Category Archives: Days Out

Trails of Destruction

This isn’t going to be a sad post. It is going to be quite an interesting post, I just need to tell you about what happened yesterday.

You remember the little black lamb that I showed you a few days ago? Well sadly I found him dead on the roadside, hit by a car. It happens and I guess he was always going to be the last one that they saw.

Black SheepIf you walk in the countryside you get used to seeing  Badgers, Foxes and Rabbits lying by the roadside and this is not really any different but I did feel sorry for him.

What really spoilt my day was what happened next. His Mum was not going to leave her dead lamb and she was wandering up and down a busy road with her other lamb trotting along behind her, it was pretty obvious that there was going to be another accident if we didn’t get her off the road and I got met with a bit of a  negative response.

Eventually Jeremy (for that was his name) came out and picked up his dead lamb and moved the others to safety. So that was that.

I hear a lot of, “Oh you townies just don’t understand our country ways,” but I do.

Sorry little lamb, I should have stolen you.

Black Sheep

Then my day picked up, when I went to see the little dog downstairs.

Fizz is a philosopher and she ought to be studied in universities. She is a bit like that Frenchman, Jean Paul Sartre but brighter and she doesn’t use so many words, in fact her whole philosophical argument could be summed up in a single sentence.

“The world is full of stuff that is not Fizz but that is not important.”

It is perhaps not as complex as existentialism but it is true and it helps me to exist.

So off we went to La La Land…..

Dr FizzFizz knows some nice places to walk and she can make even an angry heart forget.


Orange TipHelp me little animal for I have been hurt.

Orange TipAre you magic? How come you are there when I need you? Why do you even exist?

Orange TipThank you and here, have a nice flower.

Orange TipHello!

Was that butterfly called Fizz?

I don’t think so.

FizzI am going to crawl under the gate now.

If you follow me you can tickle my tummy.

I want to look at flowers.

Bush VetchBush Vetch, It’s a pea and so it has those grab onto anything tendrils and I think that it is wonderful. It is one of those plants that helps to make the jungle an absolute mess.

Bush Vetch

Bush VetchI can’t wait forever.



Bush VetchOkay I am just going to take a few moments out to check that they did her hair cut properly. Sometimes people are slackers and they miss the little important bits, you know what I mean?



FizzEverything seems to be in order and they have done a good job.


FizzGet down little Monkey! I am fixed.

FizzI am ready to begin my tale.

We are walking along the track, observing nature and playing games with the flowers….

Dog’s Mercury,

Dogs MercuryThis is the female of the species.

Dogs MercuryThis is a Dog in Mercury.

Dogs MercuryAll right! I am fixed all ready.

Dogs MercuryAs we are walking along I have been noticing signs of animal activity. Little holes everywhere.

Snuffle HolesIn my mind I am seeing “snuffle holes.” These are little holes that Badger’s make as they dig for worms. They sometimes look like little animal burrows but they don’t go anywhere, they are only about six to eight inches deep.

There is not much that is unusual about this. We are very close to a Badger main sett and there is a lot of activity further along the track but there is a lot here and I am a bit surprised because we are still a way from the sett. Very active Badgers, I think.

Then I noticed something beside this hole.

Wild ArumThis isn’t actually a “snuffle hole,” this one is where an animal has dug up and eaten the root of Wild Arum.

Badgers do eat the roots of Wild Arum. I have read of this described as a winter activity when food is short and we are in Badger country.

This is Wild Arum (Arum maculatum)

Wild ArumTo us this is a deadly poisonous plant. Every part of it contains toxins that can kill a Human. The reason that it doesn’t kill people is that those toxins cause immediate and painful burns and blisters and if we accidentally put it in our mouths then we quickly spit it out again.

However we can eat it. The roots are edible but they need preparation (I think it is roasting but that is only from memory). This is not a good one to eat unless you are starving  but remember that most animals are starving.

Wild ArumThis next one is very edible and in fact if you don’t eat this then you are an American Donkey (an Ass).

Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic

Wild GarlicThis is Wild Garlic.

(In fact the Americans do not use the word Ass to describe a Donkey but this is only because they have not mastered the English language and particularly spelling, to me “American Donkey” is just a euphemism, what I meant was that you would be a fool not to eat this wonderful herb 🙂 I said it crudely because I like crude it is very different from rude but I don’t like crudities, I prefer to dunk soft white bread into my soup. Consider this to be my soup. There are some very beautiful and expressive words in the English language and you would have to be an American Donkey to diminish them, you don’t always have to use them.)

