Sunday, 21 June 2015

Summer Solstice musings

Today is the longest day of the year, the height of summer light and sunshine.  I've already heard the jokes about how we are now heading towards winter, but it isn't quite like that yet.  The roses are at their most luscious and fecund.  I've brought several into the house today, the red roses are just stunning at the moment.

I'm not even sure the pictures show how deep and velvety the red is.  Sadly you will have to take my word for it!

The raspberries are starting to ripen and we have redcurrants and gooseberries starting to ripen too.  The last of the frankly disappointing rhubarb is just coming up.   All of this is made possible by the bees that buzz around our garden.  We usually see a large range of bumble bees and the odd honey bee.   However last Sunday we saw this outside the back door

A swarm of bees!  I'm reliably informed that bees swarm when they are looking for a new home.  I don't know where these came from although they are centred in next doors garden.  The garden next door is not cultivated at all and the people who live there rarely go outside so the bees have been using it for a home or whilst resting.  I'm not entirely sure they've gone as even though they seemed to buzz off, we've seen them again since.

After many weeks of barely being in the garden and feeling somewhat distanced from all that is happening, it was lovely to briefly gather some flowers today.  Everything is lush and twice the size it was the last time I looked...  The insects and the birds carry on regardless.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Dales diary...

I'm afraid this blog has been somewhat quiet again of late.   For several weeks life has simply got in the way.  Last week we went away to the Yorkshire Dales, an utterly beautiful area that I had never seen before. 

Having a week in such a lovely place has done us the world of good.  Even in the pouring rain this is a special place.  The wide open spaces, the mile upon mile of dry stone walls, the thousands of sheep, the rivers and becks and waterfalls are everywhere.

And then, finally when the sun comes out, the effect is quite magical. 

The tops of the hills are windy and slightly bleak.  You can see for miles and you can hear the lapwings and skylarks all round.  Down in the dales and in the meadows, the flowers and the woodland birds take over.

Buttercups, clover, germander speedwell and daisies are everywhere and the swallows dip and swoop over the fields.  In the evenings the swifts are up above the houses in their screaming parties, but the swallows dip low almost to our head height.  Occasionally they even rest...

The artist Turner came to the Dales and painted this lovely place, I like to think he appreciated the wonderful light and gentle wilderness .  He stayed at the King's Arms Hotel in Askrigg and the Green Dragon at Hardraw and drew many of the places nearby, including Mill Gill Fall and Hardraw Force.   It is a special place and one I shall remember for a long time.

"There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” 
Alfred Wainwright