Monthly Archives: March 2019

Herpetologist’s stoop


I have been indulging in Cyril Hare.  His trademark plots each turn on some  legal clause or condition, and his settings are an austere wartime or post-war England.  Interestingly, this and An English Murder include various refugees and displaced persons in the cast of characters; does this reflect what post-war society really was like, or is it political correctness of the time, or just a taste for the exotic?

Small triumph:  I did guess the murderer, though not the motive.

Outside, dealing with neglected pots.  I had to cut this one off, and the plant lost big chunks of root, poor thing.

The wildlife is gratifying but reluctant to pose for portraits.  A slow-worm tucked itself down into a warm spot:

I craned agonisingly over the water (newts are worth hirpling for) looking for small slitherings and turnings.  There they were, in pairs and small clumps.  One pair was seriously interested – at least he was interested, though perhaps she was not.   But they were shy, and ducked when the camera came out.


Giving the roses their breakfast


… as they are beginning to wake up now.  I stood them up to their knees in the product of the compost bin and watered generously.  The blackbirds will soon fling it about as they search for their breakfasts.

I nearly trod on this one – he must have been very hungry.



When it isn’t being the Landslip Blog this tends to be the Old Walls Blog. Today’s old walls were a trifle melancholy, but also analgesic.  (Click a thumbnail for the gallery)

Picking up threads


Mixed feelings about returning to former occupations after the experiment.

The first batch of beach clay is drying off; the weather still chilly, so it is slow waiting,

while the next batch is slopping down:

Tackling the garden under the buds and catkins of the geriatric birch (surviving another season of gales)

The first grass cut is always wearing.  It’s long and saturated and intractable, but there are consolations …

… their dancing presents a challenge to the amateur photographer.



The hammering gales have dropped back. (Click thumbnail for gallery)

I gave in …


… the marketing got me.  This is the freebie.

Bits went missing while the washing machine spun out or I counted stitches on the needle, attention wandering off in Rome and returning to Egypt or the Great Plains.  The chapters were somewhat repetitive, but unfortunately this was often due to the same agricultural errors being repeated … again … and again … and yes, again.  Anyone who ever grew a potato or a pea will understand the importance.

I would have liked a little more about soil as a microbiome, especially as Montgomery was keen to realign soil science with biology instead of chemistry.  An enticing image of bacteria as minuscule livestock on the farm was not followed up, and there was only brief mention of mycorrhizal fungi or even invertebrates (we did get a few worms).

Take home message?  Get composting, folks, and if you have a little plot of your own, be ready to dig for victory when times get tight.



The week was miscellaneous.

The end of an era:

Not the end but near the end, and not looking very promising at the moment:

A beginning:  Beyond New Age is fairly well written:

Holocene  – interesting, but, read in dribs and drabs over a year, it was difficult to keep the large picture in mind.  Good words though – palynology, eustatic, oligotrophic, varves.

Winding up the experiment, I am left with a kitchen in a bag.  It looks so useful, except I can’t think when it will be used:

It’s difficult to photograph things that aren’t there.  Kindly imagine a piano-shaped absence.