we get glimpses of the wood on the other side of the deep ditch on our right.

Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) is in flower everywhere.

The Romans introduced Alexanders into Britain and it is mainly found near the coast especially in the east of the country.  It was used as a medicinal herb and also as a pot herb.  The flowerheads can be steamed like broccoli.

Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea) is another flower that is blooming wherever I go at present.

The Anglo Saxons and Celts believed that a stitch in the side was probably caused by elf-shot and this plant cured it!

Greater Stitchwort

Our first sighting of Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

Cow-parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) is coming into flower very early this year

There they are, on the far side of the ditch!

A beautiful Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna )

Bluebells and Greater Stitchwort

To the left of us as we walked up Wood Lane we could see a field full of bright yellow Oil-seed Rape (Brassica napus) through the hedge.

I believe this is Goldilocks Buttercup ( Ranunculus auricomus)

This is the first time I have taken notice of this buttercup.  I have probably seen it before because I find they are fairly common in woodland, but I’ve never looked at one properly, just assuming it was a Meadow or Creeping Buttercup.  The stem leaves are quite different from the other buttercups I know and I read that the flowers are usually deformed or have some or all of their petals missing.

We arrived at the entrance to the wood

This is the first time I have seen Wood Anemones ( Anemone nemorosa) here.

There were a few primroses (Primula vulgaris ) still flowering.

Common Dog Violet (Viola riviniana )

This is the most common violet we have in this country and it can be found anywhere except on very acidic soils.  The leaves are heart-shaped and the spur (at the back of the flower) is much paler than the petals.  This violet is unscented.

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachiana )

Another unscented violet; the flowers of this plant are paler and smaller than the Common Dog Violet and the spur is usually as dark or even darker than the petals.  The leaves are narrower than those of the Common Dog Violet.  This isn’t a good photo but it is the best out of the three I took!

Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)

This plant could be named after St Robert of Molesme who founded Citeaux Abbey in France and who is said to have staunched wounds and healed ulcers with Herb Robert.  It could also be named after Robert, Duke of Normandy, the son of William the Conqueror and a patron of medical botany.  He used Herb Robert to cure the plague.

The path through the wood.

Barren Strawberry (Potentilla sterilis )

The flower here is past its best so it is not easy to see that the petals have a gap between them and that the sepals are clearly seen.  The leaves (on the right of the photo) are a dull, matt green and divided into three toothed leaflets with the terminal tooth on each leaflet being smaller and shorter than the adjacent teeth.

Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca )

Here is a Wild Strawberry, which I found just a few feet away from the Barren Strawberry and you can see the difference between them.  The petals are close together and mainly hide the sepals.  The leaves are a bright, shiny yellow-green and the terminal tooth is as long as (sometimes longer than) the adjacent teeth.

Here is the pond in the middle of the wood. On the far side are Water Violets (Hottonia palustris )

More Water Violets – I couldn’t get a better photo of them.

Great Diving Beetle (Dytiscus marginalis )

We watched this beetle for a while as it came to the surface to gather air which it stores under its elytra or wing cases.  The beetle’s spiracles (breathing pores) are under the wing cases and allow the air stored there to enter the body.  When the air is used up the beetle returns to the surface for more.  There were many newts in the pond too.

Yellow Pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum )

A large patch of Bugle (Ajuga reptans )

Beautiful new green leaves of Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus )

Hornbeams look a little like Beech trees but the trunks have fluted bark and the leaves are toothed.  Hornbeams are regularly coppiced and Reydon Wood is a coppice wood.

A coppice tree which will probably be harvested in the next few years. The tree is probably many hundred years old.

The area just beyond this barrier has recently been coppiced and the stools (tree stumps) will be sprouting soon. The barrier has been built up using twigs and branches to stop deer from eating the new growth on the coppice stools.

Coppice stools surrounded by Bluebells and with the deer barrier in the background

A strange-looking stool which looks as though it might run off as soon as our backs are turned!

Harvested coppice logs

I believe this fungus is Dryad’s Saddle (Polyporus squamosus )

Early Purple Orchid ( Orchis mascula)

Early Purple Orchid showing its spotted leaves

Three-nerved Sandwort (Moehringia trinervia )

At first I thought this was Common Chickweed but then I noticed the petals are not split and that the sepals are longer than the petals.  The leaves have three to five parallel veins on them.  I didn’t manage to get a close-up shot of the plant.

