Holiday Snaps

Thistles

Thistles

When we go on a holiday outing we invariably take a photo, or two, or perhaps even more. As a general rule, these fall into three categories.
First, easiest to identify and deal with are all those blurred smudges that could be Aunt and Uncle, or the people who were sitting behind us who we didn’t actually speak to because, well, they were a bit loud, weren’t they?
Second, there are the pictures that came out in focus. They do look a little posed, and that’s because they were. They also remind the photographer, at least, of the arguments and bargaining that ensued before vanities could be coddled and indignities soothed and the photo could be taken – and very nice it turned out, too.
Third, there are those informal shots taken when the subject was unaware they were the subject. These often remain secret and confidential, the guilty pleasure of the picture taker. They reveal the family in the raw. The way things really are. Not that we are ashamed of the disarray that is our family modus operandi, there’s boundless love in the little antagonisms and competitive rivalry that is the collective normality of our parents, children and siblings.
Today’s picture is a family photograph from this third group.

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Hairy Giant

Great Hairy Willowherb

Great Hairy Willowherb

This weeks picture is of a Great Hairy Willowherb. I know, he doesn’t look that scary at all, does he?

He’s standing down by the railway crossing; he’s found the ideal place. A clear view both up and down the line and reasonable view up the road as it climbs the hill on the one side, with a half decent view the other way – up to the T junction, and a considerable distance left and right as well.

He’s quite interested in trains and we spoke for a while of the little old diesel passenger trains that are the backbone of our links between the east and west coasts – and the amazing state of the art track laying combination that we’ve had trundling backwards and forwards for these past few months.

He’d noticed more of the big trucks hauling cement and gravel coming down the hill and over the crossing in recent months, and I was able to give him an update on the new houses being built down the other end of the village. He said he’d wondered if it was something like that. We parted on good terms and he asked me to give his regards to the Rose Bay Willowherbs next time I was round their way. Must remember to do that.

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The Crocalog

The Crocalog

The Crocalog

 

The Crocalog, a fearsome beast.
He lies in wait, he thinks, at least
He’s lying down – of that he’s sure
He’s just not sure what he waits for.

He might be waiting for a train,
A seaside visit in the rain.
A journey to a distant place
To see a game or watch a race

He wondered once – when all things came
To who waits – if they’d be the same
as he had now. Oh, what a bore.
Would they be worth waiting for?

He might wait to be asked to dance
He’s sure he would – given a chance
This, however,  we firmly state
The Crocalog, he lies in wait.

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Summer Breeze

Summer breeze
Through dappled sunlit canopy.
Winter freeze
Through bare twig panoply.
Nature knows
Time just requires persistence.
River flows
The path of least resistance.

Quiet mind
Seek water’s strong but gentle way.
You will find
Life takes you where it may.
Spirit brave
Tomorrows hold no dread.
Time’s free slave
A page unwrit ‘til it is read.

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Worried

Mimulus

Mimulus

Mimulus – Edward Bach’s flower for those who fear real things – that haven’t actually happened yet.

She found, what seemed at first, to be the ideal spot, now she’s not so sure. She is firmly ensconced on the right bank of the beck on the downstream side of the bridge – a quiet, sunny spot away from the hustle and bustle. The sort of place one could grow and bloom without being over-looked by nosy neighbours.
It seemed to have everything going for it, peace and quiet, security, all you could ask for. The problem is, well, first there are the cows. So inquisitive. Always poking their noses over the fence and rooting around in the riverside vegetation, she’s convinced that one of them is going to knock that fence down, the way they push and shove each other. They have a huge field, for goodness sake, why can’t they mind their own business instead of trampling over everything.
Then there’s the bridge. From where she’s sitting it’s just a black hole, she can’t see through to the other side. Anything could come down the river, ducks, people, floods, even a tsunami. The news is full of it, and the pictures on Facebook – it’s enough to give you nightmares!

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Xanadu

The Secret River

The Secret River

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
   Down to a sunless sea.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote this in 1797 – he didn’t think much of it. He only published it in 1816 at the urging of his friends. It was unenthusiastically received by the poetry reading public – they didn’t think much of it, either.
He wasn’t a well man, and in those far off days, medications were few and far between. As part of his writing process, he often took long country walks. On this occassion, he had taken two grains of opium – the recommended pain medication of the period. Passing an old farmhouse he lay down to wait for the drugs to take effect – and fell asleep.
When he awoke his head was full of strange images, intrigued he took out paper and pencil and wrote as the pictures came to him.
Halfway through, someone came and interrupted him. He dealt with that, and then tried to go back to the dream. But the spell was broken.
Read the whole poem, the strange images it conjures up make you realise just how irritated he must have been with the person who broke his train of thought.
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Boys Will Be Boys

Cows

Cows

‘There he is, again.’
‘Are you sure that’s the same one? He looks just like the other one to me.’
‘No, that’s the one with the black thing in his forelegs. Look, see!’
‘Oh yes, so he has. What’s that, then?’
‘Who knows. The important thing is, he walks on down the road and around the corner, so he’ll know.’
‘Hmm. But are you sure they’re around the corner?’
‘We don’t know what’s around the corner – but he does. We just need to ask him if he’s seen them.’
‘What would you say?’
‘Just go and stand and chat to him for a bit and bring it up casually in the conversation.’
‘No. You do it. I’m not much good at idle chat.’
‘Ask him if he’s enjoying the nice weather we’ve been having.’
‘What if he says he hasn’t?’
‘Oh come on, it’s been glorious, how can he possibly say that? Well, tell him that the best grass is down near the beck, then.’
‘What’s the point of that? I doubt if he cares, he never comes in the field.’
‘Yes but you could ask him what the grass was like in the field around the corner – and then you could ask him.’
‘Ask him yourself if you’re so good at this.’
‘Quick, quick. Aah, look. Now he’s gone. we’ve missed our chance. Why didn’t you just do it?’
‘Why didn’t you just do it?’
‘We’re never going to find out if there are any girls in the other field, now are we?’

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