Thursday, April 19, 2018

A fine day

5.15 am, the time of the dawn chorus and the time Lucy wakes me up, I cannot be cross because I love the birds and the poetic litany of our coastal shores which will be read in the next few minutes on the BBC radio 4.....
  1. From Cape Wrath to Rattray Head including Orkney
  2. Rattray Head to Berwick on Tweed
  3. Berwick on Tweed to Whitby
  4. Whitby to Gibraltar Point
  5. Gibraltar Point to North Foreland
  6. North Foreland to Selsey Bill
  7. Selsey Bill to Lyme Regis
  8. Lyme Regis to Lands End including the Isles of Scilly
  9. Lands End to St Davids Head including the Bristol Channel
  10. St Davids Head to Great Ormes Head, including St Georges Channel
  11. Great Ormes Head to the Mull of Galloway
  12. Isle of Man
  13. Lough Foyle to Carlingford Lough
  14. The Mull of Galloway to Mull of Kintyre including the Firth of Clyde and the North Channel
  15. warning

    Mull of Kintyre to Ardnamurchan Point

    Go to top of page
    Strong wind warning

    06:00 UTC Thu 19th Apr – 05:59 UTC Fri 20th Apr

    • Wind

      South or southeast 4 or 5, increasing 6 at times, becoming variable 3 or 4 for a time.
    • Sea State

      Moderate or rough, becoming slight or moderate except in far northwest.
    • Weather

      Occasional rain at first.
    • Visibility

      Moderate or good, occasionally poor at first.

    06:00 UTC Fri 20th Apr – 05:59 UTC Sat 21st Apr

    • Wind

      South veering southwest, 4 or 5, backing southeast 3 or 4 later.
    • Sea State

      Slight or moderate, occasionally rough at first in far northwest.
    • Weather

      Showers at first.
    • Visibility

      Good, occasionally moderate.
    Issued at 06:00 UTC on Thursday 19th Apr
  16. warning

    The Minch

    Go to top of page
    Strong wind warning

    06:00 UTC Thu 19th Apr – 05:59 UTC Fri 20th Apr

    • Wind

      South or southwest 4 or 5, increasing 6 at times.
    • Sea State

      Slight or moderate.
    • Weather

      Occasional rain at first, showers later.
    • Visibility

      Moderate or good, occasionally poor at first.

    06:00 UTC Fri 20th Apr – 05:59 UTC Sat 21st Apr

    • Wind

      Southwest 4 or 5, increasing 6 at times, backing south 3 or 4 later.
    • Sea State

      Slight or moderate, becoming smooth or slight later.
    • Weather

      Showers at first.
    • Visibility

      Moderate or good.
    Issued at 06:00 UTC on Thursday 19th Apr
  17. warning
  18. warning
  19. The Channel Islands


Shipping map for coastal areas

Strong winds in The Minch, and Mull of Kintyre are the only negatives on the map, the weather forecasters are over the moon with the warm weather we are having for a couple of days.  Our lawns are mown and the tulips are already promising to flower soon.  The shipping forecast is calm, though it is 'pooor' in some areas.  Somehow the forecasters can't get their tongues round the word poor ;)  Also new fact learnt this morning, it isn't Silly Automatic but Scilly Automatic, and they have dropped this weather station anyway!
Warm weather brings such a frisson of excitement in this country that has been been battered by cold winds, snow, heavy rain that we dance for the joy of a warm sunny day, joining the birds in their tributes to the summer ahead.
We have dropped the news about Syria, some are already saying that there was no chemical attack, and it is just another ploy on the part of us Western allies to grab the oil.  Another terrible injustice that is winding its way through the news is the 'Windrush affair'.  60 years these people have been part of our country and yet the stupidity of bureaucracy denies them citizenship.  Personal tragedy is already happening, they lose their jobs, rights to the NHS and live in fear of deportation - what are we becoming?

But something far more innocent and sparked by the weather forecast - The Mull of Kintyre by John McCartney.



Edit; On this day 19th April, the swallows have returned to the church.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tuesday 17th April

I'm having trouble with my internet this morning, our server, Beeline, is disappearing every minute or so and I am left with three (secured) BT servers to use, which we don't pay for.  Still waiting for the warm weather to arrive as well!  So a few photos.....

A sparse flowering currant but I am sure it will grow into a big bush. The smell (blackcurrant cat's pee) always reminds me of childhood! behind the currant is the evergreen ceanothus  and further along the wall is a mock orange shrub.  I need a gardener to dig out a bed along this warm south facing wall.