Herb Robert (pink flowers) and Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea ) (Blue flowers)

Lesser Celandine, Herb Robert, Ground Ivy and Early Purple Orchid

 

 

Yellow Archangel ( Lamiastrum galeobdolon)

There is a cultivated form of this plant (subspecies ‘argentatum’) with silvery patches on the leaves which has escaped into the wild and is quite invasive.

Lesser Celandines and Bluebells

 

Early Purple Orchid and Bluebells

Fern and Bluebells

Bluebells and ferns

Here is a slideshow of the Bluebells we saw.

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The Bluebells were not quite at their peak and as the day was overcast and chilly we didn’t smell their wonderful scent.  We decided it would be a good idea for us to return in a week’s time to see how they had developed.  Unfortunately, we have had very cold weather this week with frosts and wintery showers of hail and sleet.  I hope the Bluebells are not too damaged.  I apologise for the length of this post.

Thanks for visiting!

Easter Day

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Happy Easter everyone!

St. Peter’s church, St. Peter South Elmham

Richard attended Holy Communion this morning at the church of St. Peter in the village of St. Peter South Elmham.  He kindly took this photograph for me on his phone.

I attended Solemn Mass this morning at the church of St. Peter and St. Paul in the town of Eye.  I was unable to take any photos as I was busy helping my mother so this link may give you an idea of where I was.  One day I intend to write a post about the church at Eye.

During Holy Week we did manage to do a few things on top of all the church-going.  We visited Norwich on Tuesday so that Elinor could revisit the exhibition of dolls’ houses currently on display at the Castle Museum.  She decided that this was the exhibition she wanted to review for her college interview this coming Wednesday and she needed to check up on a few details and take some more photos.  While we were in the city we did some Easter shopping and had an extremely pleasant lunch at the Iron House.

On the way home I stopped off in Bungay to get some more shopping and to order some flowers for the church to be collected on Holy Saturday.

On Wednesday I took my mother out shopping in Diss and she gave me a dozen Hot Cross Buns she had made which I put in the freezer when I got home.  Richard and I went to Rumburgh church to tidy it a little before the service that evening.  The building works have nearly finished but the dust is still settling on everything.  The churchyard is full of cowslips!

Rumburgh churchyard

Rumburgh churchyard

We drove back home and then walked to the corner of the lane to admire all the Jacob sheep and their lambs.

Jacob sheep and lambs

Jacob sheep and lambs

Jacob sheep and lambs

Jacob sheep and lambs

Thursday was quite busy.  After the early church service I went into Halesworth to pick up some things I needed and spent some time in town.  We  had organised a team cleaning session at Rumburgh church for 2 pm but only five people managed to attend – Richard the Rector, Pam and Ian (the other Churchwarden and his wife), Richard and I.  We all worked hard for two and a half hours and the church is clean and tidy again with everything back where it should be.  We got rid of a lot of rubbish and moved some furniture about too.

Before going out again that evening I managed to wash two altar cloths and a table cloth from the church.  They dried quickly in the strong, cold breeze that has been blowing all the week.

Church washing

Friday was Hot Cross Bun Day!

One of my mother’s excellent Hot Cross Buns. They are split, toasted and then buttered.

Not only did we have buns at home but the Rector held a tea at his house after the last service of the day.  It was very well attended, much food and drink was consumed and a lot of talking and gossiping was done!

We got a little much needed rain later but unfortunately, just as it started at 5.15 pm we got yet another power-cut which lasted until after 9.30 pm.  A power cable was hit by a branch again!  I had nothing suitable to cook on the gas hob for our evening meal so we went out to Bungay and had a pizza at the Stonehouse.

I went back to Bungay on Saturday morning to collect the flowers I had ordered and to  buy some wrapping paper for presents for my mother whose 87th birthday is tomorrow.  I also had to take a large parcel to the post office.

Today we went to the Fox and Goose in Fressingfield for lunch to celebrate both Easter and Mum’s birthday.  It was a lovely meal, enjoyed by all of us and then Mum came home with us for the afternoon.  The rain that was forecast for today held off until the afternoon so we didn’t get wet.

We have eaten out much more than usual this week, and very nice it has been too!

Thanks very much to you all for visiting my blog!

Holy Week: Holy Saturday

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The church of St. Margaret of Antioch, St. Margaret South Elmham

Richard and I attended the Easter Ceremonies service this evening at the church of St. Margaret of Antioch in the village of St. Margaret South Elmham.

