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

bowling for gulls (16/June/18)

there be gulls nesting by the bowling green… not quite dragons I know but they give a good dive-bombing and shout, boy do they shout when one dares step across that invisible threshold within striking distance of the white-washed brick edifice underscored with moderately-comfortable wooden-slat seating where one would normally perch ones bottom to drink in the long view, way down the Strait to a and far, far away, to the wind turbines dutifully lined in tidy array harvesting breezes with a turn of the screw… sit oneself on the other side of the shelter gazing westward and be confronted with bowls, truly the beautiful game and not that antagonistic football, played by gentlefolk, of the fiercely competitive kind, with the focus of hawks and a humble gentility (as humble as the fiercely-competitive can be) the epitome of sportsmanship, unless… there’s no game  to which one can turns one attention to an empty green shaved within an inch of its root that as flat as a pancake with tiny trickeries of subtle undulations over this over-groomed surface here and there that only the keen or experienced bowler will see, beyond which the bridge ever-looming and framing the scene with familiar intent… and then there be gulls who have chosen the roof of the shelter to furnish a nest to harbour their eggs which in turn become hatchlings which in turn become chicks they protect with a fervour, with cries and with screams, swoops and with squawks and the finely-tuned eyes against all and any weary unwary soul seeking refuge, a sit with a view only to find, for now at least, that until comes a time that the gulls deem to fledge their welcome will surely be less than welcoming… so for now there be gulls, the shelter-gulls, who I bet when no one is looking might sneak in a quick game of bowls for themselves………

© 2018 robert greig