Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Edinburgh and the Titan Arum


I spent a few days in Edinburgh at the beginning of August staying with our youngest son. These are some photographs of the city taken from Calton Hill. On a clear day there are good views of the city and surroundings.

Below, looking North over the Firth of Forth


looking towards Leith


and a view of Arthurs Seat and the Crags.


While I was in Edinburgh, one of the world's biggest flowers was blooming in the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The Titan Arum, Amorphphallus titanum, first bloomed in the glasshouses in June 2015 and for the second time on the 1st August this year. It is also one of the smelliest flowers emitting the odour of rotting flesh to attract pollinators. Luckily for me, the smell is only present during the first day or so and when I saw it on August 4th there was no longer any smell.





A hole was cut in the base of the flower to allow it to be hand pollinated, hopefully some seeds will be produced.

While I was there the height of the flower was measured, the photograph gives some idea of the size.

              
An information board shows the rate of growth of the first bloom in 2015.


It was raining when I visited the botanic gardens this time so no photographs outside but the glasshouses proved to be a perfect place to spend a wet afternoon.



Monday, 4 September 2017

towards the end of summer


This summer has passed too quickly and September is here. I have been lucky to have had a couple of trips away and as often happens, when I arrive home even after only a few days,  I feel I  have jumped to a new season.


The late summer heather and gorse have been joined by a a few autumnal fungi, this was a striking specimen.


The garden has become untidy through lack of attention during the last few weeks but if you stand back and look from a distance it doesn't appear too bad. Crab apples, grapes and ornamental berries are ripening and with the sun lower in the sky there is a feeling of early autumn.


This little bench is a good place to catch the sun and the geraniums in pots have survived well considering they have missed out on regular watering while I was away.


I have lots of photographs of my holidays to sort out and a recently completed knitting project blocking on the living room floor, I hope to post pictures of both soon.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

summer evenings


We are having a mini heat-wave here with temperatures reaching 30ÂșC and my last post has pictures of a cold January Edinburgh day!

Today is the summer solstice (in the UK it was at 5:24 this morning) so I thought some seasonally appropriate photographs would be a good idea.


These pictures were taken  last week when we had a short walk and an evening picnic along the Wayfarers Path in North Hampshire.


I like to go at this time of the year to see the wild orchids. There were plenty to see this year.





A beautiful place for a picnic sitting in the sunshine among the wild flowers.


The path back went through fields of barley, gently moving in the breeze



and as the sun got lower in the sky the whole place took on a golden glow. A reminder to appreciate the long summer evenings.



Thursday, 2 February 2017

January


January was a full month, lots going on but activity curtailed in the middle of the month when we both went down with an exhausting flu-type bug. I didn't take the opportunity to rest with the result that I still don't feel up to full strength yet - a lesson to be learned there, trying to keep going and ignoring the tiredness and cold symptoms doesn't seem to work for me as I get older, must slow down and rest.

A couple of weeks ago we spent a weekend in Edinburgh visiting our youngest son. The weather was bright and sunny and we managed a short walk in the Pentland Hills. This was the most snow I have seen so far this winter!


It was a glorious day to be out, wonderful to have access to the countryside so close to the city.


Back down in the city, a closer view towards the castle from Princes Street gardens.

Glimpses of the back of some of the buildings of the Royal Mile through the trees


and down at ground level, the first snowdrops


and a relatively tame urban rabbit!


Back at home we had several cold days,


no snow but very heavy frosts that lasted all day.


The water running from the fields froze on the lane making the daily walk more treachorous than usual.





This last weekend we went to the south coast for the day. It is a year since my father-in-law died and we wanted to visit the crematorium. We left home early and enjoyed a walk by the sea.


The beach huts are all closed up at this time of the year


but still look attractive against the hill.


Even in January the plants form a softly coloured tapestry of different textures.


Finally a hint that spring isn't too far away, the seaside daisy, Erigeron glaucous, blooming alongside the promenade.


Friday, 23 December 2016

reflecting


Hello, after another lengthy pause on the blog. This has been a year when my attention has been fragmented across different issues and family members and consequently blogging has fallen by the wayside.

My father spent a couple of weeks in hospital at the end of last month and I stayed with my mother who has been diagnosed with Alzeimer's disease. My father is now back at home, well, but a little more confused than before so as you can imagine the situation is a very fragile one.

I have been trying to sort out some care for them which is proving difficult as they are both independent types who assure me they can cope on their own without help - not an easy situation.


The last few days have been quiet here though that may change as we feel the effects of the edge of the storms forecast for the north of the country.


Quiet seems appropriate for this solstice time of year, the darkest time, a time to withdraw and reflect. We are a small family and our Christmas is very low-key so I don't have to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the festival.


Sometimes I think that we make it just a bit too quiet, it can feel as if we are the only ones not invited to the party! Generally though I like the empty time at the end of the year.


2016 has been a difficult year for us, starting with the death of my father-in-law, followed by my husband breaking his leg, some job issues for our children and now the illness of my parents. I contemplate the best way to cope with the situation. Obviously I want to help, but such help has to be sustainable. Trying to balance caring and helping my parents with working, looking after my home, my immediate family and my own health is not easy.


I am going for walks in the countryside, taking photographs and trying to slow down as the year comes to an end.


I am hoping to blog more regularly next year. Introspection and withdrawal can lead to loss of connection and I value the connections I have made through this blog which is almost ten years old. Walking and photography are important ways to relax for me and the blog is a good place to record my pictures and thoughts.

I particularly like the photograph below taken during the darkest time of the year but showing fresh new shoots on the honeysuckle, appropriate as we head away from the winter solstice to longer brighter days ahead.


I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a calm and peaceful 2017.