Monday, 26 July 2010

An inconsequential weekend....

What is it about weekends? Friday evening promises much and within a gnats crotchet of time I'm driving back down the M4 from Wiltshire on a Monday morning to begin another week at work.

Friday : Or more accurately Friday evening

After a day at the coal face that is Wildlife Broadcasting in Bristol I arrived at my weekend retreat in Wiltshire ready for an experiment. Following a shower and fresh clean clothing we ventured out into the garden for sustenance and clutching a fortifying bottle of alcoholic grape juice. My plan over the weekend was to build and have a play with a home made moth trap (being far too mean to buy a proper one). I am absolutely hopeless with moths and as many bloggers and friends are now becoming expert, I feel I should improve my knowledge.

However on Friday night; possibly something to do with the inbibement of pino grigio, a mellow thought wafted over me. I wonder what will happen if I just place a bright light outside, given the garden is surrounded by fields? Moths will fly in in their hundreds and I can sit there identifying them to my hearts content. Well I have to say it was a dismal failure. Over an hour a handful of micro - moths aimlessly flew by and then we went to bed, with a plan to build a proper device on Saturday. Which Saturday I'm not saying, needless to say though, it's a plan unburdened by activity so far.

Saturday: Wiltshire, Berkshire, Gloucestershire

Julie had a noon appointment in Berkshire on Saturday, so we planned to have a leisurely start and then quickly pop to one of her gardens for me to help her with a bit of tying up then on for a coffee, perusal of antique shops and the afternoon stretching before us. At the garden in question we were met a terrifying guard dog of gargantuan proportions. He's a terrier puppy, full of life and bounded across the lawns to play with us. A peaceful morning it was not, as he has the energy and enthusiasm only puppy's have. He just never stopped. He's lovely though.

The garden however is huge and includes fields and a wildlife area. This made up for the mothing fiasco the evening before. Julie left me to check on the greenhouses and I wandered through a wealth of wildflowers awash with butterflies. Sadly I don't have a good macro camera at the moment for photos, but the following were in abundance. Common blue, and 2 Adonis Blue, Brimstone, Large and Small White, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell. Hundreds of hover flies and bees buzzed about and grasshoppers churred everywhere. I'd love to go there and spend the day identifying them.

All too soon though we headed to town. After a coffee, Julie went for her appointment and I strolled through the myriad of antique shops the town had to offer. There I spied in one of the book shops Highways and Byways in Dorset by Sir Frederick Treves (1853 to 1923) who I've since found out was also the author of the Elephant Man. This was a second edition, 1935, in reasonable condition for £8. Julie had joined me by this time and she found for herself a Ladybird Book "What to look for in Autumn" book, which reminded her of her childhood, so that was purchased along with the Dorset guide and we left Hungerford a happy couple. I was especially happy as Julie bought me the Dorset book. A nice surprise.

We hadn't eaten so found ourselves by a method only we appreciate in a wonderful Organic Farm Shop just outside Cirencester called strangely enough The Organic Farm Shop. I've not been here before, but I'd recommend it for the food and the feel of a real organic farm shop and not somewhere selling organic products. Fed and watered we wound our way home via the Wooton Basset area, so we were back in Wiltshire. Julie has a client here called Barbara, more of a friend really. So on the spur of the moment we popped in, and after tea and cakes, I cut her large lawn and we left. Barbara is a wealth of knowledge and has a very sprightly mind for a 91 year old. We love talking to her and her past as she has lived all over the world and still has a mind which is looking forward. I hope I am like that in my dotage. Positive and fun to be with.

I'm also hoping as she has a huge wasps nest being built in a clematis that when the wasps leave later in the year, I can detach the nest and photograph it for the blog. Wasps are natures good guys with a bad press and their nests are absolutely stunning inside with their airflow regulation chambers.

Sunday - oh dear, it was all going so well too !!

A quiet day in the garden. Julie asked me if I'd sharpen her tools so as I sat there she suggested I needed some protection on my head from the sun. The resulting photograph is slightly disturbing. I can only apologise.

All in all a very relaxing weekend...... that photograph does worry me......... !!!!


  1. I know what you mean about the moth trap, I bought a wind up lamp (very green!) and plonked it on the patio to attract moths.... I waited, and waited and waited. I saw a nice round number....0!!!
    I have the Dorset book and I had no idea he wrote the Elephant man too.
    Following your new blog now, good one!

  2. Ohhh how we wildlife watchers have fun eh Goosey.....? Thank you for your comment. My other idea is to build an aeolean wind harp.... watch this fiasco develop in coming months. A