Woodland Walk

Rounding off this week’s May walks, saunter across Tuckton Bridge to the Christchuch side of the River Stour.

Where are you now and who is watching you?

Perhaps you won’t get lost if you follow the path…

…and don’t annoy The Green Man

You have reached your destination.

Gather here for the monthly Win on Waste; to the delight of green thinkers or anyone on the obsessive spectrum you can save all sorts of household items unwanted in your council recycling bins. From stamps to old toothbrushes. At a glance the most popular donations seem to be medicine blister packs and bras. The various items are donated to charities, community groups and artists. Exactly how they use them I am not sure, but ‘follow the milk bottle top’ could be a topic for a blog…

Do you have local community collections?

Round and Round and Upside Down

Which door will you go through to find what is real?

Take a walk…

…round and round

and upside down.

Where will you end up?

All pictures in this week’s blogs guaranteed taken this week and within walking distance of my house. For stories set in or inspired by my local area try one of my short story collections.

Florasaurus

Spring is here and gardeners rejoice. Even non gardeners who can only recognise daffodils enjoy the splashes of colour popping up. But few gardeners are up to date with the important terms connected to many blooms, so here is a handy guide.

Daffodillydallying When you linger in graveyards on a sunny spring day, tiptoeing among the swathes of daffodils to read interesting gravestones.

Primulary A garden, or more accurately the totally neglected piece of ground around your home, that you attempt to improve in a panicky couple of hours when you hear your garden fanatic parents are coming on a visit. You buy a dozen ubiquitous primula and stick them in the ground. Alas, your relatives will not be deceived into thinking you have lovingly tended your garden all year.

Cyclamental An obsessive condition where the sufferer is unable to go in the greengrocers or a DIY superstore without buying several pots of cyclamen.

Heliboring is a situation viewers of Gardeners’ World may be familiar with or perhaps you have family or friends in this situation. Among the viewers’ gardens and places of interest visited each week by Gardener’s World will be an avid horticulturist who has the national collection of Aquilegia ( see Aquilegiance below ) or Hellebore. This gardener has no interest in any other kind of flower, or any interest in anything else. They do not go on holiday or even out for the day as they must patrol their acres of 3,000 varieties of gladioli or delphinium, pollinating and preening.

Aquilegiance Loyalty to one species of plant, even though you will never attain the rarefied position of owning the national collection. Gardeners with such loyalty spend their weekends and holidays visiting famous gardens and searching for their special favourites. Their Instagram account features exclusively pictures of their favourite blooms.

Campanulaship That happy state when you feel the need for no other company than your campanula. These jolly bell shaped varieties inspired Liszt to write La Campanella, though he may have borrowed a few notes from Paganini, who probably also preferred the company of flowers and who doesn’t?

La Campanella – Adam Gyorgy (2007) – YouTube

Florasaurus is the official guide to floral terms and derivatives.

Silly Saturday – May Mayhem

Happy May Day
The day when anything can happen.

Or maybe you will just go shopping.

Or eat out…. which for most of us means eat outside…

Cross a few bridges and see where you end up…
At the end of the line?
Or down a deep hole?
May Day bank holiday is sure to bring sunny weather.
holiday resorts will be expecting large numbers of day trippers or maybe Large Daytrippers.
So however you get there take care on your journey.
This is Frightened Freddy – don’t be like Frightened Freddy – take care on the road.

Silly Saturday – Spaquinox

Today is the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere. Not much is understood about the equinox, but it is generally thought to be yellow. Not much happens as the weathermenpeople have already told us spring started on 1st March. Some countries have already put their clocks forward in a mysterious ceremony that no one understands and other countries are doing this next weekend, while yet other countries don’t touch their clocks at all in case the world stops spinning.

In the southern hemisphere it is the autumn equinox which is not understood either, but is believed to be grey.

At the equator they don’t have equinoxes, every day is always the same, usually blue and nothing at all happens.

But all this is set to change. In the interests of equality, equinoxes will no longer have to identify as either spring or autumn and will both be called Spaquinox.

The View From Here

Week Four has started, week four if you happen to live in the UK and hadn’t already started self isolating because you had symptoms or that dreaded term ‘underlying medical conditions’. I’m sure those with medical conditions wish they were underlying rather than a feature of their lives that cannot be ignored.
But whether you are fit and well, or one of those ‘vulnerable’ ( another overused word ) folk who received a letter from the NHS telling you to stay indoors for twelve weeks, your experiences will differ and prove again that life is not fair.
Different countries have evolved various sets of rules and ways of enforcing them. Here in the UK a lot has changed in the past three weeks; while the number of deaths has increased, we are no longer just hearing numbers but hearing the stories of those who have died. Many people have recovered, but any of us could lose family and friends. Most of us probably now think we should have started this sooner; letting the virus run its course and building herd immunity now seems a ridiculous idea.