Wild GarlicThen…

Here is another one.

Uprootedand another…

Uprootedand another….

Uprootedand another….

UprootedThis is getting weird. Something has walked along this track and systematically and selectively dug up and ate every Arum Lily that it could find. I saw more than thirty of these holes and photographed them.

What on earth does this?

If you know me then you might think, “Colin would know the answer,” but Colin does not know the answer.

PhilosopherStop it. I can see your beauty.

PhilosopherI choose my stuff carefully, I am not a fool and I love you.

PhilosopherI am trying to concentrate.

Something is eating our flowers.

We need to put our tracker hats on, Badgers are obviously in the frame but something doesn’t ring true. The other animal that would do this is Wild Boar and I know that they are also here.

printThese prints are partial, the ground has been quite hard. A Boar has dew claws that leave an impression behind the hooves and I can’t see them, but they could be Boar (or Sheep or Deer) I don’t know.

PrintIt is all a bit weird.




MysterySo I don’t know what to say about all of this, except…

IdiotLet me take you by the hand and lead you through a place that doesn’t have any streets, I will show you something that will make you change your mind.


Red Campion

Herb Robert

Greater StitchwortI wrote this through the night and it is now Friday. Yesterday we had a General Election in the UK. I have no idea who won.

Good people never win. Niceness isn’t a winning trait and I already know that the worst man in the country is now our President. That is the failing of democracy. Let them come into the Jungle and we will see who wins.

I haven’t told you about this but I once lived for a year with a Member of Parliament. It’s okay, my wife knew about it. He was a decent man and a friend who helped me out of a jam but I could tell you some stories (and they would include naked MPs, another day perhaps 🙂  but probably not)

One more deep breath and then I will go and see who is now my Glorious Leader.

Orange Tip

Yellow Archangel


Get out of the mud.Disrespect

The Leader is coming 🙂

An Unexpected Change Of Plan

At two thirty this afternoon Haircut was outside of my kitchen window.

HaircutShe was trying to express in doggie language that contrary to my expectations, three hours at the beauty parlour  had not made her day complete.

This is what she said.

What are you gonna do?

I will take you out but you must promise to stay well away from the mud,

It takes three hours at the parlour because the first hour is spent telling Margaret what a terrible owner she is for getting her dog in such a state and then giving her training in the proper way to care for her pet.

It is not Margaret’s fault. It is not even my fault  but obviously I don’t want to upset Margaret later in the day.

No muddy  puddles. Okay?

FizzThis dog smells really sweet. It must be the shampoo that they use and she has got the cleanest feet that I have ever seen.

How can it be my fault? It is not like I invented mud, it is just there.

FizzAnyway I thought that you might like to see the new Fizz.

Fizz Fizz Fizz Fizz FizzShe isn’t very much different from the old Fizz.

I kept her as clean as I could. She has been through a tough ordeal today and I guess that when it was over she just needed to get back to nature. Nature can fix anything.

FizzNature and a little bit of love 🙂


England in the Springtime

Today I have just a couple of wild flowers and a couple of rather good selfies to show you but before we get to that…

My story starts yesterday on Sunday the first of March, Spring Eve.

There was a cold north westerly blowing and I could have stayed at home but, you know, the Dog needs a walk. We headed out along a woodland track and the trees gave us some relief from the bitter wind.

I wasn’t expecting to see much but this is where I have been coming to look for Primroses and this time there were signs of life.

PrimrosesThere were the first tiny flower buds showing and I thought, “At last, it is happening.”

Primrose BudI started to take some photographs.

Primrose BudThen a little message appeared on my screen, “Built in memory full.”


Fizz! You stupid, stupid dog, you have forgotten to remind me to put an SD card in the camera. What were you thinking of?

It had taken us thirty minutes to walk out there, what I had seen was captivating, there was no choice but to walk back to the farm, pick up a card and come back out.

By the time we got back the English weather had kicked in.

I should warn you that I use bad language in this next video (quite mildly) but you shouldn’t watch it if you are under twenty one.

That was yesterday and I missed the Eve of Spring. If, as a team we had a bit more fortitude then I still think that we could have got the pictures but I was outvoted.

So today I can show you what I failed to capture yesterday.

Yesterday there were no Primroses in flower and today I found two.

The first that I found was a pin.

Pin PrimroseThe second was a thrum.

Thrum PrimroseIf you don’t know about Pins and thrums then I wrote it all down on Easy Wildflowers and you can read it here The Primrose it is a sexy story.

