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

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

pulling your leg (15/July/18)

strange and disturbing dreams, should I be surprised?… nope, when are they not one or the other… or both?…… it’s quiet… too quiet… not really, just pulling your leg, trying to inject an air of mystery, drama, whatever into this piece of prosery… ‘suppose I’ve blown that now…… “pulling your leg”, now there’s a curious idiom, its origins are still a mystery though theories abound none of which are proven and even some utterly implausible, though it may come from something to do with distraction… and anyway, I like quiet, though when I really put my ear to it it’s not actually over-quiet at all… a goldfinch is trickling away from a treetop somewhere, a car further back in the soundscape motors past, the collared dove as well coo-cooing and most likely flying his usual circle around and over the garden from one perch at one end to another, a telephone pole, at the other, keeping a watchful eye, watchful dark eyes which have a tendency to give it an expression of friendly, benign but are in fact fiercely territorial against others of their ilk protecting its patch whose edges only it can discern…… of course there’s the usual noise in my ear/ head/ somewhere inside there anyway, my internal variations on their own incessant theme… the odd jackdaw ca(w)lls too, inevitable as there are so many and even more since mass fledging…. I think I hear the sea, or might be the leaves lolling in the breeze and bothering branches or it could just be the air, the sound of air wilful and free teasing the trees, ruffling feathers, seeping through open windows… of course it’s the sound of air you dolt, how else do you think sound makes sound… and tick-tock, the subtle harangue of the clock, time vanishing, dissolving, sloughing, shedding, or even shredding….

© 2018 robert greig