Reporting on the manic month of May

This was the month when the conference, organised by Volans, would (maybe) come to pass. I could have pulled the stress from out of the surrounding air but it would have strangled me like a giant octopus, so I survived carefully beneath its tentacles.

John’s weekends were just constantly trying to fit in all he had to do with the only respite being him taking to his bed for an afternoon siesta. I devised a walk through Barnes to clear his head and take some physical exercise. The computer was not invited. The blackberry growled from time to time but was not acknowledged. They need to know their place. In the end they always win but it’s nice to put a spoke in their works and see them discomfited.

We started off along the common, where horseradish grows in wild unruly clumps. The council have left some patches of long grass here and there. You can walk by Beverley brook, which separates the backs of peoples’ gardens from the common. It’s sometimes muddy but worth exploring. How great to have somewhere so rural to walk in straight from your front door. And yet you can be in Piccadilly within forty minutes.

01 last paeony

The last paeony or mutan …

In China, the paeony is a symbol of wealth and honours. The Chinese name, mutan, includes ‘tan’, the word meaning CINNABAR, the medicine of immortality.

I have been attracted by the colours of cinnabar moths – greyish black wings with spots and splashes of crimson – since I was a child roaming the cliffs above the sea in Wales on summer holidays. The cinnabar moth lays its eggs on ragwort – a poisonous plant. The caterpillars are stripey, like wasps. They ingest the poison which is a warning to birds that the chrysalis – and then the moth – may look appetising but are not a tasty treat!

In China, red is a lucky colour and ’tis also the colour of blood. Well, our paeony plants have certainly achieved longevity! (see my note in ‘Spring Flowers’).

We have a ‘common ranger’. He looks after things and has done an especially great renewal of plants around the pond and shrubs to give shelter to the birds on the island in the middle. I like his choice of plants – irises, hemp agrimony. bulrushes … This year he has experimented with a fenced area of ‘wild flowers’ – a great success. He must be very ‘green fingered’!

02 wild flowers barnes

Daisy, daisy, give me your answer do … I’m half crazy over the likes of you …

This is the amazing sight that greets your eyes when you get off the 209 bus by the pond. Cornflowers, poppies, daisies, pink campion – a ‘bobby dazzler’ of wild flowers!

03 st oswalds barnes

Church Road Barnes by St. Oswalds …

04 yellow iris pond

Yellow flags, Barnes pond

05 heron in rain

while a heron waits patiently for dinner to appear …

Passing by peoples’ gardens, which fringe the common.

A pink parasol of blossomA pink parasol of blossom

Ceanothus - heavenly blueCeanothus – heavenly blue

Passing the gate of a 'lion' house, Laurel Road, BarnesPassing the gate of a ‘lion’ house, Laurel Road, Barnes

Another shower looks imminent. One moment the sun streams out, then the fluffy white clouds puff up and having looked plumply innocent against a blue sky, gradually turn a darkening grey, looming over you, getting ready to drop their heavy load of tears – and having done so, the sky breathes blue again and all sadness is forgotten – except we are soaking wet!

Puddle reflecting broken yellow lines + + +Puddle reflecting broken yellow lines + + +

And finally, out onto the open common, which stretches all the way to Putney, bar a main road inbetween.

Hound of the Baskervilles ...Hound of the Baskervilles …

finds a friend ...finds a friend …

Beverley Brook with homage to Monet ...Beverley Brook with homage to Monet …

How green it is – how wet it has been! It’s good to see the evening sunlight as we walk back to the pond and home.

One man and his dog ...One man and his dog …

Avenue of horse chestnuts ...Avenue of horse chestnuts …

When we were young ... !When we were young … !

The horse chestnuts are at their best now but later they begin to wilt and dry out due to some virus that is attacking them. We need to support scientific research in a big way right now or something similar will happen to us. But I can end on a high note for the moment …


as the wild flowers get better and better the wild flowers get better and better …

Jubilee colours fit for a Queen!Jubilee colours fit for a Queen!

Poppies, daisies and cornflowers – red, white and blue – perfect timing!
What’s that pink foxglove doing, barging into the picture? Typical British eccentric behaviour I expect. Stimulates the creative impulse. And Barnes is full of foxes!

The conference worked out well with lots of the audience wanting it to become a yearly occurrence. I was there for about half of it and was duly impressed with both the venue, the speakers and the people attending – but am just as impressed by managing to take holidays. It’s a tense time on many fronts and I realise there are a good lot of people out there not wanting to leave their posts – but I think my role is to organise holidays so I’d better get on with persuading them that their batteries need recharging.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.