A real treat today. The Red Arrows flying as part of Blackpool's annual 2 day Air Show. Tomorrow, I will probably go to the prom to watch them flying over the sea. I have a wonderful view of their fabulously fast rolls, dives, and loops in the sky from my garden. Catching site of them flying past my neighbours house. My heart missed a beat as their aerial acrobatic manoeuvres made a red heart with an arrow through it - 6 planes coming from different directions - I only took the start of the heart loops I was too mesmerised at the time, just watching.
After looking upwards, looking down ...... a little frog, come out to see what all the fuss is about, or more likely because the ivy covering the fence was being cut back. Japanese Anemones, and, bees and a spider enjoying the lavender bushes.
On our way home from Southport, we stopped at Martin Mere wetland centre, part of the Wildfowl Trust, founded by Sir Peter Scott. ( bust of him above). He was one of the founders of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, and designed it's panda logo, and founder of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, the home of Peter Scott, was the first wetland centre, opened by him in 1946; Martin Mere, Lancashire, was opened by Peter Scott in 1975. The BBC filmed its Autumn Watch programme from Martin Mere in 2007.
I am a huge, huge fan of both Peter Scott (1909 - 1989) artist and ornithologist, and his wife Philippa(1918 - 2010) wildlife photographer, now both deceased, for their creativity, prolific conservation work and their love of nature and wildlife. Peter was the son of explorer Scott of the Antarctic, who wrote a letter before his fateful death to his wife saying that 'the boy should study natural history.' Peter was two years old when his father died. He had a privileged and fascinating life, that led to his interest in, and service to, protecting wildlife, which, as a result, we can all enjoy today. Sir David Attenborough said, " The Scott partnership put conservation on the map at a time when conservation was not a word people understood, at least not in the natural history context, and that if people did conserve and protect the natural environment in future much would be due to the Scott's legacy".
When I got home I looked out some old photos and found these of Brian, and the boys when they were young at Martin Mere. Like many children who grew up in the countryside my own fascination for wildfowl started when a skein of migrating wild geese flew in a v-formation overhead. Who doesn't like the marvellous spectacle of flying geese and their melodious sound? They make long and still not completely understood migrations, flying at dawn and dusk, and gather in vast aggregations, making for the most magical displays in different countries around the world.
I have admired prints of whooper swans and pintail geese by Peter Scott, since the late 1970s, when I first saw them on a dear friend's wall. They were not very fashionable, but I was enthralled; I then bought similar prints enthusiastically from junk shops every time I saw any for sale. Very few artists paint the individual features of wildfowl birds like Peter Scott, taking drawings of individual markings on swans beaks, rather like having fingerprints. His knowledge of wildlife is extensive. From his books, I learned that as a society wild geese and swans mate for life and keep their young with them until the next breeding season. Scott also wrote that the reason he learned to paint was mainly so that he would be able to paint his beloved wild geese better. They were so close to his heart. If you are not familiar with his work take a look on line, look again at his wild geese pictures, look at the skies at dawn and dusk, look at the patterns the birds make, the patterns where birds are landing as well as in flight. So beautiful!
The hides at the wetland centres are a wonderful way to see wildfowl, particularly in winter. In Herefordshire, where I used to live, there is a little hide where you can get a fabulous view in winter, at Bodenham Lake. You might also see otters running around the river bank.
Whilst builders were repairing ridge tiles, removing moss and replacing gutters at home, we were looking at more beautiful roofs of glass
and cast iron in Southport. It almost twenty years since we were last here. Lord Street, Southport's main street still retains beautiful Victorian arcades,
cast iron architecture and picturesque leaded glass windows. I took many photos whilst strolling around, remembering happy times. Enjoying a spa break, blue skies, sunshine and warm summer evenings.
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". . .she sells sea shells . . ." not really - she doesn't sell; - just recycles a beautiful cockle shell she finds on the seashore, especially lucky as there's a hole at the top, to knot some thread through, to make a key fob.
. . . . adding a tiny piece of stitched and beaded linen, gathered into cushion, to the front of the shell. Simple and satisfying. A little gift to treasure.
Deadheading roses. The petals are the colour of the foxgloves I'm embroidering. . . . just now - planting, stitching, walking, taking photos, listening to music, and contemplating is my way of both escaping, and engaging with the world at present.
Above - music shop/ bar , Fiskardo, Greece, and flowers in my garden, Blackpool..
I found myself in a backed up traffic queue at a level crossing, between Blackpool and Poulton le Fylde, waiting for a train to pass through. Opposite a house, with a decorative sign of verse inside the garden gate; part of the verse is obscured by bushes. I just about make out the first two lines - 'The kiss of the sun for pardon, The song of the birds for mirth' - one day I will park the car and get out to read that sign. But thanks to modern technology the verse is on the internet - the
second verse in a poem by Dorothy Gurney (1858 - 1932), poet and hymn writer.
