Where does the time go? Christmas has been and gone, as have the New Year celebrations and here we are already at the end of January's first week. I'm beginning to understand those lines of William Davies' "We have no time to stand and stare...". Not that my life has too many cares fortunately and, of course, I'm exceptionally lucky living where I do and working outdoors - I have plenty of time "... to see, when woods we pass ..."
Continuing on from my review of the first six months ...
July: we had a rare fine evening in a year filled mostly with rain, an opportunity for the lucky few to go hot air ballooning. We had a surprise visitor when Charles Teall, who lives a few miles away, dropped unexpectedly into the secret valley. We joined him and his balloon team for drinks by the river, a lovely way to end a flight. Some years earlier Charles had flown me across the Cotswolds before landing to a champagne breakfast - but that's another story.
Another surprise was when I found an abandoned bantam egg and hatched it out, capturing the moment on video, now uploaded to YouTube. You can watch it by clicking here.
August: You don't go on holiday to Ireland for the weather, especially the west coast lashed as it is by frequent Atlantic Ocean storms. To everyone's great surprise, we had unbroken sunshine and high temperatures day after day. We even swam in the millpond calm sea. At night we were treated to the most glorious sunsets, every evening more dramatic than the previous one.
September: Britain has a long and proud history but we tend to forget about the days before the Conquest in 1066. We had been invaded and settled many times prior to that but the Romans left us with a road system that is still much used today. Their houses have long since disappeared although there are many excavated ruins that can be visited. Cirencester was one of the premier cities of the time and the museum there houses many artefacts including some remarkably intact mosaics, the subject of a post.
October: Their are numerous new diseases affecting our trees and one species that has been hit badly is the Horse Chestnut. The leaves become infected with leaf miners and cankers weaken the tree further. This, in time, may kill the tree but short-term affects the quality of their fruit - the conkers of childhood games.
November: Trees also featured this month along with a visit to my earliest schooldays. The larch was my introduction to nature cleverly made magical by my school teacher, Miss Vine. Larch still are my favourite tree: we have a good number of them here in the secret valley where they give me still as much pleasure at all times of the year as they did all those years ago.
December: With the year whizzing by there were no posts this month other than to wish you all a happy holiday and start this review with the first six months of the year.
Every year has its memories but 2012 will be recalled as the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics. 2013 looks like being an especially memorable one for me but you will have to wait a little longer before I reveal all!
And just in case we are all rushing about far too much let us remember the words of William Davies:
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad day light,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
Leisure from Songs of Joy and Others, 1911