But that is not the thing. I have photographed thousands of Primroses, they are lovely and I am very pleased to see them.

I don’t believe that I had ever noticed before how very beautiful and unique the buds were. They have taken my breath away and also made my day, year, life complete. How could I have missed this?

Primrose buds

Primrose buds

Primrose buds

Primrose buds

Primrose budsThese are very much not the best shots that I will get. I am taking these pictures under very difficult conditions. I hope that they will give you an idea of what I am looking at 🙂

The pup and I moved on, that happens when you throw the ball.

Further along this track I have been watching for Tussilago farfara, the Coltsfoot. I found it today.




ColtsfootAgain, if you don’t know the story of this extraordinary little flower without leaves then you can find it on Easy Wildflowers here The Coltsfoot.

Some of you may be aware of my obsession with self portraiture and earlier in the day I had a go in the mud.


meI was quite pleased with the results but still felt that I could do better and then the hail started.

FizzMy idea was to stand my dog in the hailstorm and take a picture of myself reflected in her eyes.

She wasn’t overly supportive at first.

FizzSomebody call the Humane Society!

Shut up, you’ll be famous.

It kinda worked.

Self PortraitWell, that’s enough fun with animals, this is my flower post.

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)Senecio vulgaris, The Common Groundsel

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)Groundsel might be a bit of a hard sell. It is not everybody’s first thought when choosing a favourite wild flower.

Regarded as a weed by many it is a wild flower native to the UK, I will show you how to identify it.

(It’s native range extends throughout Eurasia and North Africa and it is naturalised in many other places including North America)

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)Common Groundsel is a member of the Asteraceae or Daisy family,

The flower head is made up of dozens of small disc florets (flowers) like the centre of a daisy, without the white “petals,”

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)The lack of ray florets (“petals”) helps to distinguish this species from it’s close relatives Heath Groundsel (S. syllvaticus) and Sticky Groundsel (S, viscous)  which do have ray florets with the appearance of petals.

The flower head is contained within a cylinder of green bracts called an involucre. These are not sepals each individual flower inside the flower head has it’s own sepals.

There is a second outer ring of black tipped bracts at the base of the involucre,

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)Inside the cylinder of bracts there is a dense cluster of small flowers. Each flower sits on top of an ovary which will become the seed. At the top of the ovary there are a series of fine white hairs these are the sepals and they will become the parachute that will carry the seed away. Through the centre of the sepals runs the long white tube that is the corolla of the flower (Coralla is a word that is used when the petals of a flower are fused together)The corolla opens out into a small flower with five yellow lobes.

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)As each flower opens the  style emerges. The style has two yellow lobes, this is the pollen receptive female part of the flower and it is connected through the corolla to the ovary. The flower also has five stamens, the male pollen producing part, these form a tube around the lower part of the style and as the style grows through them it collects pollen.

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)Common Grounsel is extremely self fertile. It can flower throughout a mild winter, when there are no pollinators about and still produce seed. The plant is very short lived (about five weeks) but in that time it can produce thousands of fertile seeds.

When the seeds are ripe the green bracts open to reveal the seed head.

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)Now the flowers that served to pollinate the fruit have done their job they will fall away from the seeds before the seeds disperse.

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)As the corolla tubes fall away all that is left is the seed with the white sepals that now become the pappus or parachute to carry the seed away on the wind.

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)The plants ability to produce thousands of seeds at any time of year coupled with it’s preference for disturbed ground make Groundsel a particular pest to gardeners.

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)(Common Groundsel seedling)

However, whilst prolific the plant has a very shallow root system and is easily removed through weeding.

The shape of the leaves is best described with a photograph.

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)   Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)   Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) The leaves can be quite smooth but they are often covered in long white hairs.

These hairs also often cover the stems beneath the flowers and they are often described as cobwebby, they do sometimes give the plant the appearance of being covered in cobwebs.

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)   Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)   Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) The Latin Name Senecio is derived from the word “Sinex” which means “Old man,” It is a reference to the wispy white hairs of the pappus.

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)The common name Groundsel comes from the Old English “Grundeswylige” and means “To swallow the ground,” a reference to the plants ability to cover large areas, quickly.

Other common names include Common Butterweed and Ragwort.

In the UK at least Ragwort is a misnomer because that name belongs to another plant, Jacobaea vulgaris.

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)(Common Ragwort)

Ragwort used to be known as Senecio jacobaea and the two plants are closely related. Common Groundsel contains some of the same alkaloids that make Ragwort poisonous to livestock.

