gone to seed (18/July/18)

the wallflower outside my patio door is dropping its flowers, red lippy affairs, bleeding their deep corpuscular red onto lifeless paving… gone to seed I suppose, or going, like the fennel the same although I have arrested some by beheading them before the flower heads can form, sounds cruel I know but it’s normal for herbs and allows them to keep leafing and temporary halts their going to seed, and as the leaves are the predominantly edible bits then all’s fair in love and gardening…. I let some go to seed, much to the hoverflies pleasure, producing stunning yellow parasols… going to seed is often seen as not a great thing and usually means “this is the end, beautiful friend” as the song goes… going to seed and then gone to seed yet still alive and kicking… just… so many grasses this year have gone prematurely so to seed, I’ve never seen them so yellow, in fact so much yellow, or more a straw-colour, pale, blanched, bleached almost having grown tall, tumbled, drawn by the weight of their seeds some of which already husks and weakening of stems, too big for their boots or heads maybe…… an old blue tractors been hay-cutting in the neighbouring field in a scene that could be from 70 years ago leaving piled rows in wobbly lines of what become the driest grass ever I think despite a slight cooling and a little rain, not enough to do much but give false hope to the armies of the gone-to-seed…… reading a recent university alumni magazine to find towards the back a page of obituaries, selected I imagine as surely many more previous students, all fellow alumnus though few of us know each other, must have died between issues, and made me wonder of all those others unmentioned, unremembered, un’anything who remain forever unwritten… how many who graduated the same year as me are now gone with the wind, dust to dust and all that malarkey, going, going gone to seed until they’ve just gone…… the wallflower’s leaves remains dark green and determined, even with roots in nothing more than a concrete crack… how on earth has it managed through near-drought without even wilting never mind giving up the ghost entirely but here it is having managed on nothing more than hand-out from a bit of dew here and fleeting shower there… how little it needs and how much it gives……

© 2018 robert greig

leave to remain (17/July/18)

I don’t think one should be labelled a ‘rebel’ merely by disagreeing with someone or something or even the loudest opinion or dominating viewpoint, which is exactly what those who are branded ‘remainers’ are called, and derogatorily so… it’s become and now used as an insult, even a threat, and is irresponsible, if not a little puerile, as it can have and has had the result of inflaming and inciting acts of belittling, bullying, violence and even murder and yet not only are newspapers and other media, in particular the right-wing press and tabloids, but also so-called responsible politicians and others holding high positions of influence and authority… such is the language of the sinking ship Brexit and the whole debacle surrounding it that the ripple effects are becoming ever-evident and increasingly felt by the day, even by the Tweet…… it’s feeding a negative politic and bellicose discourse dominated by knee-jerk reactionaries to the degree as to make confrontation the norm, making aggression a default setting…… alternative and even directly oppositional views are essential to any discussion and debate in avoiding disintegrating into extremism, echo-chambers  and the right-wing agendas which are under Brexit becoming the only gig in town suffocating  the issue doing little more than compounding and promoting one misunderstanding after another and further misleading the already misinformed further into ignorance rather than out of it…… inevitably this may be the intention of those who have self-styled themselves as ‘leavers’… alongside this a new polarity has evolved in the rhetoric in seeing rebels as ‘idealists’ and leavers and ‘realists’ which again leans heavily upon propaganda over facts, hyperbole over considered debate… remainers have been further coined ‘re-moaners’ and accused of going against “the will of the people” which again serves the interests of those whose only interest is almost divide and conquer, cleave a rift between the two sides ever wider and unbridgeable with increased (un)helpings of antagonistic wordplay… it also plays into the hands of the simplistic scenario of good vs evil and by being at the wrong end of a pointy finger stands you accused of “going against the will [so-called] of the people” placing you firmly on the side equated to that of a traitor, another term found carelessly-strewn through speeches and headlines …… it fails to consider another crucial factor, whether or not these long two years after the referendum, during which time it’s more has been exposed of the smoke and mirrors, lies, lies and damn lies that was involved in influencing a ‘leave’ vote with what worryingly passed as ‘campaigning’ during the few short months prior to the vote, whether or not it still genuinely reflected aspirations, especially those which were even at the time starkly and closely split down the middle and that it still hasn’t been enacted… another misconception is that the debate is simplistically split between two opposing camps, both of which have overlaps and in-fighting along with which are a number of other opinions and approaches to Brexit, including those who were more in favour of amending the European Union relationship and not entirely abandoning it outright…… it is not a simple black and white, good and evil, right and wrong, as those too lazy to engage their brains want to believe and those with something to hide would prefer, not a ‘divorce’ nor “reclaiming sovereignty over our borders”, yet another ill-judged, ill-advised, jingoistic catchphrase, it’s essentially a mess, a mass of contradictions, a mass distraction, misleading delusion, a sleight of hand.

© 2018 robert greig

of gorse! (16/July/18)

… and another thing, Anglesey seems to have a county flower, the Spotted Rock-rose, Tuberaria guttata, which curiously is not that well-known and not everywhere here, I wonder what the value is of having a symbol for a place that hardly anyone even knows let alone has seen, irrespective of it being an attractive plant and of conservation importance, but not it seems so much cultural importance which I would think may be a more significant reason for a choice… but what is ubiquitous and evident throughout the year is one of which it is said that if there’s ever a time it’s not in flower somewhere then love is lost, so the lore goes, ’m talkin’ ‘bout Gorse, Ulex spp, like the rock-rose also yellow but there the similarities end… it boasts spiny green leaves, smells of coconut, found in hedgerows, actually even making entire hedges on its own, on dunes, in gardens, on moor, rocky outcrops and often the thinnest of soil, bog, grassland, roadside verges, it’s everywhere you turn and I’d say pretty much everyone knows what it is with perhaps the exception of people to dim to notice anything beyond their own nose…. but it’s already been proven time and time again, no one listens to me anyway…. there doesn’t seem to be a bird for the county yet and it’d probably be either brave or foolish of me to suggest one so strong and vociferous can emotions be with regard to birds, favourite or otherwise… so… call me brave or foolish, or both, because I’m risking it and nominating the Herring Gull… I hear gasps of shock, horror, disbelief!… are you mad?!… well, a bit yes, but I bet no one else has it as theirs, quite possibly because it arouses strong opinions but it’s certainly an underdog, which is a strange thing to say about a bird but ‘underbird’ just doesn’t sound right…. it’s a grossly misunderstood bird all too often blamed for our own actions and faults and probably suffers at the hands of anthropomorphism more than any other bird… perhaps less controversial choices would be the Raven or the Barn Owl, Chough though I think Cornwall’s already bagged that one, or Puffin though some where’s bound to have snaffled that one too, all for good reasons of course, perhaps a little obvious but hey, remember I am the one suggesting Herring Gull… outliers in a poll might be the Sandwich Tern though only a summer breeder, not unlike another fave of mine the rare and overlooked Black Guillemot…… there’s my mixed bag of feathers to comb over…… county mammal?.. well there aren’t many to choose from and the most we have of any are sheep though they wouldn’t fulfill the brief of not being at least a wild animal and for all there ae some bolshie sheep none are technically wild… so I’d go with Otter though, Brown Hare or Red Squirrel though I think the latter would be a disingenuous choice… what about the Rabbit?… certainly no shortage of them and like sheep, everywhere… what about a county beetle?….  ok, time to stop now………

© 2018 robert greig