• Our Friends at the Farm

    Living here at the farm one always feels steeped in the rural legacy of the buildings and the small-holding and it's not hard to imagine how life might have been a hundred years ago. The other day Jan came waltzing in with one of those found-for-a-pound treasures that don't look all that promising from the outside, but turned out to contain some gems.

    It was a typical childrens' book of the 1920s with the usual jolly sort of cover in bright eye-catching colours, but 'Our Friends at the Farm' turned out to have been largely illustrated by John Edwin Hunt, an accomplished animal artist of the early 20th century. There are several brightly coloured litho plates much in the style of the cover, but it was some of the stunning monochrome images that caught my eye. From the style I believe they are lino-cuts, but it's the beautiful economy of line and form and the drama of the high contrast that works so well. Hope you like them too.

    John Edwin Noble (1876-1941) seems to have been a prolific animal artist and during the First World War was employed as an official war artist, spending much of his time sketching and painting images of the horses used on and around the battlefields of northern Europe. Have a look at this work - it is very moving.

    I feel some new card designs coming on.....

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  • Would you bee leave it?

    After more than half a million people signed up to a protest to try and stop the government giving permission to farmers to use bee-killing pesticides. What has just happened? Hours before they go into a 6 week recess the secretary of state for environment (huh!), food and rural affairs has given permission for some limited, localised use of these disgusting and dangerous chemicals. Is she mad, stupid or just totally indifferent to all the expert advice against using these? Seems to me the financial muscle of the agrochemical companies is just too much for our poor little politicians. Furious? You betya!

    Eek - two rants in a week - sorry folks, no pictures again, but I'll be back with something interesting tomorrow.

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  • Because they're worth it........... apparently

    Don't often have a rant, but moved to say something today after it has been confirmed that MPs are to take their 10% (or is it 11%?) pay rise, while the public sector pay rises have been frozen at 1% for the next four years. Our daughter works in the NHS, and she works very hard. She is on a 6 month renewable (if she's lucky) contract. How is she supposed to plan her life, take on financial commitments? But it's everyone out there working their backsides off for this country - they are only worth 1%, which over four years with the rise in the cost of living will effectively be a pay cut. However MPs think they're worth their pay rise. Let's not talk about their expenses - average about £120,000 per year. Let's not talk about all their other perks & extra jobs. So, David Cameron, "we're all in it together". Are we really? We are told we should be proud to be British - I'm beginning to struggle with that these days.

    NO IMAGE AS MY CREATIVITY HAS BEEN TEMPORARILY STIFLED

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  • Bee orchids - a first for me in Herefordshire

    After 25 years in Herefordshire, today I finally got to see my first bee orchids in the county. Very exciting! Word came through from a friend that someone (who I'm sure will wish to remain anonymous) had discovered quite a number of bee orchids growing on their land for the very first time this year. How they arrived there and why they chose this year to germinate is something of a mystery. Although they are not nationally rare they are still a stunning flower, and the first I've seen since a visit to reclaimed cement workings that had been turned into a nature reserve in Bedfordshire back in the early 1980s. Many thanks to SR for his hospitality today & allowing me to photograph his splendid flowers.

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  • A strange orchid occurrence

    Spotted something yesterday evening on the Downs that I've never seen before. The orchids are at the peak of their annual show on Bromyard Downs - arguably one of the very best sites and sights in the UK. I looked very closely at this particular flower assuming that it was two stems with the flower heads wrapped around one another, but no! This common spotted orchid has what I'd describe as a bifurcated flower head. I'm sure it will have happened before and there will be lots of folks out there who've clapped eyes on this phenomenon before. Now I know exactly where the plant is it will be fascinating to see if it does the same next year.

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