Small quantities of Groundsel ingested over a period of time can cause irreversible liver damage.

However there are few reported cases of Groundsel poisoning in livestock, it is only really a threat when feed such as hay bales become contaminated.

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)As a plant for wildlife Groundsel has some value. There are a few moth species that utilise it as a food plant including the Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta) and the Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae). There are also several species of beetles and flies that eat it.

I suspect that these interactions are under reported given the known value of Common Ragwort and the very similar qualities of the two plants.

Small birds also eat the seeds which are very often available mid winter.

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Asterales

Family: Asteraceae

Genus: Senecio

Species: Senecio vulgaris

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)

Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)Wildflowers in the Springtime 🙂

Getting Our Feet Wet

There is Fizz, waiting under my window, keeping an eye on me.

Fizz“I will be a little while, I am just running a bath.”

In retrospect I have to ask myself, “Why bathe before you go out with Fizz? It’s not like she’s fussy and you know what is going to happen, don’t you?”

It is a lovely day and I am stepping out with lovely clean feet.
Badger AlleyAfter the snow we had a storm. Yesterday was just horrible with strong wind and icy rain. Today it is a beautiful day to be alive. Blue and still.

Badger AlleyWe are going up Badger Alley to look for signs of the early Coltsfoot flowers. Primroses grow up here too, I have seen a couple of Primroses in flower in gardens but none in the wild yet.

Following the storm, parts of the track were very wet and this “Selfie” is actually the precise moment when I realised that something had gone badly wrong.

SelfieWhat’s up Doc?

FizzIt’s only that my perishing boots have perished!

For the rest of the day I will be sloshing about in a boot full of muddy water.

Perishing BootsIt’s a good job that we don’t mind getting our feet wet.

FizzIt’s too deep. We’ll have to turn back.

FizzWait! You can’t leave me here.


FizzShe is like a Cat when it comes to water. She loves mud but she does not swim.

FizzWell the path dried a bit and she had her fun.



FizzThis is where we are heading. As the track turns to a gravel road this is where we find the Coltsfoot.

Badger AlleyBut not today. Not on January the 16th, it is too early. There was no sign of Primrose, not even rosettes and no Coltsfoot.

Nice woods though.


WoodsWe will just have to slosh our way home again.

I need a carry!


FizzBad, bad man!


FizzYou are so lucky that I was here. You would have lost that ball.

FizzWell that was about all of our fun for today. It didn’t add up to much but it is January still.

FizzThe Sheep are all safe and happy at the bottom of the garden. I have been given my own little haystack and instructions to feed them half a bale a day until the farmer returns. That shouldn’t be too difficult 🙂

SheepAll that remains to do is to show you today’s wildflower. It is Sticky Mouse Ear.

Cerastium glomeratum, The Sticky Mouse Ear

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)Sticky Mouse Ear flowers from April to September in fields and meadows. It is often found on farmland.

It is very similar to the closely related Common Mouse Ear, Cerastium fontanum so here are a few differences to look out for.

Sticky Mouse Ear is also known as Clustered Mouse Ear, The flowers  are clustered together in a tight flower head. Common Mouse Ear flowers are more spread out.

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)The green sepals of Sticky Mouse Ear are sometimes tipped with red. The entire plant is covered with fine hairs and at the tip of each hair is a small gland that secretes a sticky substance that gives the whole plant a slightly sticky feel.

Characteristically the hairs on the sepals extend beyond the tips of the sepals, with Common Mouse Ear they don’t.

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)The flower of Sticky Mouse Ear has five sepals and five, notched, white petals. It has ten stamens and five styles. It is quite a small flower, each petal being about 4mm long.

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)The leaves are oval, 10 -20 mm long and grow in opposite pairs. They are hairy on both sides.

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum) Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)   Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)   Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)The plant can reach about 45 cm (18 inches) in height.

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)The seeds are contained in a papery fruit capsule that is about 10mm long.

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)As the fruit ripens the end opens to release the seeds. The opening terminates in ten small teeth.

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)Sticky Mouse Ear is a member of the Pink or Carnation family, a family that also includes the Campions. I can see several similarities between this and the hairy Red Campion. It is native to the UK and Europe but it is present on most continents as an introduced species.

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Caryophyllales

Family: Caryophyllaceae

Genus: Cerastium

Species: Cerastium glomeratum

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)

Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum)Wildflowers in winter.

The Beauty Parlour

It is a lovely foggy morning and I am stuck inside. Why? I just had a phone call.

