‘Origen’s Theory of The Universe’ over Blueberries and Breakfast!

Blueberries for breakfast and white roses from Dolton - Christopher's table‘One’ of my most treasured memories from my stay up North – was breakfast time with the Professor. I’d come down to a beautifully laid table – with hot toast in a rack, proper butter in a dish and homemade Marmalade – made by Yaffle himself – plus there was always a bowl of fresh blueberries to dip into over tea ‘n’ toast and conversation…Morning ritual - Yaffle and marmalade on toast

I wish I’d taken a few more videos of the Professor at the breakfast table but alas I didn’t have a phone in hand – in fact I don’t own a mobile phone so I had to rely on Tom’s device – and he wasn’t always up in time for the Breakfast-time Lechur!  And besides the toast would have gone stone cold!

I fondly remember breakfast on the day of my departure…I was treated to a ‘lecture’ with actions and voices – all about Napoleon Bonaparte over tea ‘n’ toast – and blueberries. By this time my cold had developed into full blown flu – and I can remember sitting at the Professor’s table – thinking I really should be capturing this but I just felt too ill – complete with raging temperature – and a five hour journey via rail ahead back to Devon; God my head hurt more at the very thought!  I shall ask Yaffle to retell ‘Napoleon’s Tale’ when next we meet – so that Tom can catch it on camera…  

If I was Director-General at the BBC – I’d give Yaffle his own series – perhaps called the ‘Breakfast Table Lectures’ – or ‘Lechurs’ as Yaffle deliberately misspells! I think my Aunt Sonia summed it up this morning when she emailed me and said “Thank you so much for the tale of such an endearing little mouse, so very sweet and told by The Professor in his mellifluous voice it comes alive again.  Mind you I think he could recite the alphabet and make it sound interesting! Such an erudite man – not stuffy at all and all the more engaging because of it.”  

Here is another treasured video of Professor Yaffle – this time it is “Origen’s Theory of the Universe’… 

PS I’d never heard of Origen let alone his theory before Saturday 20th. May 2017…

Thinking out cloud.

I love that subtle change in the air that denotes the year has turned before June is even out – and because it’s a whiff that can’t be bottled – I took a few photographs to try to capture Autumn’s essence as it pervaded my evening walk – and thoughts – before the rain came in – on Sunday 25th June 2017.Sunday 25th June 2017 - evening walk - weathervaneSunday 25th June 2017 - evening walk - weathervane (2)Sunday 25th June 2017 - evening walk - clouds (1)

Sunday 25th June 2017 - evening walk - clouds (2)Sunday 25th June 2017 - evening walk - clouds (5)Sunday 25th June 2017 - evening walk - hedge

The clouds in motion got me thinking of this old favourite by George Michael. 

Oxford Dreaming…

Oxford's Gleaming Bicycles - 20th June 2017

Shafts of light on one of Oxford’s many bike parks.

A visit to The Ashmolean – the oldest university museum in the World, then to Keble College, to the Chapel –

Keble College Chapel - 20th June 2017

I love the way a passing cloud has cleverly disguised the projecting arm of the huge crane behind the Chapel.

– to stand before my favourite painting in the whole wide World – ‘The Light of the World’ by William Holman Hunt.

The Light of the World - Keble College Oxford. Tuesday 20th June 2017 (1)

The original version painted in 1853.

Version on my wall.

‘My’ version.  An old print of the original on my wall at home.

I was joined on the day, by old Oxonian – Professor Christopher Heywood – and my two lovely sons – Archie and Tom – or ‘The Oxford Party’ as the Professor referred to us collectively.

First portal on our agenda was The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology.    

The entrance door to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. My first dreaming portal...

The grand entrance at going home time – Tuesday 20th. June 2017 – the penultimate day before Summer Solstice.  Gosh what a scorcher of a day!  A day when my ‘expectations’ topped even Oxford’s dreaming spires – and the Mercury!  If I didn’t have this record – I’d think I’d dreamt the whole lot up!

A soaring column at the entrance to the Ashmolean.

A soaring column at the main entrance to the Ashmolean…

Blue sky over The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology 20th. June 2017

Yaffle and passing 'thought' cloud - probably Spinoza again...

