Sometimes people meet up and do nice things without telling you. At the end of December I discovered one of these groups. This was the view at dusk, in the cove where they meet.
It is like a degree course. Over two years we have studied: transmission and prevention, inequality and infection rates, compared lock down models worldwide, debated the politics of PPE and parties, considered mutations, T cells and antivirals, taken modules on mental health, isolation, mass grief, and changing attitudes to work. Finally, it was our turn for the third year practical assignment. ‘ A moderate dose for everyone in the house.’ Phew. Lucky to get the moderate one.
According to Wiccan beliefs, a geranium near your front door is useful for warning you when strangers are approaching. Oh, the wonders of Google. Is the geranium going to bark like a dog?
It is not a good idea to lock a large family of adults in together for several days over the holidays. Especially when the weather is bad, daylight is minimal, alcohol is plentiful, and everybody is nursing their own version of whatever mental illness they got from 2 years of the pandemic. That is why you need board games. They help to channel behaviour by forcing people to do things, and they are Fun until they are not.
Suddenly it is dark by 4pm. This happens every December, but is always a shock. Every afternoon we say interesting things like ‘It’s dark already,’ before checking the news about Omicrom, with anxiety fuelled by grey skies and vitamin D deficiency. Stop it. You can’t change the outside world but you can mess about with your home. Go to the Christmas decorations, and see what’s there.
The Guelder Rose is full of berries. This plant is said to possess knowledge of ancient earth magic. So do I. Digging earth is a cure for stress.
The Japanese Anemone glowing in the shadows. It is a symbol of anticipation, which can be a cause of SAD. Nobody needs that back-to-school, winter-is-coming gloom but, if you are sensitive to seasons, the first ripe blackberry is enough to set it off. Time to stop looking ahead and do something about now.
Last month Glastonbury festival would have brought half a million people into a field. It felt right to mark ‘Glastonbury weekend’ with Something. So we did.
The Laburnum is out, summer is here, and it is getting busy. This week I did three things that are good for the soul. Swimming, metal detecting and rodent trapping. Which was best?
Lily of the valley, the birth flower for anybody born in May. We celebrated my son’s milestone birthday this week, with a beach walk, chips in the rain, and a bit of baby nostalgia from me. Meanwhile, my phone was filling up with other babies. Two friends have become first-time parents and are about to discover what a game-changer they are.
April is National Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.
It is a month when anybody who has bowel cancer awareness passes it on to those who don’t.
I had bowel cancer a few years ago and came out of it with a tale to tell. If a few people read this, I will have done my bit to spread awareness.
Cold grey, dark grey, more grey. Even blue Monday was grey. Sometimes there is a blinding shaft of low winter sun, instantly lifting everything like a magic spell.
The Begonias are making an effort. In summer they will do a takeover bid, swamping everything nearby, but in winter they are welcome. Collapsing under the weight of frost one minute and presenting bright pink flowers the next, Begonias are a symbol of caution.
The Heather is flowering. Perfect for lucky posies. The village freecycle system has exciting daily doorstep offerings, with anything from cabbage steamers to vanilla candles. This week it’s busy with everybody trying to Fengshui horrible presents away. I could put a pile of posies out in case anybody needs extra luck, but it’s best to leave the flowers on the bush. They are, right now, what bees like best.
If you are an insect the main flower right now is ivy. Pale green and packed with nectar, providing a late supper for everybody getting ready to hibernate.
The Grapevine has been picking fights all summer. Throttling nearby plants, doubling in size overnight and chucking sour grapes all over the place.
Famous as an antiseptic, a symbol of love and devotion and guaranteed to cause relaxation. Today the bushes hum with the noise of bee traffic. Every local hive has sent an army to scoop up the nectar while it’s there.
August arrives and the sunflowers come marching in. Seedlings become giants overnight, apparently having a competition to see who can grow fastest before bursting into flower. Thousands of sunflower seeds will come next. Maybe I could dry them for chicken food?