Friday 28 February 2020

Thought for the Day

Is life today making us all a bit neurotic?  Daily we are bombarded by unsettling news from all four corners of the globe. 
Yesterday we personally received the following information in an email, even though to date there have been just 16 cases of the coronavirus in this country, all of which have been as a result of travelling overseas.
I do realise that the idea behind this campaign is to make us all more aware of how to protect ourselves, and by doing so hopefully slow down the progression of the virus. However, all of this bombardment does makes you feel vulnerable and tends to give you feelings of a siege mentality developing. Should we all dash out and stock up on food, medicines, and toiletries etc? I personally haven't succumbed, and possibly by the time I even get round to thinking about it, all of the shop shelves will have been totally cleared of all the essentials anyway!!!
On a different note, yesterday we awoke to a brief scattering of snow, the first fall of the winter, and hopefully with luck it will be the last. However, within less than two hours all signs of it had completely vanished and then happily the sun came out for the rest of the day.
There were some lovely deep purple miniature irises in that front pot, but the deer have been browsing in the garden again and eaten every single flower! Fortunately the daffodils, heathers, hellebores and snowdrops do not appear to be to their taste.

Saturday 22 February 2020

The Countrywide Floods

I am in the middle of the most mundane of tasks -  spring cleaning the house, but alas I'm rapidly running out of momentum.
Beatrix Potter wrote in her book, The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse, "a most terribly tidy little mouse always sweeping and dusting the floors." How I wish that I too had some of her enthusiasm and zest.
I do, however, keep reminding myself of just how fortunate I am, that is compared with the thousands of people up and down the country whose homes have been completely flooded and wrecked over the last couple of weeks. How do they manage to remain on an even keel in the face of such adversity? Dirty, muddy water, containing sewage, swirling into their homes, damaging the flooring, the furniture, the electrical goods, and destroying precious family keepsakes.
Many of those that have appeared on the news have shown extreme stoicism in the face of cleaning up their homes. I saw that same strength too from those who were interviewed in Australia following loosing their homes in the recent bush fires. As in this country, many of them have not only lost their homes but also their livelihoods too. 
One of the places that has been severely hit with flooding is the quaint small town of Tenbury Wells. Some of you might recall that we visited the town last summer to see their unique little Pump Room and Spa building, given the curious architectural description of "Chinese Gothic". 
I don't know how this building has fared during the deluge, but I do know that one lady from the town was swept off her feet by the suddenness of the advancing flood waters and sadly lost her life. 
My photo above shows a small water culvert running off from the main river. It is a long way down from where I was standing and also well below the surrounding buildings.
This image shows that same small culvert (white/blue arrow) following the flooding. 
The main road over this bridge crosses the River Teme and leads on down into the town. It is hard to believe that the river overflowed the white parapet of this bridge. Thus enabling it to deluge the town. Although rain in the vicinity was responsible for much of the flooding there was also a huge increase in volume to the rivers caused by water joining them from tributaries originating in the Welsh mountains. 
As winter turns into spring, snowdrops symbolise sympathy, purity, optimism and above all hope. 

Friday 14 February 2020

💛Happy Valentine's Day💛

Valentine's Day flowers from the garden, and a special thank you to blog-friend Gina for her suggestion that I place some of the Garrya elliptica tassels in a vase together with some flowers.

Friday 7 February 2020

Lucky Horseshoes

Legends surrounding 'lucky' horseshoes have been around for centuries. But how do you hang your horseshoe? Do you hang it with the ends pointing upwards or down? The traditional way in this country is to hang it over an entrance doorway with the ends pointing upwards in order to keep all of the good luck in and prevent it from falling out.
In France, however, they tend to hang it the other way round so that all the good luck is poured out upon those who enter beneath.
A medieval horseshoe story tells of Dunstan (909 - 988) an English bishop who became the Abbot of Glastonbury, Bishop of Worcester, Bishop of London, and finally the Archbishop of Canterbury. St. Dunstan was formally canonised in 1029, his feast day being the 19th May. Prior to Thomas Becket's martyrdom in 1170 St. Dunstan was the most popular saint in Anglo Saxon England for nearly two centuries. He gained his fame for the many stories of his greatness, not least amongst which, were those concerning his cunning in defeating the devil. There are numerous English literature references to St. Dunstan and the devil, including the following ditty. 
St. Dunstan, as the story goes,
Once pulled the devil by the nose
With red-hot tongs, which made him roar,
That he was heard three miles or more.
An illustration from a medieval manuscript held in the British Library showing St. Dunstan tweaking the devil's nose with his blacksmith tongs.

The devil entering the small hermitage where St. Dunstan studied, played upon his harp and practised the art of being a blacksmith. The devil asked St. Dunstan to nail a horseshoe to his cloven hoof but in doing so Dunstan caused the Devil great pain. He only agreed to remove the shoe and release the Devil from his pain after he had promised never to enter a building with a horseshoe placed above the door. 
I have had the above horseshoe for more years than I care to remember, but do I believe in good luck? I can only tell you that I had forgotten all about the horseshoe until I started writing this post. I then remembered that it was outside sitting on a ledge in our courtyard walled garden. It sits alongside several other old rusty ornamental items found over the years that we now use as decorative garden objects.