Yaffle – and a passing ‘thought’ cloud – probably Spinoza again…

Together we enjoyed a long lunch in the rooftop restaurant before splitting into twos.  While the ‘boys’ went for a recce around Oxford’s shops – I accompanied Yaffle to his research meeting ‘behind closed doors’ with one of the Ashmolean’s conservators – Mr. Jevon Thistlewood – such a wonderful, evocative name – so Ashmolean!

WOW! It was such an unexpected gift – a privilege – to have gone beyond the ‘no access’ doorway.  Almost immediately – I was gobsmacked – (to use one of Yaffle’s Yorkshire expressions) because there resting on a laboratory bench I saw something undreamt;  a magical pair of ancient antlers from ‘The Ark’ of the Tradescants. 

The Tradescant Antlers in Jevon's conservation room - 20-06-2017 (4)I was riveted by them – by their form, their age and by the synchronicity of the situation; them ‘left out’ as I walked in!   I was even given permission to photograph them – ‘only’ the antlers mind – strictly not the laboratory interior. Whilst keeping my distance – I zoomed in to capture the remarkable label on the skullcap…The Tradescant Antlers in Jevon's conservation room - 20-06-2017 (2)The Tradescant Antlers in Jevon's conservation room - 20-06-2017 (3)

My collection of Red Deer Antlers

With thoughts of my other magic finds at home…

“Ashmole’s Antlers” (as Yaffle refers to them) lifted me ever higher – I was on cloud nine for the rest of day – and that was before seeing ‘The Light of the World’!

Cicero statue - Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

“Everything is alive; everything is interconnected.” Cicero.

After exiting the excitement and magic of the conservation lab – Yaffle and I made our way downstairs to the foyer area of the Museum.  Here in the cool gallery – in the presence of Cicero – I left Yaffle to his own devices.  To his Apple Mac – and his Spinoza article in progress…
Back view - Yaffle in the Ashmolean 20th June 2017 (2)Yaffle (5) - Ashmolean Tuesday 20th June 2017Yaffle - Professor Christopher Heywood (1) - Ashmolean Tuesday 20th June 2017

Horse Chestnut - Lamb and Flag Passage (2) - Oxford 20th June 2017

Horse Chestnut - Lamb and Flag passage - OxfordI met up with my sons – and together we set-off for the Chapel. On the way – we enjoyed the dappled light of a huge Horse Chestnut situated in the ‘Lamb and Flag Passage’ – before continuing our purposeful march to Liddon Quad where the Chapel is. We passed under numerous gargoyles and lanterns too…Keble gargoylesLanterns - Keble College - Oxford

Glimpse of Keble College Chapel - 20th June 2017 (window detail)The Chapel is a place that everyone should discover for themselves – there are no words – no photos that can convey the visual impact of opening the mighty oak door and stepping inside the hallowed space of the main chapel.  On a blisteringly hot day outside – the quietness, the coolness – and contrasting darkness inside were thirst quenching to every sense.

Finally – in the sanctuary side-chapel – I stood before ‘The Light of the World’.  Not intensified by the internal and external light sources – the area of the painting that emanated the greatest luminosity appeared to me to be from Christ’s chest.   Allegory aside – ‘The Light of the World’ is a clever painting because it works – it glows from within.  I’m so pleased that I had an opportunity to witness this manifestation for real. The Light of the World - Keble College Oxford - Tuesday 20th June 2017 (3)

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Elias Ashmole - Ashmolean Museum souvenir postcard and fridge magnet

Elias.

The last six words of this post go to the Tradescants (Elder and Younger) and to Elias Ashmole himself.  I wish to acknowledge them in my own small way here – as an appreciation for their collecting mania – and therein – their vision that is the Ashmolean today; it is a treasure trove beyond compare. 

I want to go back to the Ashmolean again and again and again – a day just isn’t enough.  If I lived closer – I’d be through that grand portal every single day – except for Mondays (unless it’s a bank holiday)! 

Thank you Thank you Thank you.

Ashmolean welcome sign

Sheep’s Tor Light Walk.

Elephant Hawk Moth -17th June 2017

(‘Elsa’ – from previous post – ‘Flashes of Schiaparelli Pink.’)

