A curious tale of butterflies, ants, wasps and the passage of thyme

The large blue butterfly is the largest and rarest of our blue butterflies.  Clouds of them can be seen fluttering over heathland on a summer evening, but in the eighteenth century the passion of Victorian gentlemen for collecting butterflies nearly drove them into extinction.  Conservationists tried to protect them by... Read more »

Nature cure; a case of living in the moment.

When I read Richard Mabey's book, Nature Cure, I could feel the how removing himself to a cottage in Norfolk for several months cured him of the ennuie and depression that had afflicted him after completing the mammoth enterprise of Flora Brittanica.  The book was like a course of treatment,... Read more »

After the rain.

A curtain falls across the secrets of the ghyll, the pond whispers, trees tap, rocks - the very earth turns darker still and sense is flooded with despair.    And after the rain,    a drowsy peace,     the melancholy air warms, thickens, grows darker, greener. Buds burst, leaves stretch, reach out to fill the gaps.     Close your eyes, rest, listen, feel   how soft lamentations of blackbirds heal the wound, and when... Read more »

Chatsworth, Good Friday 2009.

Grey with grief, the sky wept Windless drops, a softer tap, that hist, slipt and glist; a gentler keening, a meaning in mist, its wraiths clinging to the side of the hill; the greening of reverence.  .    Narcissus bowed its head as the early bird Uttered a muffled refrain, and black-cross daws, glid down from the shadow of... Read more »