Wednesday, 27 August 2014



Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not. 

Seamus Heaney

Sunday, 24 August 2014


Late summer wouldn't be the same without Dahlias...............

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Tangmere, West Sussex: St. Andrews Church & Graveyard

With the commemorations for the 100th anniversary of WW1 in full swing I was reminded of the small church and graveyard at Tangmere in West Sussex. Tangmere airfield was responsible for the defence of Southampton and portsmouth during WW2 and Douglas Bader was in command for a spell. The graveyard has a mix of both aliied and German graves which are beautifully maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Within the churchyard there is a Yew tree which is thought to be older than the church itself (which dates from the 12th century) as well as a number of 18th century barrel graves. The reason for these graves is unknown but records show they cost 7/6 (about 35p) more than ordinary graves. 

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Alphabet In Landscape

Courtesy of the British Museum via The Dirt is this rather wonderful set of  lithographs which are the letters of the alphabet depicted as elements of the landscape. They were created by Charles Joseph Hullmandel in the early 1800s and are wonderfully inventive snapshots of romantic landscape vignettes. The full set can be seen here

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Monday, 27 January 2014


A new housing development close to the office has been proceeding at pace since late last year. Rumours began circulating that a structural element was not right and that some of the houses may have to be demolished and rebuilt.........

 The local newspaper reported; 'The homes are being constructed by developer Croudace, whose building director GarRapson explained they have had to demolish ‘about 15’ new builds due to substandard concrete being used.“We have had a look at all the options available and concluded that for long term durability and to maintain high standards, the only action is to rebuild the affected units,” 

The report went on: 'Mr Rapson confirmed that ‘it isn’t ground conditions that have caused the problems, but it is to do with an issue with the foundations’.“Something did not go according to plan,” he said, adding that in their own quality control inspection ‘something came up awry - a genuine mistake by a party’.

An expensive mistake no doubt and no option for the developer once the problem was discovered - I wonder how much (if any) of the demolished material can be reused......