Rather like ‘Elsa’ is to light – I’m drawn every year to an area of Dartmoor where I know I’ll see Lampyris noctiluca – or Glow-worms. Yesterday – 17th June 2017 Saturday into Sunday – I was lucky enough to witness this magical phenomenon once again. Tom - Sheepstor 17th June 2017Following an after-dark picnic with my son on top of Sheepstor – we followed a trail of bioluminescence – back to our car that was parked near the reservoir.  On the way up – we had passed a soft toy sitting at the gateway to the Tor; on the way back he was unsurprisingly still alone in the darkness…White Rabbit at Sheepstor gate 17th June 2017Lost - White Rabbit - Sheepstor 17th June 2017 The White Rabbit got me thinking that on such a balmy night – I quite envied his position – to be lost on Dartmoor.Night Sky (1) - Sheepstor - 17th June 2017Night Sky (3) - Sheepstor - 17th June 2017Here are some lights that guided us ‘home’ in the small hours…
Glowworm (5) - Sheepstor 17th June 2017Glowworm (2) - Sheepstor 17th June 2017Glowworm (4) - Sheepstor 17th June 2017Glowworm (3) - Sheepstor 17th June 2017

For me – ‘Enchantment’ by Amethystium – always conjours up thoughts of elemental Sheepstor – although I spell it ‘Sheep’s Tor’…Sheep (1) - Sheepstor 17th June 2017

In my ears, my eyes – my head – I’m that lone sheep…

Flashes of Schiaparelli Pink.

For the third time in the space of about a week – I have experienced another flash of Schiaparelli Pink.

My first flash occurred while at work – when a book came into the shop for ‘recycling’ called ‘Bluff Your Way In Literature’; as quick as a flash I bought it!Bluff your way in literature - 8th June 2017

It’s a complete god-send if I’m to make any impression on my learned Yaffle friend – a Professor of Literature no less!

Not impressed!

Not impressed!

 Although who’s bluffing who?  It wouldn’t surprise me if clever Yaffle himself hasn’t got a copy close at hand – sandwiched between Spinoza and his other 5099 odd books – and that our friendship is really all one double bluff!Professor Yaffle's Spinoza shelf

The second flash was a Schiaparelli sunset – Friday 16th June 2017. Schiaparelli Sunset 16th June 2017 - Something about Dartmoor

The third flash came after dark…

Elephant Hawk Moth (1) 17th June 2017

 Upon the velvet wings and striped back of a very beautiful Moth…Elephant Hawk Moth (5) 17th June 2017

I found her on the surface of the road basking in the soft orange glow of a street lamp – clearly unaware of the danger posed by passing cars – or my impending clodhopper! Elephant Hawk Moth (4) 17th June 2017

No harm done – I picked her up and let her go into the warm night…Elephant Hawk-Moth (2) 17th June 2017

A confession.  Because I’ve never followed fashion – or once flicked through the pages of a British Vogue magazine, I’d never have known about the famous couturier, Elsa Schiaparelli – had it not been for my learned friend mentioning her signature colour in one of his illuminating emails.  This post would have just been called ‘something’ or ‘other’…

…nor would this ephemeral beauty – an Elephant Hawk-Moth, be ‘forever’ remembered by me – as ‘Elsa’… Elephant Hawk Moth -17th June 2017

 

Dizzying Heights: Sheepstor perspectives.

Sheepstor when viewed from base level – rises to a formidable bank of granite blocks – in contrast to the green, easier slopes around its sides…

B for Burrator (2) Sheepstor - Sunday 11th June 2017

On Sunday 11th. June 2017 – surmounting the top of Sheepstor’s wall was less demanding than usual because it had been dwarfed by a mass of towering cumulus… B for Burrator (1) Raven - Sunday 11th June 2017View from the top of the ‘wall’….B for Burrator (4) panaramic view - Sunday 11th June 2017Similarly dwarfed – as if by a mercurial shadow of its own making – expansive Burrator Reservoir appeared like a small sheet of mirrored glass…B for Burrator - Sunday 11th June 2017

As I stood into the wind – the effort of clambering up the steepest ‘path’ to the top of the wall seemed suddenly effortless – the 360° view was breathtaking. B for Burrator (3) panaramic view - Sunday 11th June 2017In contrast to the fixedness of my feet – my perspectives shifted around me – like the wind and the light across the surface of the water… B for Burrator Reservoir - Sunday 11th June 2017After drinking it all in whilst enjoying a snack – I was delighted to find some old bones that I had once made into a ‘magic pile’…  my-magic-pile-sheepstor-something-about-dartmoor-5I found them locked in a crevice – down the side of the rock where I had piled them last year…B for Burrator (2) Bone - Sunday 11th June 2017

When eventually I came back down – I felt dizzy on oxygen – so I sat under an inspirational Hawthorn where I noticed the year turning too…B for Burrator (3) Hawthorn - Sunday 11th June 2017

I stayed here for another indeterminable – indefinable measure of time…B for Burrator (1) Sunday 11th June 2017

B for Burrator (7) Hawthorn - Sunday 11th June 2017B for Burrator (6) Hawthorn - Sunday 11th June 2017

I love this pulsing track by Amethystium – and their awesome artwork too! I feel like I’m connected to Dartmoor by a silken thread…enjoy.