The churchyard in full daffodil flower, I think Farndale is promenading its wild daffodils as well.


Primroses make an appearance, notice the dreaded murky pink one that has appeared.



Along the road the butterbur flower has made its strange leafless appearance, it travels in a straight line in some places and the pungent smell of garlic and its multiplicity of leaves are to be found along the riverside edge.

'A host of golden daffodils' I never plant daffodils because of Wordsworth.....
The wild daffodil - Narcissus pseudonnarcissus  apparently to Grigson, if you follow the name through the medieval Latin it goes back to the Greek asphodelus, name of that plant which grows across the meadows of the underworld and which belonged to Persephone - the Queen of Hell!

And a less frightening fact,  the Pre-Raphaelite Gerard Manley Hopkins looking at wild daffodils in Lancashire wrote "the bright yellow corolla is seeded with very fine spangles, which gives it a glister and lie on a ribbing which makes it like cloth of gold"

Daffydowndilly is quite a popular local name down south....

Japanese Weaving....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNVPOjhHjDM&feature=youtu.be

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday 15th April.

Gosh I am confused by the news, Theresa May has made the decision to go ahead on the strike on Syria's chemical centres, yet in the proliferation of news some are saying we are looking at old photos of a chemical attack.  We have, and I am talking about the Western world,  become embroiled in a terrible situation probably of our own making, never forget that.  Greed or trade pushes us into territories that we should leave well alone.  Religious conflict is a tribal affair.  If the gods had never been created would the human race be more peaceful?
Outside it is peaceful, I have been looking at some blogs written about this time of the year, blossom at Hyland House, the great trailing plumes of wistaria in May  Trying to find the blog I wrote on Pulmonaria, a plant I bought last week for the garden.....





Along with a Geranium palmatum, and a sage to replace the ones lost over the winter..... Taken from in which I note the replicate  stature of bison which struck me so strongly at the time in the British Museum.

"Once upon a time I had a garden full of the plants, used as weed check they are invaluable for covering bare earth. Anyway nondescript is perhaps the only way to describe it, but a good early flower for bees and the pollinating of fruit trees.  Apparently according to Grigson, there is a local variation in the New Forest Pulmonaria Longifolia found by John Goodyer in the 17th century.  But the official wild lungwort Pulmonaira officinalis is called Jerusalem Cowslip, Spotted Comfrey, Sage of Jerusalem, both by the way go under the common name ofAdam and Eve because of the blue and white nature of the flower. And to quote Grigson....
Often naturalized, making a pond of azure in the woods. (it likes shade)  Since the leaves have white spots, sympathetic magic made it into a medicine 'against the infirmities and ulcers of the lunge'.  Gerard also wrote that the leaves were 'used amongst pot herbes'."

What else of note, only that I make reference to the pulmonaria bee, an insect that comes as part of those threads that link each part of the natural world to each other, and which made me fork out for this book.......


The last in a series of four books, about the 'essence' to be found in everything, some call it 'phenemonology' Alexander doesn't. Or to put it in someone else's words ;)


In other words, there is a way to see how the whole is present throughout its parts, so that, in any one of the parts, the whole can be found, sometimes more clearly, sometimes less. As one finds ways to better understand the parts, so the whole to which they belong becomes better defined; in turn, this progressive clarity of the whole sheds additional light on the parts, which become yet more understandable and say more about the whole.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thursday 12th April



The day opens once more as grey and dismal but I have plants to bed so therefore I will be quiet.
Paul has come back from the parish meeting last night with a sore throat, he reckons because the church was so cold.  We trugged through the minutes and accounts, discussed the eco loo and water fountain.  Sad to say there were very few people there, our retiring church warden, who puts the future of the church in some jeopardy as there was no other warden to stand in his place, took his leave.  His wife will still ring the bells and play the organ but that was it.  The church has friends but not church goers, it is of course slowly dying on its feet.  It needs another direction, and has a new vicar, but he will be running about six of the parish churches in the district.

It has a church fabrics officer, and he read out things to be done in the way of loose tiles and pointing and filling in cracks, but on the whole the building is in good order.  One good thing is they have made a brass plaque for Mary Wood, a long term resident of the village with her brother who lived in Willow Cottage before it was demolished and two modern cottages built on the ground.

Also went to the Ryedale Garden club in the afternoon with friends and listened to a very knowledgeable garden expert on perennials for the garden, she went on for a long time but it was interesting.  They are so friendly at the Appleton-le-Moor village hall and it is a great pleasure going there.  *Note to Pat if she reads... every plant had its Latin name as well.

