Sunday 31 January 2021

Flower Quiz

Jim from Road to Parnassus recently set a great quiz, and I was reminded that it is now a very long time since I did one of my flower or object quizzes. 


I have searched for the above wildflower whenever I have been in the right location, but have only discovered it once. It can be found in various shades including white, pink, mauve and purple. 

1. What is the plants Latin name?

2. Common name?

3. What family does it belong to?

4. The region and the habitat where it grows - e.g riverside, meadow, forest etc?

The above flower is much smaller than it appears - it is roughly 4cms in diameter - look very carefully at the photo, the clue is there!
The plant above resides in our bathroom where it has been flowering continuously for the past three months. It has three very simple petals and tends to live for about three days, and then another one quickly replaces it. Its location and the way it lives is the polar opposite to the first flower.

The same questions apply again:-

1. The Latin name,

2. Common name.,

3. Family it belongs to 

4. Region where it grows and habitat.

Comments Moderation will be switched on. Only those with the correct answer will be held back until I reveal the answer in a few days time.

Monday 25 January 2021

It's a 'Jack Frost' January Morning.....

....the skies are blue, the sun is shining , it looks as if it will be a lovely day, but who was Jack Frost? 

It is believed that he originated within Scandinavian or Anglo-Saxon traditions. In one story, he is the son of Kari, Norse god of the winds. In Finnish folklore, there is a legend about a Frost-man and a Frost-woman, who control the weather and keep the conditions good for their reindeer. In many cultures around the world, it is common to personify the seasons and the weather. In Japanese folklore, there are stories of a Frost Man and his brother, Mist Man, who are keepers of frost and dew. 

As for the name Jack Frost, there isn't much reasoning as to why his name has come to be Jack, other than "Jack" was a common slang word for "man" in England during the 16th and 17th centuries - Jack the lad, Jack of all trades, Jack o'Lantern, Jack o' the Green.

My mother always said a good cold winter was necessary to kill off all the bugs and germs. However, of late, that appears to have been proven to be totally untrue. This wretched virus seems to relish the cold rather than the heat.

Jack Frost illustration by Arthur Rackham

Our much loved diminutive snowdrops, those first harbingers of Spring, have now pushed their dainty heads above the ground.

Deep sleeps the Winter,
Cold, wet and grey;
Surely all the world is dead;
Spring is far away.
Wait! the world shall waken;
It is not dead, for lo,
The Fair Maids of February
Stand in the snow!
poem & illustration by Cicely Mary Barker 
It looks as if a small creature has been dining out on my snowdrops. However, I can't begrudge the odd petal to whoever ate them. They must need all of the nourishment that they can find at this time of year. 

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Carbis Bay - a Cornish Hideaway

December 2018 
We were surprised and also somewhat dismayed to learn that what we think of as our secret Cornish hideaway will soon be revealed to the world. It has just been announced that the hotel will be playing host to the next G7 Summit in June. 
For many years we have stayed at this lovely hotel that sits within its own private sandy cove and enjoys spectacular views across the Atlantic.  We prefer to visit during the winter season, and especially enjoy escaping there for a few days prior to Christmas. We have often left home in typical inclement December weather, only to discover on our arrival, warmer, sunnier climes. The area has a very special light which has over the years attracted and drawn many of our great artists to live and work there. 

Built in 1894, the hotel was designed by the renowned Cornish architect Silvanus Trevail. It quickly gained popularity as a result of a boom in British seaside holidays at the end of the 19th century, which had become possible with the expansion of the railways. The architect, Silvanus, eventually rose to become the President of the architects' professional body, The Society of Architects.

The hotel was immortalised by the author Rosamunde Pilcher, where it appears as The Sands Hotel in her novel The Shell Seekers, and also in her book Winter Solstice. 
'Penelope, however, has taken everything in her stride. By everything, I mean the enormously thick carpets, swimming pools, jacuzzis, private bathrooms, televisions by our beds, huge bowls of fresh fruit, and flowers everywhere. We have clean sheets and towels very day. Our rooms are all in the same corridor, and have adjoining balconies, looking out over the gardens to the sea. From time to time, we step out onto them and converse with each other. Just like Noel Coward's Private Lives.' 
Virginia Woolf spent three weeks at the hotel in 1914 and, years later, wrote To The Lighthouse, inspired by Godrevy Lighthouse which sits on an island across the water from St Ives Bay . 
There is only one rather narrow vertiginous road leading down to the hotel which I suspect may have proven to be an important aspect from the point of view of security, and a very narrow clifftop path that winds it way along to St. Ives together with a single track small railway. Both of these are also very easy to secure and protect from prying eyes and reporters. The lovely food, the peace, quiet, and the seclusion, no doubt all played a part in the choice.  
You can see more of the area here including a short video showing the railway journey that runs from St. Ives and passes through Carbis Bay.

Friday 8 January 2021


Dr. Edward Jenner
Edward Jenner, the pioneer of the smallpox vaccination and father of immunology grew up and lived within the shadow of Berkeley Castle. A castle built during the Norman period, close to the River Severn, and as the crow flies not far from our own Cotswold escarpment. 
Smallpox was a terrible scourge accounting for one third of child deaths, and an average of one in eleven of all deaths during the 18th century.
One of his patients, a local milkmaid became infected with cowpox via contact with a cows udder, a cow she called Blossom. Dr Jenner decided to extract liquid from the pustule on her arm and then carried out his first vaccination with it on an 8 year old local boy. Happily this proved to be a eureka moment to prevent smallpox.  
He had a little hut in his garden which he aptly named his Temple to Vaccinia, where, on certain days, the poor of the district were vaccinated free of charge. The queues of people would stretch all around the town. 
I mention this story because here in this area of Gloucestershire the doctors are very well aware of Jenner's heritage and legacy, and have already started to make huge inroads into getting the newly available vaccines against Covid-19 into everyones arms.
We have both received notification for our vaccine appointments this coming Sunday which indicates to us that the over 80 year olds in this area have now already been dealt with. 
Good news is something that all of us really need.
Has the UK government finally got its act together re: vaccinations? Hopefully you too will soon be hearing from your own doctor.
Sit tight, stay calm, and be safe. 

Friday 1 January 2021

A New Year Dawns

"The secret of change 
is to focus all of your energy,
not on fighting the old,
but on building the new".