As snow in June.

Pilgrims - Glastonbury Tor 3rd June 2017

What an unpredictable start to June – and not just the weather! It was awesome to stand on the top of Glastonbury Tor on Saturday 3rd. June 2017 – and watch the gathering storm over England.  Back home – a thousand or more white rose petals from the Albéric Barbier that rambles the railings outside my home – are now lying in drifts everywhere – as snow in June…
Glastonbury Tor (9) 3rd June 2017Glastonbury Tor (8) 3rd June 2017Glastonbury Tor (3) 3rd June 2017Couple sheltering under an umbrella - Glastonbury Tor 3rd June 2017Glastonbury Tor (6) 3rd June 2017Alberic Barbier. Something about DartmoorRose petals (2) 6th June 2017

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date –

Darling Buds of May - 6th June 2017 Something about Dartmoor

 – from ‘Sonnet 18’ by William Shakespeare

Heading for Haworth…

Let there be light. Stained glass window in 'Holy Trinity Church' Skipton. Archangel Michael owerthrowing darkness...I love his red wings.

Let there be Light.  Breathtaking stained glass window in ‘Holy Trinity Church’ Skipton. Archangel Michael slaying Darkness.  I especially admired his blood-red wings.

A visit to the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth – followed by a journey through the landscape of Wuthering Heights as identified by my eminent host and genial guide for the weekend – Professor Christopher Heywood.  

On Saturday the 20th May 2017 – I stepped over the threshold of the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth for the first time ever – it was a long-held wish come true for me… 

A wish come true.

A wish come true.

It was the oddest experience, because I had gone with an expectation of imbibing something of its former occupants – as if the three Sisters were going to be in for my visit!  On the day – it was my experience that the Parsonage was devoid of their presence – hardly surprising as they vacated the premises more than a-century-and-a-half ago. It had that same kind of emptiness – that feeling I get – when I step into my late father’s ‘Golden Room’ in the early hours when the rest of the house is sleeping – and I expect to see him in some shape, form or other.  It always feels like the optimum time to feel or see something of him – yet when I fling back his door as if to take him by surprise there’s nothingness staring back at me. Hardly surprising as I know he went out through the window soon after he died – and he has no need to comeback in – so I really shouldn’t expect half to see him – but I do! What is especially silly is that my head knows that those that have passed on transmute into Nature – and that’s where to find them…

In fact, I believe it is more likely to be the other way round - they come to you - in forms that sometimes you won't even recognise as being them...

In fact, I believe it is more likely to be the other way round – they come to you – in shapes that sometimes you won’t even recognise as being them…

Swans on the Skipton to Gargrave stretch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. We enloyed a beautiful walk of about four and a half miles along the towpath.

Emily, Charlotte and Anne in that order.  Three graceful swans on the Skipton to Gargrave stretch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. We enjoyed a beautiful evening walk of about four and a half miles along the towpath.

Don’t get me wrong – I thoroughly enjoyed my wander through the suitably gloomy and shuttered rooms of the Parsonage – and peering at the priceless collection of Brontë artifacts behind glass and rope. Like the treasures though – the Brontë Sisters too were not able to be reached in the now draughtless but necessary atmosphere of the Museum.

Haworth Graveyard.

A timeless moment in Haworth Graveyard.

Not surprisingly – the elemental quarter of Haworth was to be found in the graveyard – with its slippery stones, dripping trees, dandelion clocks – and blessed Rooks; blessed in the true sense of the word that is. I picked up three ink-black feathers that had fluttered down from up above…

Rook's nest above Haworth Graveyard.

Rook’s nest above Haworth Graveyard.

I finished my visit with a pleasurable mooch around the museum gift shop where I bought two fridge magnets and some postcards – but I have to say my greatest souvenir is my entry ticket itself – because of what it represents to me. Finally, I have walked inside the Brontë Parsonage Museum – it was a pilgrimage that I had wanted to make since watching ‘The Brilliant Brontë Sisters’ with Sheila Hancock in 2013 – but time, responsibilities – plus the usual everyday lack of funds had meant that it was always put simmering on the back-burner until now. 