The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth, -
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
Seeing people on the train heading for Blackpool from Preston; a few commuters in a couple of carriages. Fleeting thoughts pass through my mind . . . that only a generation ago in the 1950s/60s the train would have been full and there would have been many more carriages when Blackpool, Lancashire, north of the river Ribble was a thriving holiday resort for all the factory workers, from cotton spinning mills, weaving sheds, engineering works, coal mines coming from industrial south Lancashire - once famed as the workshop of the world. But dirty, grimy, steam - filled jobs in dark factories with little sun, and a heavy cost to those workers health, physical and spiritual. Their holiday break at Whitsun and Summer in Blackpool must have come as welcome respite - no industrial revolution in north Lancashire, just windswept sandy beaches, donkey rides and ice creams, glitzy gaudy funfairs on the pleasure beach and pavilioned piers, Blackpool tower with its famous ballroom, modelled on the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Tram rides along the promenade as far as Fleetwood, fish and chips, and my favourite of the Flyde - windmills and beautiful flower and vegetable gardens. Allen Clarke, journalist and socialist, hundred years ago in 1916 called Blackpool and the Fylde, 'Windmill Land' and said that Lancashire was a county of two halves: Lancashire south of the Ribble was 'the workshop of the world' and north of the Ribble was the Fylde, 'the garden.' I feel as I have an affinity with Allen Clarke as we have both lived south of the river Ribble and then lived in the North albeit a hundred years apart.
But more of 'Windmill Land' another time. Today I am celebrating the joys of my own garden, and here are a few photos. I wish you could here the birdsong too.
Just a couple more images of the bunny, with added leggings, and a little felt bag with birthday card inside for a special friend. The little rabbit ended up being called Corinna.
Corinna was named after a real historical character -actually, Corinne- Corinne Adelaide Lynch-Lopez to be precise. Sadly she only survived . 5 months; hopefully Corinna will last a lot longer. Just in case you're interested the name was lifted from a book Brian was reading and the name sort of stuck.
The real Corinne's mother led an amazingly adventurous fascinating and heroic life. She was Eliza Lynch (Eliza Alicia Lynch Lopez), born in Cork, County Cork, Ireland in 1835. Then emigrated to Paris with her family at the age of ten, to escape the Great Irish Famine. She married a French Officer who was then posted to Algeria. In 1880, left him in Algeria returning to Paris to live with her mother after suffering ill health. In Paris she became a courtesan and met General Francisco Solano Lopez,the son of the Paraguayan dictator. Eliza returned with Lopez to Paraguay and became his partner - they never married but she bore him six children and supported him through the Paraguayan Wars. She rose to become the richest and most notorious woman in Spanish America. Eliza, was extremely enterprising - a small contribution which may be of interest to the sewing crafters, she commissioned two sewing machines to be shipped from England to Paraguay.
Eliza Lynch died in obscurity in Paris. She was vilified in Latin American History and dubbed an ambitious courtesan. However nowadays, this has been completely overturned. Over a hundred years later, her body was exhumed and brought back to Paraguay, where she was proclaimed a National Heroine, in much the same way as Eva Peron in Argentina.
An April Easter weekend of sunshine, showers, chilly wind and a star magnolia in front of the house against a bright blue sky.
A new little Easter bunny make, from a Helen Philipps pattern: pale grey velour body and a pretty primrose yellow dress ( material from an earlier Green Rabbits design giveaway, some little chocolate eggs, and a fresh decorated boiled one. The photo of the snakehead fritillary taken by Becky in the Lugg Meadow in Herefordshire last week. Such a treasured Easter gift. The pottery lighthouse is also an eggcup.
Visiting a an Easter craft fayre in Fleetwood this morning, I just had to take photo of this festive Easter bonnet complete with chicks, eggs and little bunnies, also surrounded by dinky cars, I think it was accompanying a veteran car exhibition outside.
Narcissi, cherry blossom and tame great tit feeding from Beck's hand in Stanley park yesterday
Happy St.David's Day ! or Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus! for my Welsh friends. Here are some lovely miniature daffodils, wearing their yellow petticoats, especially for the occasion- 'every one's darling; the blackbird and the starling' . The blackbird and the starlings have been feeding under the apple tree in the garden. A calmer day this week after storm Doris, and hailstones.
As well as being the national flower of Wales, the daffodil is known as the Lenten Lily, and today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Do you give anything up for Lent or do something that benefits others? I know I will have to give up chocolate then Easter will really be a treat. Also hope to write some letters/ cards - the posting kind, rather than rely on the internet.
I just love the way, seemingly, almost over night, banks and churchyards are covered in snowdrops. These are snapped on a very grey day, in a local churchyard. masses of white interspersed with purple and yellow crocuses. . . .
. . . . . .and, remembering Dick Bruna, who died yesterday aged 89 years, the creator of the original Miffy books for children in 1955. Who inspired these makes I made a few years ago for new babes . . . .
The little babe in the photo is my great niece; she will be 4 years old this week ! Happy Birthday Greta X
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