So all in all a quiet peaceful day in a world that is slowly unwrapping itself to a dangerous situation that has been set in motion.  It almost seems that we have passed the brinkmanship stage.  The charge against Russia and Assad is of course right, but when did meeting violence with violence work I wonder.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Birds



That is a turtle dove, beautiful is it not? Very rare in England, but a PDF from the local GP on a recent talk by an environmentalist Richard Baines, mentioned that we had turtle doves in Ryedale, to be found in Danby and Cropton Forest not far from where we live.
"Turtle Doves are our smallest European dove. Each year these amazing and beautiful birds fly 11,200 km from Africa to nest in the UK arriving approx. mid April. They’ve suffered a dramatic decline in numbers in England and are now rare but in Ryedale and around Ryedale is one of the few areas where they are known to exist. Not before time, organised efforts are now underway to help them survive - through this project."
And yes volunteers have to get up with the morning dawn chorus to record them, apparently they make a soft purring noise.
On F/B this morning an acquaintance had travelled from Oxfordshire to my most favourite place on Earth - Carn Llidl on St.David's Head to see an immigrant that had just dropped in a Snowy Owl from the North.


Snowy female owl
I am not a bird twitcher, but it must have been a magnificent sight.  We went for an early morning walk, that is Lucy and I, and watched our less spectacular barn owl cruise the the field intent on mice or voles.  Wandering back along the road, waving to friend who was still in a dressing gown, I stopped and admired the sheer number of daffodils in the graveyard, will take a photo one day but the following photo of a feather in the garden is absolutely symmetrically beautiful.   Not sure what bird it belongs to, maybe the barn owl.




Friday, April 6, 2018

Friday 6th April

A second beautiful morning, birds singing, we await the swallows, should be here soon.  Seeds sown,  a visit to the nursery centre to get tomato plants planned and the year should begin.
Noticed the  tiny violets have appeared in the church yard..............



The quince and the flowering redcurrant are just about to burst into flower, but the plum trees are stolidly holding on to their blossoms.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Plastics



Yesterday we had a delivery from Sainsbury, this is not something we do often, but when things get scarce such as coffee beans at the Co-op, then we order difficult stuff from Sainsbury.  Because we do not 'do' plastic bags everything gets ceremoniously dumped on the hall floor, not by the driver I hasten to add.  But of course within the stuff you order there is PLASTIC.  That man made material that refuses to breakdown in the environment, pollutes our oceans, starves our fish, birds, whales and turtles because of them ingesting the rubbish that floats around.
The human race is a messy race, they are now worrying about the tons of scrap metal that circles our Earth, we actually don't know what to do with waste except create it.  Well it has to stop sometime! 
In Amsterdam there is a new supermarket called 'Ekoplaza, who are trying out the first aisle free plastic, as you can see from the video at the top.  A brave start, Iceland in our country is also making strides into the plastic free market, though somewhat behind.  Actually the 'green movement' has been trying for years, what happened to bags made out of potatoes?  Harvest the shop in Bath used to sell things from wooden boxes and help yourself herbs though it has moved on since and there have been many shops like it.
The answer comes though from us, the consumer, asking for a change, choosing what we buy.  Okay I can see the first thing popping into people's mind, it will be more expensive, maybe, maybe not.  The Ekoplaza CEO says there will be no change in pricing they will take the hit.
Are we entitled to cheap food? or should we pay a fair and just price, or probably more to the point should we not undermine the  company shareholders who live off the profits ;) ;)  Socialist message for the day..................

Guardian Article

And then there is this, Aril has been round a recycling outfit - Biffa

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Rain and flooding

Well it rained all yesterday, a steady gentle rain, so this morning looking out I noticed cars were going slowly - we had a flooded road.  What happens is simple, the river Seven which curves round the village is high.  This means that that the drainage pipe from the road which  outlets just under the bridge, the flap closes and the water trapped on the road turns into a flood. Although outside our house we are on slightly higher ground.  The village people gets quite excited by it all and it means no one can walk down to the bridge.  Our river which is culverted within 16 foot banks (it can rise that high when the water comes down from the moors) also has levys along its length on both sides of the river - think American Pie ;)

Almost down to the bridge







This is Nigel's smallholding across the road, he already has a leak of water by his house which has turned into a duck pond, and then there is Rachel and John's sheep fields behind us....




