Changing Times

The last few months have seen a number of changes. Now we can at least invite people back into our homes – so long as we remember not to get too close. We no longer have to meet folk in the garden or hold a conversation in the street. It is rather less surreal than it seemed at first, but it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how our lives will be different for some time to come.

BC – Before Covid and Beyond

Remember when

we sat close to friends,

laughed and blethered over

coffee or a dram?


Now we have

Covid 19 perhaps

minds focus more

on things that matter –


health of the planet,

health of friends and family,

toxicity of capitalism, this

another virus spread world-wide.


CG images of Covid19 show

a delicate floral beauty,

almost psychedelic appeal, yet

this virus can’t be scrubbed,


can’t be rubbed away like

turquoise-greens of verdigris

that adds aged colour to

copper and brass heirlooms.


This latest virus hides

from view, threatens unwary

victims. Its political twin sickens

the economy, also takes lives.


Now, we look with changed eyes

we see, we hear, we love

differently; appreciate things

we took for granted BC.



Shades of Rhubarb

This is a year that everyone will have a number of reasons to remember. Not least Covid 19, the shambolic state of politics here and elsewhere and the dire state of the economy of so many countries. Then we have the ongoing tragedies of refugees, the rise of anti-semitism, homelessness, climate change – all of which are major problems that seem a long way from being adequately addressed. It’s no wonder that more and more people are finding the natural world can give some moments of joy.


During the long weeks of drought and lockdown, the daytime hours for me have been divided mostly between gardening and taking local walks. The garden has certainly needed the extra attention it’s had this year and it is now becoming more how we want it to be.

However, there are a number of shrubs and trees that were well established when we moved here nearly five years ago. One of these is a very healthy honeysuckle which is right next to the greenhouse. This is significant because apparently honeysuckle is a big attraction for certain insects and especially Elephant Hawk-moths. We have been finding them on our morning visits to check the plants. Presumably, when they land on the honeysuckle, they are attracted by the warmth of the greenhouse.

Elephant Hawk-moth

Deilephila elpenor

Today, there’s one safely hidden

among strawberry leaves

another, caught in a web


Greenhouse spiders weave

lairs in corners, capturing victims

daily but one, was destined to live.

Largest of moths – caught by a tiny spider,


You free it from sticky tether,

it remains on your hand

motionless –


Rhubarb pink and green markings,

soft majestic moth,

now on your shoulder, reluctant to move.

It clings.

Trust from a moth,

a gift you savour.


Plague & Pestilence

These are very strange times. We are faced not only with Covid 19 but also politicians that we can no longer respect. Those in government seem to think they can convince the general public that they are doing a great job, but  they are patently failing miserably and it is all too easy to despair.

Victor Frankl wrote – When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Perhaps we have to change the way we perceive what is happening and look for the positives rather than dwelling on the negatives. We have seen the planet benefit from fewer journeys both in the air and on land. Now we see cleaner air in cities, we hear birdsong rather than traffic noise. Venice is seeing the benefit of far fewer cruise ships dominating their waters and residents are appreciating the quieter streets.

If we look to the natural world that can help us to stay sane. Thinking about the economic and political world too much is a sure road to depression. Focus on the beauty of a meadow with the sea of different grasses or the tiny daisy brightening the cracks in the pavement. Even the yellow haze of buttercups that can take over verges and gardens given chance. There’s life and vibrant colour to admire – don’t just think of them as weedy thugs!

Walking along a green lane is like stepping back into the past – the days of horse and carts. Those days too had times of plague. It wasn’t always an idyllic time by any means, but the human race survives and will continue to do so – in spite of plague and political incompetence.


Sometimes things don’t go to plan…

I am not going to attempt to comment on Brexit other than this appalling mess we’re in now is thanks to someone thinking that he was sure he knew what the outcome would be. But things certainly didn’t go to plan and we’re the worse off for that.

However, this is not the best of times to send my blood pressure up. I shall refrain from thinking about politics and instead make only a light reference to the sad situation of many migrants in the following –

No Barriers

Nearly sunset

January sky soon to be a palette

for shades of evening light.



skeins of Barnacle geese head

back to feeding grounds.


Solway coast, haven to migrants

from Svalbard, welcomed



Their journey

free from barriers, unimpeded

by politics, prejudice.


Sometimes we need to get away from people and all the tensions of the modern day world. We need to clear our heads of the mindless activities of so many people in places of power.

Today I saw clusters of ladybirds,  sowed seeds, cleared weeds and watched goldfinches feeding. This is one part of the world that makes sense. The garden is going to plan, many of the geese have flown back to their home in the north. Sometimes, some things feel right …