Can you leave Fizz until the afternoon, she’s getting her hair done today.”

Fizz“Really, so soon? Okay.”

Now be honest fellas (I am talking to the gentlemen now) If your wife or girlfriend announced that she was getting her hair done… I mean on a scale of one to ten…?

You would probably want to set yourself some little reminders, right?

ReminderIf you find that is not the case with Fizz then, face it, she has you wrapped around her little finger.

This is what she looked like last time. 😀

FizzDo you want to know her secret, ladies?

She is a master of timing.

She lets herself go a bit, not in any perceptible way but just enough so that her visit to the salon makes a difference. It is all about choosing the right moment.

FizzThis is just a preview of today’s post. Shortly we will be “Messing the Dog up again!” Also my next post may include some nature notes and possibly some mud 🙂

A Guelder Rose but no Gorillas.

We had to revise our plan for today. It was a bit misty.

It just seemed too dangerous to take Fizz out on the road, we could get knocked over and traumatise a motorist.

There was a little dog sitting underneath my window who wanted me to come out and play..

FizzPlan B then. The fog was coming down heavy. We would go and look for Gorillas in the mist (that’s where they live. Right?)

MistI put Fizz in charge of watching the trees, we don’t want anything jumping down on us and I was in charge of the little things.

MistThe first little thing that I found was rose hips, from a proper rose a Dog Rose.

Rose hipsBut not all of those berries are tasty rose hips, some of them are Black Bryony.

Black BryonyWe are going to see a lot of berries today.

MistHawthorn berries are everywhere.


Hawthorn berriesThis next little mushroom is one of the Mycena. That is a genus of fungi with several hundred species. Many of which can only be separated with a microscope. I can’t get it to species from these pictures but it is a pretty one. These are often collectively referred to as Bonnets.

Unidentified Fungi

Unidentified Fungi

Unidentified Fungi

Unidentified FungiKeep watching the trees please!

MistI am bent over examining the ground and at any moment something big might jump down and land on my back with a thump. What’s my lookout doing?

Lookout FizzMessing about! Although, I am not sure how much she can see out of her haircut anyway.

Lookout FizzThere are many more berries to come. These are Black Bryony again. The profusion of these poisonous berries delights me.

Black Bryony

Black BryonyAll around I am seeing signs of winter. These Ivy berries will be a feature of January when they have ripened.

Ivy Berries

Ivy Berries

Ivy Berries

Ivy BerriesLambs Tails are forming on the Hazel ready for January too.

Hazel CatkinBehind these catkins is the plant that we have come to see.

I first photographed these berries in January, there were far fewer berries then and there were no leaves on the tree. I didn’t know what it was and so I told myself that I would come and look at it in the summer and then I forgot.

Guelder Rose This time we have leaves.

Guelder Rose These are the fruits of the Guelder Rose, Viburnum opulus.

Guelder Rose It is a member of the Adoxaceae family. That means that it is related more closely to the Elder tree and the lovely little Town Hall Clock than to the roses.

Guelder Rose

Guelder Rose

Guelder Rose

Guelder Rose

Guelder Rose Well, I have missed the green leaves of summer and the white flowers that would have bloomed in June but at least we have got the berries and we know what it is.

These actually look like they must be related to Elderberries, don’t you think?

Viburnum opulusThis post just goes on and on, I just want to show you one more thing and then we will head back.

We are right at the end of Badger Alley now and this is where I think that the Beast of Badger Alley lives. On one side of the track there is woodland.

WoodlandOn the other side of the track there is impenetrable scrub. This is a tangle of Brambles, Hawthorn, Blackthorn anything with thorns on it.

Last winter I tried to press into this scrub, just a little bit to photograph some bright rose hips and as I went in an animal was startled and went crashing deeper into the bush. It was making more noise than me, it was big. Not a Fox, it was the Beast of Badger Alley but I didn’t see it, I only heard it moving.

ScrubOkay we had better hurry back now.

Just ignore the pretty little bird. It is just guarding it’s territory.


RobinI took loads of pictures of this Common Hogweed but we will rush past this one as well.


HogweedAnd the last thing that we won’t look at will be little Herb Robert.

Herb Robert

Herb Robert

Herb RobertThat’s it. We were out for ages and we still didn’t see a Gorilla. Maybe Fizz scared them all off.


FizzI was going to show you how muddy she was when I dropped her off but you can probably guess.