Sunday, April 1, 2018

Rain




Smudgy and tinny with time, one of my favourite songs Jon & Vangelis - I'll find my way home.  The time when men had hair;), I have this theory that all the stuff now to be found in water, including The Pill, has had an effect on men's hair!
But this morning I have been reading poetry, Ted Hughes still captures the bleakness of West Yorkshire, especally Hepstonhall but as I once more look out on a rainy day, this will suffice....

You Claw the Door

Rain
Crashes the black taut glass.

Lights in foundering valleys, in the gulf,
Splinter from their sockets.

Lights
Over conversation and telly and dishes
In graves full of eternal silence.

Lights
Of the wolf's wraith
That cannot any longer on all these hill
find her pelt.

While the world rolls in rain
Like a stone inside surf.

I started this train of thought because I was thinking of  Hughes 'The Crow'  had been watching our four 'mafia mercenaries' crows take up their position at the bird table in the front garden.  Large, untidy and with yellow beaks they subdue the doves and jackdaws into submission.  Jack the broken winged jackdaw is still with us, he knows where I throw food out for him and has learnt to shin up the old hawthorn shrub, jumping from branch to branch until he reaches the trees - perhaps one day he will fly.  In the book of these poems it is Fay Godwin's photos that haunt you, dark and eerie they capture the grey ruggedness of Yorkshire, and its people of course.

Staup Mill - Fay Godwin

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Happy Easter

Cuckoos by Andrew Young

When Coltsfoot withers and begins to wear
Long silver locks instead of golden hair,
And fat red catkins from black poplars fall
And on the ground like caterpillars crawl,
And bracken lifts up slender arms and wrists
And stretches them, unfolding sleepy fists,
The cuckoo in a few well-chosen words
Tell they give Easter eggs to the small bird


Easter Blessings to you all, though mine will come from the Celtic tradition and not the symbolic hanging of Jesus.  Tis the time of year that we should be guilty according to the priests.  
Amongst all the frippery of Easter eggs, bunnies and yellow chicks, we should be sad that the natural world declines, the cuckoos slowly fading into extinction as the birds of the meadow do.  The rich harvest of wild flowers no longer exist in the fields - we have tamed the land but at what cost?


“The oaks stand - quite still - so still that the
 lichen loves them...such solace and solitude
 seventy-nine miles thick cannot be painted...it
 is necessary to stay in it like oaks to know it.
 (1884)”

Richard Jeffries captured the sheer beauty of the Wiltshire Downs and wrote his heart out at the beauty all round him I shall return to his books soon although it is a sad recollection of what there once was.
But enjoy this Easter weekend and I leave a picture of another famous flower of late spring - the tulip, exotically coloured because of the 'mosaic virus' but beautiful.


Friday, March 30, 2018

This and that

Catching up with the past.... Yesterday got an email from the Green Party secretary for the area, I had rejoined last year, basically to support them rather than get involved....It was a friendly email welcoming me and saying that there were regular monthly meetings at a pub in Malton.
It brought back a whole host of memories, I had been in at the beginning of the start of this party and watched it develop (not exactly to my liking).  A name flashed through my mind - Derek Wall - I had met him as a youngster at one of my ex-husband's digs.  Wall was extremely intelligent and very forceful and I was to meet this 'force' as he tried to wrangle leadership and his point of view against the other 'softer' greens.  He was an out and out radical, and has written profusely since those days.  He caused the red/green split in the party and it was this sense of war that put me off the G/P.  Typically very socialist to a point that he slipped over to very extreme views, I remember him coming to a meeting with a few of his friends to dominate the voting of what was being expressed and I realised that politics is a dirty game;)  I'm less naive and innocent now!
On all sides of friends, neighbours and bloggers I note the reservations when Corbyn is being proscribed as the next prime minister, and I also have my doubts, but the very heavy far left socialists are more worrying.
Watching this village I am aware that my views are not necessarily of those around me and the strands of bureaucracy that has to weave through elected committees is more of a hindrance than a way forward.  Nothing can be done unless you physically do it.  One member teaches us that when the cleaning of all the road signage was discussed, it was he that went out with bucket and cloth and did it. The debacle over slowing traffic through the village will never be resolved, the police are still promising to come with a camera, a good year since they promised that.  We will probably never get a much needed pavement, so that people can walk safely from a small caravan site to the pub, and also for the children to stand waiting for their schoolbus.  


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Plants once more

Well apparently my new plant is called Eupatorium maculatum Rissenschitum. What a delicious mouthful, then I read up on it and it is a version of 'poke weed' which is not well received by some people in America.  When I found the picture of it......