Coming away from the relative peace of the Parsonage…

Due to it hosting a 1940’s event centered in the main thoroughfare – 21st century Haworth was teeming with a merry throng of jubilant people – apart that is from me! It was something I had no desire to join in with; all much too exuberant and out-of-step because it didn’t fit in with my idea of time – nor place. 

Sea of umbrellas...

Haworth – as a sea of umbrellas on Saturday 20th May 2017.

1940's event in Haworth

There was singing in the rain…

Dancing in the street outside 'The Cabinet of Curiosities' - Haworth.

and dancing in the street outside ‘The Cabinet of Curiosities’ – Haworth.

Even the church of Saint Michael and All Angels was spilling through the ‘open’ door; there were stalls set-up in the main aisle – while teas were served in the pews! Needless to say – I retreated fast into the rain drenched sanctuary of Haworth graveyard again…

Almost enough noise to awaken the quiet sleepers in the vault. Detail in Haworth Church.

Almost enough noise to awaken the quiet sleepers in the vault.  Detail in Haworth Church.

Seemingly it had been an ‘ill-timed’ visit…

In this day and age – I don’t think it is possible to catch Haworth on a quiet day – as the Parsonage is one of the most visited heritage sites in the country attracting in excess of a million visitors a year. Mine had been an impromptu visit – if I’d known that Haworth was hosting an event I would have chosen another time. Originally I had penned-in Sunday as the day for a visit to the Brontë Parsonage Museum but as fate would have it – my Saturday visit freed up Sunday for a journey of a lifetime into Emily’s true landscape of Wuthering Heights as identified by my friend and host for the trip – Professor Christopher Heywood – or ‘Yaffle’ as I have fondly nicknamed him!   He has taken to calling me ‘Yaffle’ too – and insists that I’m ‘Yaffle A’ to his ‘Yaffle B’ – he even gave me a double first too for something I forget now…

Having shamelessly never bothered to read Wuthering Heights or the Professor’s edition of it – I’m not really worthy of his esteem but one thing I have learned from him is never argue with an academic!

Metaphorically we are at two ends of a spectrum, connected by a huge, invisible arc that we identify as Emily. To me – that is how Emily comes; I mostly see her as Light.  As well as in the form of an occasional Swan, Raven, Hawk, Owl, Deer – stone, feather, leaf – the list goes on… 

Alternatively – I put our unlikely and unique friendship down to ‘The Red String of Fate’ – a philosophy I was able to enlighten him about – plus the delights of the baggy cloth cat – hence his other Bagpuss inspired nickname ‘The Wise Man’…

On Sunday – we set off over the border into Cumbria – to a remote village called – Dent.  En-route we stopped at Thorton in Longsdale to admire the windswept church of St Oswald’s. Beyond the churchyard wall – we looked towards the great whale-back of Ingleborough – the very hill that Christopher Heywood has identified as the setting for Emily’s one and only novel – Wuthering Heights.  In his edition – Ingleborough and ‘Wuthering Heights’ are the same. The sensitive and poetic manner in which the Professor effortlessly imparts his vast knowledge of the subject – flows out of him as if he’s painting another of his beautiful watercolours – or picked up his violin to play again.  Just as I found Yorkshire’s dramatic landscape impossible to take in all in one visit – so too was this steep learning curve in grasping the greater complexities of the Brontës.  It’s like doing the other ‘Yorkshire Three Peaks’ challenge without an ordnance map – particularly as I haven’t arrived at the Brontës through reading their novels – or the Professor’s book.  Instead – I discovered them through their pencil drawings.  Rather than reading words – I’ve always been a person who perhaps – childishly prefers to ‘read’ by illustrations. Needless to say – there is little hope of me getting through the Professor’s book because there aren’t any pictures!

Some eyes that caught my eye in the Bronte Parsonage Museum.

A collection of  all-seeing eyes that caught my eye in the Bronte Parsonage Museum.

The Professor has a gift for infusing ‘his’ subject with a dynamism that the confines of the Parsonage Museum just couldn’t compete with. It was no wonder then – that my spine tingled and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up – right here in the shadow of one so lofty; Ingleborough and Christopher Heywood are the same.  

