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

no rain today (11/July/18)

what I learned today, well yesterday actually now as I put pen/ finger to paper/ keyboard… the middle day of the year is 2nd July, I just worked it out, day 183 (excluding leap years which mess it up a bit) and yet no one pays it a blind bit of attention, maybe it can be recognised (or not!) as Neglected Day…… I just worked out that it hasn’t rained here, on Anglesey that is, since 20th June and it’s now the 11th July with no sign of rain in the forecast until next week at the earliest even if it happens at all… this is almost unprecedented, as is that since mid-June and even before the temperatures have lingered in and above the middle twenties and even thirties Celsius…… who needs water anyway when we have climate change and endless sunbathing opportunities for the feckless and ignorant… but then…
it rained!….
… on the very day I said it hasn’t rained since… were those the magic words all along?… who’d have thought…… although the first attempt was merely a few globlets of rain which lasted all of two minutes and 10 seconds… ‘ish… yes, I timed it, I’m that sad…… but then…
a little more which lasted longer over half an hour and even though dampened the patio was still barely enough to bother a rain gauge… and then…
a rainbow!…
… of all things and barely took any rain to make one but there it was, faint, incomplete, hanging like an apology and no explanation as to where it and its cohort rain had been all these weeks… it grew more rainbow bit by bit weirdly sliding across the sky as it did it’s wake fading as it did like dissipating vapour trails…… and then…
it stopped raining…
… I think the plants were quite disappointed at this anti-climax as it barely touched the soil beneath them never mind enough to leach down to their roots…… then I went to bed, sleep, woke around 4am, peeked, it had rained more, wasn’t now but clear evidence, ever-so slightly moister paving stones and even a few leaves still retained a glisten or two… so hah!…. it had sneakily precipitated overnight but again immeasurable in anything but nanomillimetres, but still… it ‘rained’, or got a bit damp…. so here we are, day 192 past the point of no return in a year of two halves, or twelve twelfths, or 365 three hundred and sixty fifths……… I never said my maths was great…..

© 2018 robert greig

neutered nature (4/July/18)

it’s been weeks now, thought I better mention it at least, since it rained and not a drop since, nor a drop in temperatures which have increasingly increased and keep increasing with no let-up in sight… how strange you might think, complaining about the weather like this when it’s such ‘good’ weather… ‘good’, along with a plethora of other hyperbole litterly-strewn about like, well litter, about how wonderful it is to be day-after-day sun-sun-sun and more importantly no rain…… good for who?…

and no rain, eh“yay! for global warming!” goes the frivolously ignorant rant…… if only they could see beyond their sun, sea and sangria blinkered mindset considering the implications of that, as are the plants, many of which are dying back, some in fact dying their leaves wilting following by early leaf-drop, pollen-levels through the roof adding to the ever-increasing levels of dust obscuring the air, pests and diseases are having a field day, literally, this is their time (perhaps that’s why some of the less-informed/ imaginative humans enjoy it so much being, as they say, in their element?), insects numbers increasing, skin cancers, extraordinary numbers of hospital admissions (sunburn, heat-stroke, fatigue, hayfever, dehydration, allergies and yes even flu), work absenteeism increased, and worst of all, water, water every… where’s the water gone?…

hosepipe ban?…. preposterous! this nanny-State isn’t going to tell me what to do, I shall use however much I like, I’m a tax-payer you know!

rails buckling, roads melting, as the sleepless, short-fused hoards reach for rage to blame everyone and everything but the weather for their flagging moods, noise gets noisier, impatience grows impatienter, stupid grows stupider……

meanwhile the current football fervour/ fever should be emblazoned with the slogan (or health warning) “Eat junk, get drunk!” as shop shelves are pillaged by cheap polyester-clad hoards with all things sugary-snacky and alcoholic……

the thing even though this heatwave may be normal in some parts of the world but it isn’t here, and where I live quite possibly unprecedented… it’s a glitch, unnatural, and worryingly tracking a pattern of other meteorological glitches defined by extremes, and when the rain does come, and it will, the soil will have become baked and incapable of soaking it up and having become parched loosening tree roots with detrimental effects… flooding is inevitable…… it’s the small things, and the not-so small things…

meanwhile, concrete and tarmac consuming green-space in the name of ‘progress’, streets trees becoming extinct in the name of ‘health and safety’, gardens sold-off for housing.. I could go on… instead of nurturing nature we are neutering nature at every turn, to some it’s even the enemy yet just like beaches and sand dunes, flood-plains and woodlands, even parks, all act as natural defences, natural allies, in temperature regulation, shade, pollution-absorption, and peoples general health which isn’t just some crank myth perpetuated by tree-huggers……

don’t get me wrong, I like sun, love it in fact, I’m not all doom and gloom, but the balance is skewed, outside and inside the minds of many too many who fail to see beyond their own sunburned noses, who make hay while the sun shines, as the saying goes, forgetting that hay also, for better or worse, needs rain.

© 2018 robert greig