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

the nose hat or naming gulls (15/Jan/18)

watching the wind shaking the leafless trees reminding it that winter’s still here and not to grow leaves too soon, keep the counsel of your roots just where they are and have been for months now, among the worms and hibernating pupae…

underfoot the mystery exceeds the myth where the unimaginable remains unimagined, which sounds all good and well as long as you’re not out in the elements as I was stalking the beach while a single gull stalked me held upon air from invisible string watching me, watching me, what is it thinking?… food, obviously, it’s always food and when it isn’t it’s sex, or reproduction… does it know it’s making babies or simply following instinct so innately ingrained?……

but mostly it’s food, which is now what I was thinking about as the wind behind me drove me step by step long the wavering shoreline…… in and out, in and out, just like the windsurfers… windsurfers! in this weather?… here’s me in layers of layers and still feeling the bite and they’re windsurfing in wetsuits decidedly wet teasing the wind with an is-that-all-you-got attitude…… not for me, not for me, I know when I’m beat and I’ve been beat for years now no longer feeling my fingertips and my nose wishing it wore a little hat… a nose hat, now wouldn’t that be cute…

stepping over apocalyptically-strewn piles of discarded seaweed from the last storm and despite the blue sky another is on the way…… but fear not, I’ll be back safely ensconced inside my cave when I eventually get back there and should the gull follow me I’ll give him a name… but he didn’t so it remains gullonomously nameless……

and anyway the gull who perches every day on top of the church roof cross would be decidedly cross as after all these years I’ve still failed to christen him at all, if indeed either are hims as equally they could be hers, ‘tis impossible to tell with a gull who is the he and who is the she……… if I was to name a gull, or a pair of gulls, one male one female then I could consider Larry… Larry for Larus, the scientific genus of these gulls, and Harriet being a homophonous twist on their common name, Herring gull…

ok, a bit of a stretch but solves my nominative dilemma… Larry and Harriet, I feel some avian tales coming on…….