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It doesn’t feel right that most of us have to stay at home doing nothing, while medical and essential workers hardly see their homes, but we have to keep as many people as possible out of hospital. So the routine for most of us is leave home only for vital shopping, to help our vulnerable neighbours and for daily exercise. For those of us with a vulnerable person to care for at home we have to accept we should not go near shops.

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My view from my home is good; the house across the road is on a corner plot and has a lovely garden with cherry trees in blossom; just to see people and dogs in a garden is a welcome sight in a deserted road. In our back garden the new peaceful atmosphere is highlighted by blackbirds and our robin singing their hearts out. The next door neighbours have been bringing shopping and as they are working from home and the children being home schooled it is much livelier than usual on weekdays and we have chatted more – at a safe distance or texting. The children have started writing stories, inspired by me giving their parents a paperback copy of one of my books; they also write notes on paper aeroplanes to fly over the fence, all good activities for home schooling.

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Our road is not completely quiet; families go past on their daily exercise, Mum jogging while Dad and children pedal furiously to keep up. Couples who never considered ‘going for a walk’ now have a new routine.
For writers, bloggers, gardeners and retired people who have plenty of hobbies and are used to being at home, so far so good. But what of those in cramped flats with children, nearby parks closed, or people living alone in one room who need the space and company that come with being out and about working and spending time with friends.

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If we have had a chance in the past to choose where we live, how could we have foreseen that downsizing to a ‘convenient flat’ or being adventurous and buying a run down stone cottage on a remote mountainside, might be a mistake?
How is the view from where you are?

Penny the Poet

sunshine-blogger

Today I have a new guest blogger, Penny the Poet

Penny is one of my local writer friends and we have both been going to the same writers’ group forever. Penny amuses, entertains and makes us think. She can say in a few words what most of us take thousands of words to say. ‘The Lesson’ reminds me of a folk ballad.

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   THE LESSON

I must believe that he, my son, was good

He never lied, nor spoke a bawdy word.

He’d sit against a tree in yonder wood

And whistle in response to every bird

That dared to sing its song to one so still

Then fly away up and around the trees,

Able to soar and swoop at its own will

To each and every place where no-one sees

The mating rituals which, when touched by spring

The birds delight in what each union brings.

 

My son was just like all the birds that fly

He’d spread his wings in haste to find a mate

Betrothed, which often he’d deny

Playing with fire until it was too late.

Each maid in spring with rosy cheeks

And breasts that rose and fell, filled him with lust

Succumb she would in days and not in weeks

His true love unaware he was unjust

Till when his elsewhere pleasures reached her ears

He burnt his fingers on her pain and thus her tears.

 

My son now lies beneath the oak

In yonder churchyard bathed in sun.

He begged forgiveness for he broke

His true love’s heart and was undone.

A maid now carries my son’s child.

Her father, spitting feathers killed

With arrow swift my son so wild.

Lustful, carefree and strong willed

He played with fire, his fingers burned.

No longer loved and lesson learned.

 

Penny Cull     2019

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Friday Flash Fiction 330 – Sunny Story

                                Guy and Harriet     

 Guy stood on the terrace, looking down upon the descending jigsaw of red, grey and black roofs that hid the town’s narrow twisting lanes. Then he gazed out towards the white flecked turquoise of the Atlantic Ocean and felt on top of the world. Spring had arrived at last and with it the visitors, business was looking up. Harriet had been right; living at the top of the town suited their family perfectly. A noisy family he thought ruefully, always squabbling and why did they always look so untidy? Guy himself was always immaculately turned out in his trademark grey and freshly laundered white.

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Immediately below him a woman was hanging out washing, a lot of washing, she ran a bed and breakfast. It was a long trek for her guests, down to the smooth beach, especially if they didn’t know the way; they didn’t realise that when they booked up on the internet. Guy chuckled to himself; he could have told them the best way to get around town. He’d lived here all his life and wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else; beaches, grassy headlands, the harbour, art galleries and best of all restaurants and cafes that catered for every taste.

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Harriet’s shrill call interrupted his thoughts. He called back.

‘No of course I’m not going to stand in the sun all day, yes I know I promised to go into town and get some food.’

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He stretched his limbs, felt the sun on his face, sniffed the sea air then stepped forward and launched himself into the air. The first flight of the morning always felt good. He soared high, circled to test the currents then glided gracefully towards the beach, where he spotted his first business of the day, a happy family picnic. Stunned by his sudden appearance, a toddler held his arm outstretched. Guy swooped skilfully, then flapped his wings for a sharp ascent, a whole sandwich in his yellow beak.

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Guy and Garriet is one of the flash fiction tales in Someone Somewhere; stories from 75 to 20,000 plus words, short stories and two novellas.