Muddy Fizz


17/11 Update: We received a tip off from the very kind Mar’yana Svarnyk in the comments section, advising us to take a look at the beautiful red seeds of the Guelder Rose. Thank you so much. (These pictures will be in my upcoming post, “The hunt for Red November” but also here for anyone searching for Guelder Rose)

Guelder Rose Berries

Guelder Rose Berries and seeds

Guelder Rose seedsTake care when extracting the seeds, I recommend wearing eye protection. The fruits are very juicy.

Guelder Rose juice

Nod the Dog

Just a quick post to fill the gap.

Yesterday Fizz had an idea for a very funny video that she was going to call, “Man loses toupee.”

The idea was that with the camera set high above us, I would walk on to the scene and be bald and she would dance around my feet pretending to be the toupee that I was trying to retrieve.

It nearly worked but in the end she decided there just wasn’t enough baldness in shot and so she abandoned that idea.

Shame, it would have been so funny to have a good laugh at me. Instead here is the video that I made.

Aw! Poor little Fizz.

Lying in puddles




IvyThere has been a simple misunderstanding here. I was not lying in a puddle, I was moisturising . Even tough guys have to look after their skin. She is only a puppy so I understand….


She is not really a water dog.

FizzI see that I’ve changed my Gravatar.

No, it’s cool. I thought maybe that we could have one with both of us in it. I have got one that I use on Google….


HollyThe weather has been really against us these last few days but I thought that you would enjoy these excerpts from our walks.

FizzWe are not walking along a stream bed in this next video this is a footpath.

I few days ago I started a conversation with a fellow in Australia. I became fascinated with their practice of burning grassland and brush before the available fuel builds up to dangerous levels. It is so different from the UK. Here dead wood habitat is vital to our biodiversity and burning dead wood is the worst waste of a very valuable and scarce resource. Australia is a very different country and the UK is very wet. I shouldn’t complain.




The other silly thing that happened to me was that I offered to help a fellow set up a CCTV system because he was borrowing my trail camera and I wanted it back. Wow that went pear shaped. I had told him that I could do it but then he wanted the system to run through his lap top and that created big problems until yesterday we went out and bought a monitor. Ever said that you could do something and then wished that you hadn’t volunteered yourself?


BrackenSo it is seven o’clock on Saturday morning and outside it is tipping down. We are so lucky to live in this green and pleasant land.

Catch up Poochy!

PoochySpring is coming.

Unidentified Wildflower

Lots to do today but before I start, this flower is annoying the heck out of me.

I am sure that I used to know it well and I just cannot remember what it is. No, my mind is a complete blank.

I know that I should seek expert help but I am too embarrassed, anyway there are a lot of really clever people that stop by this blog and I am sure that one of you will know what it is.

It was growing way out in the forest at the bottom of a valley, very damp ground and quite open, so lots of sunshine.









P1820447Now did anyone see what I did with my marbles? I can’t seem to find them…

Himalayan Balsam (sort of)

We had a power interruption for six hours today. Something to do with the need to lop branches from trees and they had to turn us off while they did it.

Fizz and I went for a walk in the forest and we got lost.  It was one of those times when we didn’t need to take a compass, we won’t be going that far.


We took a wrong turn and wandered for about an hour and while we were wandering we came across this little beauty.

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan BalsamII knew what it was but I still had to look twice and double check because I have never seen it growing in the middle of the forest like this before.

Himalayan BalsamJust one little plant all on it’s own. It looked so sweet, I had to think, “What’s all the fuss about?”

This isn’t a very good depiction of the habit. Himalayan Balsam normally grows eight to ten feet tall in huge stands. It is an invasive non-native species usually found on river banks where it smothers all the native plants. It spreads quickly along rivers because the seed pods have an explosive action that throws the seeds up to twenty feet from the parent plant and they are carried downstream to establish themselves further along the express way.

Almost every country in the world has a problem with Himalayan Balsam.

It is a very pretty flower.

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan BalsamIt is probably just being pretty that has caused all of the problems. It was originally brought here as a garden plant. People deliberately spread the seed into the wild. There are well documented cases of individuals who purposely spread seed along river banks and carried it to Ireland, just to spread the joy.

If it had stayed like the one that I am showing you today there would be no problem. A pretty solitary little wildflower to find once in a while on a woodland walk.

It doesn’t stay like this, it is a monster unleashed and our poor little Bramble and Bracken and Nettles just can’t cope with it.

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan BalsamWe should have ate this one. The whole plant is edible but read that as not poisonous, it is not very good.