My first thought it is exactly like Hemp Agrimony, Eupatorium cannabium and of course it is from the same species, a wild plant I used to grow for butterflies. Less flashy I admit but doing the same job and no it has nothing to do with hemp or cannabis, just happens to look alike.


Grigson says 'a plant of no very strong personality or appeal, though mile after mile of roadside will be filled with the raspberry and cream of its flower'.  He has no taste it is a very pretty plant, not seen any in Yorkshire as I have also not seen that  lover of walls  down South the red valerian which decorates the old walls of Weston Park in Bath so beautifully.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Anticipation



Boxing Hares - James Lynch (private collection)
A perfect spring day yesterday as I pottered amongst the weeds.  The following perennials are what I ordered as ground cover.  My friend came round with her wheelbarrow and an enormous plant, a butterfly plant so she told me.  I have planted three buddleia bushes and they are much loved by the butterflies.  Paul nipped over the wall into the graveyard he is raking down a spot for wildflowers in our viewpoint.  When I looked out the window he was talking to the new vicar, who was wandering round with a map looking for a space for a burial coming in the next few days.  
There is something ironically funny about life and death, we had been discussing about our ashes being disposed of over the weekend.  My plan had been to have my ashes scattered at Wheeldale Beck amongst the rocks and trees, and Paul was not sure where he wanted but did not want Lucy's ashes scattered there if she was all alone.  I know, morbid talk but making sensible decisions is useful!
So to the promise of summer and flowers, firstly as I dig am beginning to see worms which were rather rare when we first came.  Some of my roses are blighted by black spot and I spray, not that it seems to make much difference, so I shall use that other weapon of feeding them and making them strong.  The birds are busily nesting, the song thrush is back, the collared doves already have eggs and are fighting off the blackbirds.  Also, my jackdaw is still alive getting round the garden by walking.
The village verges are full of daffodils with little crocuses adding to the colour.  Must admit my ankle is taking a long time to really get better and digging is not easy.
The hares which took my fancy, Easter is on its way, remind me of pulling Lucy out of rabbit burrows yesterday, she just loves a dark hole and hauling her plump form out was not easy.


                                                           Macrrhizum - Album  x 2


perennial geranium Azure Rush



Perennial geranium Joy



Masculatum Beth Chatto



Wlassovianum x wlassovianum


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Video of Duloe Stone Circle



Well as it is a busy weekend with family here, I shall put on Roy's video of Duloe Stone Circle for viewing.  A lovely small quartz circle, which of course Jennie you were asking about the one in your neck of the woods yesterday. And if Roy reads this is that Stuart at the beginning?

Friday, March 23, 2018

Here be dragons and wergs (for Aril)

Nykerpole : here be dragons
Nykerpole is a very obscure well. Indeed, it is now not a well at all, but a mediaeval place-name, recorded first in 1272, indicating a well now lost, at Mildenhall near Marlborough. Nevertheless, I include Nykerpole here because, like Puckwell, the place-name recalls a legendary well-dwelling creature.
Mildenhall (pronounced Mine-all) was Roman Cunetio. Two Roman shaft-wells have been found in the area, one of which contained a Saxon burial, the remains of a female skeleton with a knife, pins, buckles and beads. Black Field is the site of the Roman settlement, and Roman ghosts have been seen here (
Wiltshire 1984, pp. 25-6). Nickamoor Field lies just west of Black Field beside the River Kennet. A placename of the sixteenth century, Nicapooles Croft, may refer to this very field, or to another associated with it. Centuries have passed, and we will probably never know the exact location of Nykerpole, the nicor-pool of Anglo-Saxon times which gave its name to Nicapooles Croft and Nickamoor Field (Gover 1939, p. 499). The nicor was a great water-dwelling monster of the dragonish or sea-serpent type: two nicras are described in Beowulf, the Anglo-Saxon epic poem of the early eighth century. Nowadays the nicor lingers most notably in the Knucker Holes of Sussex, great deep pools of water in whose bottomless depths lurked the Knucker itself (Simpson 1973, pp. 37-42). But it is clear that, centuries ago, Wiltshire too had its Knucker which perhaps, like its Sussex cousins, would come crawling up out of its pool to terrorise the people of the gentle Kennet valley.
Location: Nicamoor Field is at SU 214 694, Sheet 1186. Footpaths run either side of the River Kennet. 

