2

Did you miss me?

I forgot to write a post for this blog last week.  Today (Wednesday) I thought I needed one for Saturday and then realised it would be for tomorrow.  The subject of my post today on Sue’s words and pictures as well as the amount of reading I have been doing recently may have contributed to time getting away from me.

There has been a lot going on.  Wasps have built themselves a nest in a sheltered spot in our garden.  The flying ants flew from at least two nests at the front.  A raptor flew past one morning at breakfast time carrying a mouse.  The following morning it flew past at about the same time with empty talons.  It was probably a kestrel.

The sea was calm (the day) before the storm.  The temperature soared from about 17°C to about 35°C in the space of 24 hours.  After a walk in the morning I stayed indoors reading for most of the day.  A distant storm caused red flashes in the clouds.  Thunderstorms moved across bringing torrential rain and reports of a frog in our garden. (I did not see it.)  Before one wave of thunder and lightning the rooks took to the air – storm crows warning.

Dog-walking takes time too. People stop to talk.  In summer it is not unpleasant, but I should not like to have to go out up to four times a day in all weathers including winter.  It is a good thing that the animal is only on holiday and has not moved in permanently.  Housework takes longer with dog-hairs to clean up.

The garden needs a lot of time spent on it too.  After doing the housework and walking the dog, I had no enthusiasm for gardening on the day with the most suitable weather.  Then it was too hot and now it is too wet, although the rain is not falling at the moment.

Then there were things happening which involved me.  I took part in a concert of choral singing and readings last week.  I have been attending my usual activities, many of which now stop for the summer holidays and restart in September.

So I forgot to blog last week.  What of it?  Did you miss me?

Can a blog post be a list or a list a blog post?

On Saturday I travelled by public transport to the writers’ group I joined last year.  The outward train was crowded due to a large number of events in the towns and villages en route and at the destination.  Apart from exchanging a few remarks with other passengers, I spent the journey looking out of the window and making exhaustive notes of the interesting things I saw.

I made a few notes on a similar journey in March.  Spring was late this year.  My notes this time were eight times as long.  Admittedly I am counting the journey in both directions.  In March I only made notes on the outward journey of things, which caught my attention from another crowded train.  As far as I remember I did puzzles on the way back.  The clocks changed to British Summer Time that night.

So to the lists:-

28 March

Flowers
Primroses

Animals
Sheep and lambs

Birds
Geese in a field
Kestrel on a post
Pheasant in a field

4 July

Flowers
Brambles
Broom
Buttercups
Clover
Elderflower
Flowering grasses
Foxgloves
Gorse
Hogweed
Honeysuckle
Meadowsweet
Nettles in flower
Opium poppies
Ox-eye daisies
Poppies
Red campion
Rhododendrons fading
Rosebay willowherb
Rugeosa roses
Thistles
Vetch
Wild roses
Yellow loosestrife
Yellow verbascum

Animals
3 donkeys in a field
Dog and owner (wrapped up against the wind)
Friesian cows (black and white)
Sheep
Red, white and black cattle (single colours)
Cows and calves
Red and white cows
One bull

Birds
One cormorant flying, one fishing and a colony on rocks exposed by the tide (which was fairly high)
Gulls
Magpies
Martins
Rooks and crows
Swallows
Wood pigeons

The smaller plants, birds and animals escaped my notice.  Even so I saw more than I’d have seen from a car.

If you enjoy reading lists there are lots of possibilities.  Apart from dictionaries, thesauruses, and telephone directories (now known as phone books), I am aware of two books made up entirely of lists.  One is Hunter Davies’ Lists and the other is Schott’s Original Miscellany by Ben Schott.

4

Stranger in a strange land

July 17

Stranger in a strange land

What’s your favorite part about visiting a new place — the food? The architecture? The people watching?

 

None of the suggestions from the 365 Days of Writing prompt were what I seemed to do most when I was farther from home than ever before, although they are important parts of any traveller’s experience.

I found that I was struck, not by the differences, which I expected, but by the similarities with Britain.  Walking through forests, I was noting the plants we see here.  Perhaps I expected that most of the trees would be redwoods and sitka spruce.  I’m not sure.

It wasn’t homesickness or a desire to be anywhere else.  Rather it was surprise about how much was familiar.

I enjoyed people-watching – I always do.  Without it, what would there be to write about?  The differences in vocabulary fascinated me, as did the different culture.

There was so much space compared with our small islands, the landscape was more varied.  Even the trees seemed taller and the sky higher!

While many plants appeared similar, the birds were different.  Although we didn’t see very many different species.

I was amazed at the (small) size of a chipmunk.  As a child I had received a postcard which was a photo of one.  There was nothing to show its size – it filled the frame.  I imagined it to be about the size of a grey squirrel.  What a delight to see one in the wild!

It surprised me how much I enjoyed the food.  Most of my life I have been a person, who eats to live rather than one who lives to eat.  Meal-times can be an unwelcome interruption to some activity!  The spells when this was not the case were during pregnancy and when I took a particular type of medication, which (incidentally) had a known side effect of weight gain.

The food, where we stayed was amazing.  I really must write up last year’s holiday diary, before I completely forget.  It might encourage me to book another!