1. Awake, awake: fling off the night!          2. Awake and rise, like men renewed,
For God has sent his glorious light;                men with the Spirit’s power endued.
and we who live in Christ’s new day              The light of life in us must glow,
must works of darkness put away.                and fruits of truth and goodness show.

3. Let in the light; all sin expose               4. Awake, and rise up from the dead,
to Christ, whose life no darkness knows.       and Christ his light on you will shed.
Before his cross for guidance kneel;              Its power will wrong desires destroy,
his light will judge and, judging, heal.           and your whole nature fill with joy.

5. Then sing for joy, and use each day;
give thanks for everything alway.
Lift up your hearts; with one accord
praise God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

J R Peacey

The church of St. Margaret of Antioch

 

 

Holy Week: Good Friday

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St. James’ church, St. James South Elmham

Richard and I attended the Stations of the Cross service at 10 o’clock this morning at St. James’ church in the village of St. James South Elmham.

“He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account”

Isaiah 53 v 3

St. James’ church

St. Michael and All Angels’ church, St. Michael South Elmham

I attended a Devotional Hour service at midday today at St. Michael and All Angels’ church in the village of St. Michael South Elmham.

“Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Isaiah 53 vv 4-6

St. Michael and All Angels’ church

St. Lawrence’ church, Ilketshall Saint Lawrence

Richard and I attended the Evening Prayer service at 2 o’clock this afternoon at St. Lawrence church in the village of Ilketshall St. Lawrence.

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that is before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
Who could have imagined his future?
For he was cut off from the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people.
They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich,
although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.”

Isaiah 53 vv 7-9

St. Lawrence’ church

 

Holy Week: Maundy Thursday

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St. Margaret’s church, Ilketshall St. Margaret

Richard and I attended Matins this morning at St. Margaret’s church in the village of Ilketshall St. Margaret.

1. Hark, my soul! it is the Lord;         2. “I deliver’d thee when bound,
‘Tis thy Saviour, hear his word;            And when bleeding, heal’d thy wound;
Jesus speaks, and speaks to thee,       Sought thee wandering, set thee right,
“Say, poor sinner, lovest thou me?      Turn’d thy darkness into light.

3. “Can a woman’s tender care          4. “Mine is an unchanging love,
Cease toward the child she bare?        Higher than the heights above,
Yes, she may forgetful be,                   Deeper than the depths beneath,
Yet will I remember thee.                    Free and faithful, strong as death.

5. “Thou shalt see my glory soon,      6. Lord, it is my chief complaint,
When the work of grace is done;        That my love is weak and faint;
Partner of my throne shalt be; –        Yet I love thee and adore, —
Say, poor sinner, lovest thou me?”     Oh for grace to love thee more!

William Cowper

St. Margaret’s church

St. John’s church, Ilketshall St. John

Richard and I attended Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper and then a vigil this evening at St. John’s church in the village of Ilketshall St. John.

           Challenge

On that night, there were
Two bowls of water.

The first was taken
And used for washing feet,
Symbol, he said, of love.

The second was called for
And used for washing hands,
Disclaiming responsibility.

The bowls are constantly before us:
Into which will we dip our hands?

Ann Lewin

St. John’s church, Ilketshall St. John

Holy Week: Wednesday

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St. Michael and St. Felix, Rumburgh

Richard and I attended Compline this evening at our own church of St. Michael and St. Felix at Rumburgh.

“O Lord, God of my salvation,
when, at night, I cry out in your presence,
let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry.”

Psalm 88 vv 1-2

Holy Week: Tuesday

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St. George’s church, St. Cross South Elmham

Richard and I attended Compline this evening at St. George’s church in the village of St Cross South Elmham.

“Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.”

Psalm 55 v 22

Holy Week: Monday

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St. Mary’s church, Flixton

Richard and I attended Compline this evening at St. Mary’s church in Flixton.

“ Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.”

Psalm 25 vv 4-5

Doris Remembered

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I arranged to visit Alice in Sheffield on Thursday 23rd February, spend the night in a hotel and return home again the following day.  What I hadn’t expected when I bought the train tickets and booked the hotel room was a visit from ‘Doris’ that day too.  For those who don’t know who ‘Doris’ is (or who might have forgotten), ‘Doris’ was a storm that caused some disruption here.  Fortunately, my journey went ahead with no problems other than a speed restriction.  Alice met me at the station and we decided to have lunch together before I went to my hotel.  We nearly got blown off our feet on the way to the café, the door of which kept blowing open while we ate, but we weren’t inconvenienced too much by this.  I spent a lovely afternoon with Alice either chatting in my hotel room, drinking tea in another coffee shop or buying books.