One Man and his Mountain.  Professor Christopher Heywood looking towards Ingleborough.

Bronte Parsonage Museum.

The writing on the wall.  Bronte Parsonage Museum.

One day I’d definitely like to head to Haworth again – to experience it on a quieter day…

I love the way the Professor wears Ingleborough as if Nature has placed her own Oxford cap upon his head. It's a crown befitting someone who has spent thirty years of his academic life researching the Brontes. Deepest respect + love dearest 'Yaffle B' for showing us an unforgettable time - a weekend of yafflin 'n' laffin and of discovering new heights; Emily's Heights. 'Yaffle A' X

I love the way the Professor wears Ingleborough as if Nature has placed her own Oxford cap upon his head. It’s a crown befitting someone who has spent thirty years of his academic life researching the Brontes. Deepest respect + love dearest ‘Yaffle B’ for showing us an unforgettable time – a weekend of yafflin ‘n’ laffin and of discovering new heights; Emily’s Heights. ‘Yaffle A’ X

 Dentdale Yorkshire.

A big thank you too to my other companion – my son Tom.  Gatekeeper on the rolling road to Dent.

St Andrew's Church - Dent.

St Andrew’s Church – Dent.

My Yorkshire keepsake. A criss-crossed stone that I found by a nameless'

Just one Dales keepsake. A criss-crossed stone from the banks of the River Lune.  The lines reminded me of the patchwork of stonewalled fields while its overall shape reminded me of the greater landscape – of the Barbon Hills, of Ingleborough and that other great whale-back that often came into view – Pendle Hill.

Skipton Yorkshire

Along with Haworth – Pendle is ‘just’ over the horizon for my next visit up North to the unforgettable Dales…

Back Home.

Back Home.

Posted on the 28th May 2017 – and dedicated to my very special Aunt Sonia – whose birthday it is today.  X

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Where my interest in the brilliant Bronte Sisters began in 2013 – all thanks to Sheila Hancock; her enthusiasm is infectious!  Enjoy.

Tickled pink by a Cockchafer!

Monday – 15th. May 2017. Cockchafer or May Bug. Latin name – Melolontha melolontha.

Almost home after a late night walk in the drizzle with my son – I found a beautiful, bronze-coloured Cockchafer crawling on the surface of the glistening, wet road.  Because of its perilous position – I gently persuaded it aboard my hand for a quick ride to the sanctuary of my nearby garden.  What a giggle! 

As it slowly tickled its way up my hand towards the cave of my sleeve – I found myself laughing-out-loud much to the disapproval of my son – who told me to keep the noise down – “People will think you have been drinking!” – “Put it down!” He snapped.  What he didn’t understand was – I couldn’t easily flick the Cockchafer off into the garden because they have barbed legs – so I just stood outside my house on a dismal May night and laughed – while my son grew evermore impatient for me to get the front-door key out my pocket with my freer hand. Too distracted by the Cockchafer – I couldn’t find the key – so he had a rummage in my pocket which just made me laugh louder! He did reluctantly agree to take one photo with his phone – before he disappeared inside his own sanctuary – away from his embarrassing ‘drunken’ mother. 

His fuzzy photo will serve as a reminder of quite one of the most delightful – as well as side-splitting encounters with Nature – I have experienced. Because of insecticides – Cockchafers are sadly much rarer these days – but I can remember throughout the 60’s and 70’s – the golden era I grew up in – when ‘May Bugs’ were a familiar sight and sound in the countryside – and bedroom!  This however, was the first lifetime opportunity that had presented itself for me to hold one…Cockchafer or May bug. Held in the hand they are fascinating as well as super ticklish on bare skin! Its impressive pair of feathery, orange feelers instantly reminded me of Dennis Healey – a memorable Labour politician from the same bygone era.

Eventually ‘Dennis’ grew tired of tickling me half-to-death and decided to buzz-off into the sticky night air. What a lovely sight to see the Cockchafer slowly open its back – before spreading a fine set of golden wings.  I just stood and watched in awe as it rotated upwards above me – like a small helicopter – and I fancied I could even feel a small downdraught blow over me as its whirring wings carried it away into the enveloping black; really quite magical.  

Writing this the day after – as the rain pours down outside my window again – I’m reminded that it is the merry month of May! 

Black Bryony

A May photograph of my own. I just love this black heart reaching for the light. Black Bryony aloft a Devon hedge – Sunday 14th. May 2017.