Wednesday 30 April 2014

Ephemera rules ok!

Destined for the skip, these 1970's Nature Conservancy leaflets just had to be saved. Designed and illustrated by Syd Lewis.

Hedges & Shelterbelts - 1973

Tree Planting & Wildlife Conservation - 1974

Ponds & Ditches - 1973

Friday 25 April 2014

Buried Treasure Part 8

In it for the honey - Clifford Harper
One of Saturday's pleasures is to find the splendid illustrations by Clifford Harper in The Guardian. I can't think of a single one that I haven't taken a liking to.

Core values - Clifford Harper
Imagine my joy when these clippings turned up. My father, who sadly recently passed away, formed part of quite a few of The Guardian's Country Diary column when his pal Colin Luckhurst (one of the longest serving Guardian contributors until his sad death in 2009) penned them. And, as ever, beautifully illustrated by Clifford.

The herds and the bees - Clifford Harper
As with most buried treasure it can be so easily lost and never be found again. These have to be my most favoured and welcome buried treasure items yet. I think they wanted to be found. 

May 22 1998 - The Guardian

September 10 1999 - The Guardian
April 6 2001 - The Guardian

September 7 2001 - The Guardian

January 11 2002 - The Guardian

31 May 2002 - The Guardian

Monday 21 April 2014

Hello blossom!

I have decided blossom time is my favourite time of the year - I have probably always thought so, but it has certainly been reinforced over these last few days.

Blossom Time - Walter E Spradbery 1936 (Curwen Press)

It all started early here in West Dorset - our plum came first about three weeks ago and then disappeared quickly. The days were unlike any other this year - warm with lovely blue skies which replaced the leaden skies we have been so used to. The Bluebirds arrived and with them the blossom and trundled on at its very own delightful pace. Next to follow were our Sunset espaliers and they are still in full flower as I write. The family orchard up country in Gloucestershire is totally different.....a good three weeks behind us down here (and no sign of Bluebirds yet). 

Ashmead's Kernel

Up there, the pear was first, then plum (both still only just in blossom) and the apples are just on the cusp of showing (about 20+ varieties of which I know only a few). Another few days until full blossom I think, but the temperature dropped like a stone yesterday and cold winds from the east must have slowed things down. The cherry blossom covered the grass like snow. I had to wrap up warm to take my seat in the orchard to watch and listen to the birds at dawn and dusk - different again to down here where our garden is dominated by the small birds and up there by Blackbird and Thrush. I remember Bullfinches when I was a child, but I haven't seen them there for years.

Early spring plum

The chorus is different up there too, as it is everywhere I guess, but very noticeable this year - mainly due I think to me getting back in tune with the birds around my own home again. After living slap bang in town it was hard to hear what was about, but now I notice it here on the edge of town. Our avian visitors are many, varied and frequent. It also helps that there are no cats in the neighbourhood! 

Blenheim Orange

Blossom time fascinates me - each tree hands over the baton to the next. This slow motion window of spring is a miracle to behold. Catch it while you can.

Friday 18 April 2014

Happy Easter!

It's no good - my belt is already in uncharted waters and then The Captain, with help from the nippers with icing, produces this little lot to get us through the next few days. I'll just have to do my bit like a good trencherman and get stuck in. Pass the butter please. Happy Easter!  

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Spring and the river

Spring and the River - Barnett Freedman 1941

Spring and the River - Barnett Freedman 1941

Spring and the River - Barnett Freedman 1941

Monday 14 April 2014

What are you looking at?

This Dunnock continually visited my wing mirror over the last few days.......I'm sure he / she was on the look out for a mate and thought "hang about, I'm in here". All is now well, we all make mistakes - a nest is being constructed in the hedge as I write.

Friday 11 April 2014

Friday Face

Hells bells! I wouldn't want to meet this fella on a dark night. I found him on the beach gawping at me...............he's now in the house gawping at me. Help!

Thursday 10 April 2014

Market Finds No 10

Can you spot what's missing? For sale at the price of less than two pints of bitter I couldn't leave it - it's a corker. Saltwater proof too!

Have you spotted it yet? Quite right, anyone got a spare handle? There must be someone out there with a handle and no reel just waiting for a bloke with a reel and no handle. It's an ABU Cardinal 77 by the way.

Monday 7 April 2014

I saw a bluebird flying.....

Here's the mighty fine Sagittarius with the classic My World Fell Down - this is to celebrate the coming of the first Swallows which have started to arrive here over the last week. What a superb sight, they bring such hope and happiness - the acrobatics over the River Asker each evening as they gorge on the fly hatch has been a joy to behold!