While I was enjoying myself, Richard and Elinor were having quite an unpleasant time at home.  The power went off at about 2 pm and in the garden a few of our belongings started flying through the air despite Richard having tried to make them safe before the storm began.

I wonder if any of you remember how pleased we were when we got our new summerhouse last year?  Here is a photo of it.

Our summerhouse when it was new last February.

The summerhouse after the storm this February.

The wind ripped the roof off and the rest of the building just broke apart.  A number of trees in the area were blown over and roads were blocked.  When I got back to Norwich the following afternoon Richard was a little delayed when collecting me from the station by having to make detours to avoid blocked roads.  The power was still off when I got home and the house was cold.  Richard and Elinor had coped very well using the gas hob to cook meals and heat water for hot drinks and washing up.  They had sat together the evening before in front of the gas fire listening to the battery-powered radio by candlelight.  We often get power-cuts living where we do, though not as many as we used to do before the power company changed the cables and started regular cutting-back of tree branches that are too close to the cables.  Having said that, we have had six power-cuts of at least an hour this year already.  We keep a supply of candles and lamps ready and have torches in all the bedrooms and in the kitchen, utility room and garage.  We have a portable gas heater as well as the gas fire and gas hob.  We can also use the caravan which has a large battery and a gas supply.

Fortunately, the power came back on later that day.  I was very grateful for it as we were expecting my cousin Beverley and her partner Jeremy to visit the following day for an evening meal.  I didn’t have the time to prepare all the things I had hoped to, but at least the house was warm and the evening was great fun!

We have been able to claim for a new summerhouse on our insurance and our replacement arrived on Monday of this week.  We got an identical summerhouse which had to be put where the old one was which is a little worrying, knowing how quickly it succumbed to the storm-force winds.  Richard will bolt it to the concrete base and try to make it somewhat sturdier.  We will see what we can do.  We lost our old incinerator during the storm and wondered how far it had travelled, but once Richard had taken photos of the wreck and started to clear up the glass and the panels he found it squashed as flat as a pancake underneath one of the sections.  I am grateful neither Richard nor Elinor got squashed under it!

Here is our new summerhouse. Spot the difference!

Our new internal doors were due to be fitted that week in February but the storm put paid to that, and, because of storm damage the carpenter had to deal with, we didn’t get the doors until nearly a fortnight later.  We are very pleased with them.  They look good, they are more sound-proof than the old ones and the doors downstairs are now glazed and let much needed light into the hall.  The sliding door to the en-suite WC has been replaced with a better one and the sliding door to the downstairs shower-room has been replaced with an ordinary door which is so much nicer.  We will now employ a painter and decorator to decorate the hall, stairs and landing and to paint all twelve doors (we replaced the airing cupboard door too).

ooOOoo

Richard and I have attended a Lay-led Worship Training Course at a church in Beccles.  To enable us to keep our churches open, the way forward is for us, the members of the church to take the services ourselves if there is no priest to lead us.   This will be very useful to us when our Rector retires in the summer.  The four-part course was interesting and well-attended and it gave us the opportunity to meet people from other churches in the Deanery.  Our Deanery is made up of a number of benefices from Halesworth, Bungay, Beccles, Southwold and the villages in-between.

ooOOoo

We have carried on with the usual round of duties and chores; hospital visits, blood tests, appointments with opticians, hairdressers, acupuncturists and chiropractors; housework, gardening, shopping.  We have all had bad colds.  I continue to take my mother to church once a fortnight and join Richard at church in our benefice when I can.

Richard went to visit his brother Chris in Manchester for a few days recently and had a very pleasant time.  On his return we took part in two quizzes.  Last year we had been in a team that had won the quiz held in the village of Walpole.  Part of the ‘prize’ was the honour of composing and presenting the following year’s quiz and Richard offered to take it on.  The time for the quiz duly arrived and he did a fantastic job as Quizmaster (I was his assistant) and he was presented with a bottle of wine as a thank-you gift.  The following night we were at the village of St James taking part in the quiz to raise funds for the Harleston Choral Society.  A meal was included in the fees – very good it was, too – and the questions appealed to me more than usual as there were more music ones and fewer sport! Our team managed to win again.

ooOOoo

We celebrated Mothering Sunday on the 26th of March and it was our church at Rumburgh’s turn to hold the service.  I helped make a few posies to present to the mothers or for people to give to their mothers or take to graves.  Though we have no flowers in church during Lent I was asked to provide some flowers to put in the porch.