http://people.bath.ac.uk/liskmj/living-spring/sourcearchive/ns6/ns6kmj1.htm

The strangely named hamlet of Werg was a community of nine dwellings on the River Kennet."One of the many pools on the river, as it wove its way through the water meadows was "Nicker Pool", where it is said the water spirits played. When the climatic conditions are right, the whirling wraiths can still be seen, so that the local name had good cause to be established."
Werg of course is a word that can be transformed into many meanings but given that there were only nine dwellings by this stretch of the river near Mildenhall, one of the meanings is outlaw or criminal, and presumably popular medieval myth has taken up the word and transformed a particular happening of the water spiralling around maybe, a bit like cropcircles, and transformed it into water wraiths, probably the spirits of the poor wretches who lived here.

Taken from this blog which goes back to 2008.  Also the river Cunetio (and yes it is a Celtic name Romanised) or Kennet as it is now called has an interesting past.

Friday 23rd March



 Yesterday a Cornish friend sent a couple of videos of wells by Duloe village, which also has a fabulous stone circle. The local Cornish group were holding a pagan moot there.  That part of the ceremony was not filmed for obvious reasons but as Roy explained the history of the well, my mind slipped back to its magic and the people who are happily devoted to the Celtic traditions, and dowsing by the way.  Never forget the world is made up of many things.
Cornish prehistory lies thick on the ground, saints are everywhere to be found, some would argue that it is 18th/19th century antiquarians who have named these places but St.Keyne Well has a lovely little story which you can find here.
Myths, I have been reading Humphrey Carpenter's analysis of the 'Inklings'  a look at Tolkien and Lewis and their friends and work..............

The Inklings were a gathering of friends – all of them British, male, and Christian, most of them teachers at or otherwise affiliated with Oxford University, many of them creative writers and lovers of imaginative literature – who met usually on Thursday evenings in C.S. Lewis’s college rooms in Oxford during the 1930s and 1940s for readings and criticism of their own work, and for general conversation. ..........

Lewis had converted to Christianity, but had problems with the whole concept of religion, he saw faith and belief in gods as a necessity but that the Jesus saga had followed the earlier stories, especially Northern pagan of the dying of the god.  In fact religion was founded on mythological stories carried forward.  Well the 'Inklings' had a very satisfying life of discussion and criticism amongst the hallowed portals of Oxford - being intellectual!


The greenery, ferns and moss of this damp secretive well invites you in, it already has the trappings of worship festooned on its shrubs, I remember them well when we visited in April a couple of years ago and it must have been near Easter.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Thursday 22nd March

Today I did the circular walk around the fields, which are muddy of course.  We followed the barn owl as he/she flew from post to post and the solitary heron flew over head.  Spring is a long time coming in the fields but daffodils shoot up everywhere.  Turning to Stephen Moss's Wild Hares & Hummingbirds I come across these few lines from John Clare's nature poem....

I love to see the old heath's withered brake
Mingle its crimpled leaves with furze and ling
Whilst the old heron from the lonely lake
Starts slow and flaps his melancholy wing, 
And oddling crow in idle motion swing
On the half-rotten ash tree's topmost twig,

Well our solitary heron must have been on this stretch of river for years, they are like a relic from prehistory, with their crooked necks and long legs.  But what of our barn owls, not quite that snowy  pristine white you see in glamorous photos, no its feathers are touched with brown.  Two I saw this morning over the fields, and this one gracefully gliding just ahead.



a very long distance fuzzy photo

It is a heron, rudely interrupted by our presence

the barn owl



And the story of the little hare that sought sanctuary, always good as we get near Easter.

The story of Saint Melangell and her little hare. She was the daughter of King Cufwlch and Ethni of Ireland and she fled to Wales to escape a forced marriage. She settled in Pennant at the head of a valley, and whilst one day sitting in a clearing she heard the sound of a hunt, dogs and horses galloping up the valley. This was Prince Brochwael of Powys hunting hares. As she sat a hare came into the clearing and Melangell hid it in the sleeve of her dress to protect it. When it peeped out the dogs fled, and so the Prince gave her the land on which he hunted, and she lived at Pennant for another 37 years and no animal was killed in her sanctuary. Hares were known as wyn bach Melangell or Melangell's little lambs, and to kill a hare was an act of sacrilege.

This story is taken from "The Book of Welsh Saints" T.D. Breverton, and there are other versions of the tale. But at Llanfihangel-y-Pennant near Llangynog  this is probably the site of her foundation, because on the church's medieval rood-screen are little hares.