stories and illustration

Bee Lavender

bee lilacA few moments ago I was writing a few words, when suddenly at each keystroke appeared a cerulean dot; and then when I moved the mouse around in frustration, great sweeps of thick blue lines covered the page.  Computers are so weird, I have no idea what happened.  My musings on Trimontium, clocks going back, the flare of the setting sun, pictures of a giraffe, printing schedules, have disappeared into the ether. So I shall emulate the bee and buzz off.

November 2, 2017 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

Thistle Visitors

thistle visitors

August 27, 2016 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

La Belle Abeille au Derriere Blanc

white bummed bee

or in other words, a white-bummed bumblebee…

August 27, 2016 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teasel and Bee

bee and teasel

August 5, 2016 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mallow with Bee

Mallow and BeenNature is so skilful at putting the right shade of green with the right shade of pink…..

September 11, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bee and Hydrangea

bee and hydrangea

September 11, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Bed of Wild Flowers


Some time back, in late spring, I bought a kind of thin tissuey roll, which was apparently embedded with wild flower seeds. We decided to use a raised bed in the vegetable garden for wild flowers, as we wanted to encourage bees and other insects. The roll was opened out and laid on the bed and thinly sprinkled with earth.  Nothing much happened, except a lot of grass seed from droppings from the bird table.  I thought what a waste of time. Another small packed of flower seed was bought and sprinkled.  Again nothing.  In desperation a packet of wild flower seed from Homebase was produced and this was added to the mix. Still nothing.  A friend who came a month or so ago, after seeing the rest of the verdant and blooming garden, said to me: “Your bit needs some attention,” as she thought it was just a few weeds in what should be a pristine bed.  Then suddenly, overnight it seemed, there were flowers. Plenty of them.  And bees and butteflies and numerous smaller insects. Even a corn cockle, very beautiful, apparently poisonous, which I didn’t photograph until it was on the way out. When I have finished the paintings  I am working on at the moment, for exhibition, I will hover about the wildflower patch with the hover flies and try and capture some insects enjoying the poppies et al. Meanwhile I will collect some poppy seeds, and look out for somewhere I can buy some corn cockles to cultivate for next year.


July 30, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Close Up: A Bee and Its Shadow

bee and shadow

A somnolent bee in my pathway let me examine it close up as it crawled slowly off the stones, with some very mild encouragement from myself, as it looked vulnerable where it was. This seems to have been  grand year for the bees, and at last the buddleias on Nun’s Walk are hosting clouds of  butterflies. My wildflower bed, from looking just like unweeded ground, has suddenly sprung into life, and has almost swallowed up the bird-table. This beautifully-accoutred bee, however, was down near the Tweed, on the English side, on what I think of as the Norham Path; though I would have to walk all day to get to Norham itself.

July 21, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Barley, the Tweed and the Thunder


The washing is rigged up high above the beans on those poles that ex-seaman use (they abound in Portsmouth, but I guess ours is a one-off in Coldstream), and the sun is baking hot.  “That washing will be dry by now” “Nah, I’ll take it in when I get back.”

Decide to go along the track that lies between the barley field and the Tweed. No swans resting up this year, creating a welter of droppings and feathers by the river bank, waddling in a disgruntled fashion into the water when people approach, which isn’t often

The colours of the barley are extraordinary:




Earlier I thought it was wheat, but that shows what I know  There is a wheatfield at the end of a different walk, through a wood full of rubbish so I don’t walk there so often. When looked at close, they are pretty different.  The barley is really elegant, more streamlined than the wheat, I can’t take my eyes off it:


But then I do take my eyes off it, and see a butterfly, a humble  butterfly to be sure, but any butterfly these days is a cause for rejoicing. And the cabbage white has very beautiful markings (I presume this is a cabbage white, but after the wheat/barley fiasco I am not so sure – not to mention the muddle between himalayan balsam and comfrey):


The balsam is still in flower:


But the phacelia has been cut from the field across the river. The river is very empty today, no swans, no ducks rising up in a flurry and a squawk as one comes near:


Enjoying the quiet walk, the heat, the summer, seeing some bees and butterflies, when I hear a rumble, and think it is those low-flying planes practising their manoeuvres, but it doesn’t diminish and it doesn’t get nearer, it just goes a-growling again, and when I look to the right, there, over the barley, is the sky of storm:


I take a picture of the approaching storm, then I think of the washing.  I see my husband coming down the Duns road thinking about how I don’t listen to his advice. I take some more pictures of the storm as I head for the road, which is quicker than meandering back through the woods (past horses, and rabbits, and the sound of the invisible barn owl ,and the bands of long-tailed tits). The sky is definitely saying that some serious rain is on its way:



When I get to the road, I can’t resist taking some farewell pictures of the other side of the sky:




Then I head for home, not quite running, because I don’t do running, but at a reasonable pace, get in through the back gate, walk up to the vegetable garden, lay my hand on the rigging of the washing line, undo the knot, and then as the line zips downwards, the first drops of rain start.  Within two minutes the summer is rain is a torrent. I hurry down the garden, not having time to pull back the line, and put the washing into the house, as my husband walks in through the back gate, his straw hat cascading water, his clothes dripping, but inside those clothes his person snug and dry, as this is a man who knows how to dress for all eventualities.  And the first thing he says is: “Have you got the washing in?”  ” Ha! I knew you were walking down the Duns road thinking about that.   Yes, I have. Surprise!”

August 1, 2013 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Mauve Field


Walking down the main Edinburgh road, towards the lane that cuts off down to the Tweed, I see this mauve field, which I suspect is a crop of Phacelia, planted to attract bees, and to provide “green manure”. What a plant!  I have never seen a completely mauve field before, as far as I can remember. Until a few years ago, didn’t see the bright yellow of rape fields, either. Plant a rape field next to a field of “bee’s friend” and you would have some colour scheme.


The field is across the other side of the Tweed, which would be hard to get to from here, as it is a long walk on the English side, right round the Cornhill bend and further; and besides, last time I went down there I had to climb over the fence, as it has been barred off (don’t think that would happen on the Scottish side, as there is apparently no law of trespass in Scotland).


Because of all the sun, the Tweed is very low, and birds are standing in the middle of the river. They fly off as I approach.


The comfrey, that I thought was called Indian Balsam, is fading beside the river, and the Himalayan Balsam, that I thought was called Comfrey, is growing in profusion:



 In my walk I have been bitten ferociously by insects, which is in one way a good sign, as the planting of Phacelia has obviously started to bring back insect life. I try to resurrect the calomine lotion from a few years ago but it has solidified, even when stirred with the back of a toothbrush.

A couple of days later I take the same walk, and look across for the mauve field, but the colour has completely vanished.  The plant will  now be on its journey to becoming “green manure”. Taking photographs has made me feel keenly the transience of the colours of the world. I wonder what fields will be mauve next year.

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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