The flowers in the porch.  Looking at this little work of art, you may be surprised to know I am not a flower-arranger 😉  The flowers are lovely in spite of my ministrations. As you can see, the porch is in urgent need of work. If nothing is done soon, the porch will collapse and we won’t be able to use the church.

The church was a little disorganised because we are having a tower screen fitted at the moment and there was dust everywhere.  We have been saving for years for this improvement!  We put everyone as near the front of the church as possible (well away from the building works) sitting in the choir stalls, which was very pleasant.  Richard our Rector chose lots of good hymns and his sermon was amusing and instructive.  I brought my mother to our church for a change and took her back home afterwards.  I couldn’t ask her to lunch because I had no time to prepare a midday meal but she came for an evening meal instead.

This is the new tower screen. You can see the framework for the glass which has yet to be put in. There will be a glazed door at the bottom of the screen.

We will now be able to see and watch the bell-ringers as they ring before our services.

ooOOoo

I will end this rather wordy post with some photos of the flowers in our garden starting with my favourite iris reticulata that bloomed for too short a time in February.

My music selection is ‘Handle With Care’ by the Traveling Wilburys.

Thanks for visiting!

Slightly Newer News!

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p1010687sunday-morning-snow

We had a dusting of snow five weeks ago

This is the view from our spare bedroom window.  We had had a few days of snow showers but nothing had settled until we woke on the Sunday morning to this.  Up until a few years ago we got snow every winter, sometimes a lot of snow; but not now.

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Homersfield church is dedicated to St Mary

Richard and I went to church together that Sunday.

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Here he is, looking very Russian!

Homersfield church is beautifully situated on a bluff above the River Waveney with its water meadows and marshes.  My favourite approach to it is up a track through woodland.

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The churchyard. Beyond the trees the land drops away steeply.

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Homersfield churchyard looking towards the woodland where we park our car.

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The woodland with snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis)

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Snowdrops

The snow had all gone by the end of the day and the beginning of the following week was mild and sunny.

Richard and I went out for a short walk down the lane.  He can’t walk too far as yet so we weren’t able to do our usual circuit route but it was good to be out together.

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We have been listening to bird-scaring cannons going off at intervals every day, from dawn til dusk since the middle of autumn. Wood pigeons do considerable damage to leafy crops such as oil-seed rape.

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Bare trees and a see-through hedge

Further up the lane was the sheltered bank of a ditch on which I found a number of tiny plants.  They had begun flowering in the milder weather we had had that week.

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Primrose (Primula vulgaris) plants

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Primrose.  This is a ‘thrum-eyed’ primrose flower.  If you look at the centre of the flower you see its long stamens, the short stigma is hidden below.  A ‘pin-eyed’ primrose has a long stigma visible and its short stamens are concealed.  I will see if I can find a ‘pin-eye’ flower so you can compare the two.

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Germander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys)

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Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.)

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Red Dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum)

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An oak tree in a hedgerow. A dead branch has broken and is dangling from the tree.  You cannot see it in this photo but a single track road runs this side of the hedge.

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The signpost at the end of the lane

We stood for a while and looked across the fields; we tried to walk a little further towards the village of St James but Richard soon knew he would be too tired if he went any further.  We turned for home.

For many months of the year our lane is covered with a thick layer of mud.  Our cars are perpetually filthy and walking is a messy business!

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) on our pond.

I know it is spring once I start to see pairs of Mallards on our pond! We have also been visited by our Graylag geese friends and yet again we realise we have failed to clear the the willow and bramble scrub off the island they like to nest on.

I was pleased that my Cymbidium orchids flowered from Christmas until just a week ago.

They had produced seven spikes of flowers altogether, which is the best ever!

Here is a slideshow of the flowers in bloom in my garden during February.

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My music choice is ‘Laudate Dominum’ by Mozart and sung by Emma Kirkby.  I have been fortunate to have heard Emma Kirkby sing on two occasions, in recitals held at the church in my mother’s village.

Thanks for visiting!