Monday, 10 February 2014

Spring Flowers at RHS Wisley

During a brief break in the seemingly relentless barrage of raging wind, torrential rain and disastrous flooding, bright winter sunshine illuminated a few hardy flowers, signs of spring bringing a little hope of finer days to come. 

Wisley Wings

Where light is warmed by gleaming glass, where orchids bloom and green leaves large leaves unrecognised leaves gently steam, where visitors throng with cries of delight, there you'll find jewels that flit and dance on kaleidoscopic wings, there you'll find the butterflies.

Photos from 
Butterflies in the Glasshouse, at Royal Horticultural Society's Wisley Gardens,

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Poem: He heralds Spring!

He heralds Spring!

The sky in the east fades from inks and indigos to softest dove wing grey.
 From shadowy corners colour seeps; 
the green in the leaves and the brown in the trees, dawn rises with gentle ease.

It's time to raise your sleepy head, lift aching bones from soft warm bed. 
Time to turn from night to day, away from welcome dreams,
 to face the waking world instead.

But take heart my love. Listen! Can you hear the black-thrush sing? 
Fear not the dark days for he heralds Spring!

Monday, 3 February 2014

"Training" featuring a Labrador called Tate!


A bump, a rattle, a bone shaking rush over a cattle grid.
A turn and a stop.
The handbrake creaks and vibrations of the roaring engine cease.
Suspension shifts.
Door slams.

The boot rises with a soft swish.
My muscles twitch, launch me forward, senses alive.

But a word from Him, and I stay.
A gentle word, a glance, a check, and I am gone.

Away from the car, paws splaying on soft mud.
Legs gathering beneath me to propel me forward, 
to twist, left, right, a scramble and sideways slide on muddy slope.

Wind chills. Catches my nose. 
My nostrils twitch. I stop, double back. 
Here, no, there! What is that smell?

A voice calls. I must obey.

A last sniff.
Another call.I run.

‘Go find, go fetch’. I dash I hunt I twist. Turn, spin, seek.

Splash! I push through rushes.
My paws sink.
Mud gives way to cold icy water.
It ripples, shifts.
I hesitate.
‘Go find’. I launch.
The water moves from me, my legs reach out, pull back, pulling through the water.

The dummy is almost within reach.
It bobs. Ahead.
I snap.
Water fills my mouth. Splutter.
Turn. Reach for shore, soft mud and rushes.

Through grass, trees, water. Twist, turn, seek.


Sun softens winter chill through wet fur.
My nostrils twitch. I stop, double back.

Through grass, trees, water. Twist, turn, seek.


“Good boy. Up!”
A treat, a gentle word, a firm hand.
The boot closes with a soft swish. A thud.

Pant. Sniff. Lay down.

Drift towards sleep.  

The roaring engine wakes, 
vibrations run through metal chassis.
A bump, a rattle, a bone shaking rush over a cattle grid.

Sniff. Lick. Lay down.

Drift towards sleep.  

Photos taken February 2014 West Sussex. Dog is 6 month old, fox-red Labrador, called Tate. 

Please respect copyright of both words and pictures, no use without written permission of author/photographer.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Seedheads and windows

Seedhead shadows rattle against whitewashed walls where blind windows, deep with reflections, gaze out each over cobbles and earthen clods. 
Moss-softened clay tiles, slope upwards, layer on layer. 
Smoke, drawn from nurtured hearths, curls and blends with higher clouds. 
A jackdaw calls, keen flight overhead to early roost. 

Photos taken at Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, Singleton, West Sussex