I’ve developed something of an obsession with bees this summer. If they are really endangered, then so are we, maybe I wanted to just really notice them, or maybe I just like bees.





Buzzing bees is a sound of summer. I love to watch bumble bees work, filling their pollen sacks. I have to confess, to take these pictures I did not take the dog, she lacks patience when it comes to photography!!


When it’s too warm to walk…

Today it was 30′C, so this evening we went to Coniston water in the Lake District and swam.
Labradors love to swim and swimming with them is a joy, though I would advise a wet suit to stop any scratches. The dog does like to swim into my arms and climb onto my back. She adores swimming. Coniston has some shallow shores, though it shelves away sharply, so me and the dog could splash around together.
No words have more magic than ‘English Summer’.


Breaking in my new boots.

It’s always sad to admit a pair of boots have come to the end of their life. My old boots were full of holes and actually giving me back ache, so I had to admit it was time for some new ones. Me and the dog are off on our holiday in a few weeks so I though I’d better make sure my new bots were fit for purpose.
I did try to take my old boots to the recycling bin but I just couldn’t find one for shoes, so they are just sat by the washing machine awaiting their fate.
To begin to break in the boots, me and the dog went into the canal. I’ve never noticed how much water lilies look like boiled egged before, but I really thought this one did!

The bulrushes are also growing tall and strange, not flower, not grass.


I also really wished I had a good camera instead of just my trusty iphone4s. The white blob in the black and white picture was really a wagtail. There was a whole family of them in the stream but I couldn’t get close enough to take a picture. I thought I’d share it as a mistake!
No blisters to report from the new boots but the Himalayan balsam is now really immense, towering above the hedgerow and blocking the native plants from sight. In fact, parts of the green lane feel like a set for ‘Day of the Triffids’!



Make hay whilst the sun still shines

Hay making still happens here and there.
When I was a child in the 1970′s the hay making season was a major event. It was so labour intensive, people used to take time off work to help out and we would lay trestle tables in the meadow after the hay was cut, filling them with sandwiches, cakes and jellies set in paper flower bowls. Now it is rare to see hay bales, farmers usually preferring the big rolls of hay they can wrap in plastic and preserve for winter fodder. Cut, rolled and wrapped by one man and his tractor.
Today, my car needed servicing and me and the dog walked home from the mechanic’s, a different route back towards our usual walking habitats. This meadow lies between the M6 motorway and the west coast mainline, a strip of land out of time. The hay bales were stacked to dry out, ready for collection. As children, we used to make houses from the bales and play in the sweet smell of itchy straw. I think that even if local children did come into the field they would not spend an afternoon playing house among hay bales!
So, me and the dog walked back home, passing under the railway line. This sections always reminds me of a Neil Gaiman short story, where a troll lurks to eat up people’s lives, so we didn’t linger before walking back to the canal and home.


Troll’s breath

Under the canal bridge, water has dripped for centuries creating tiny stalactites and strange formations.
I used to tell my daughter that this was frozen troll’s breath. We were safe because it was frozen, but you must always check. Trolls are much tricker than their reputation…