August 2018 – lots of gardening but time for a few outings

This month we had our first holiday since 2016. Last year was taken up with the move to Shropshire, and, with eight trips, before the final move, we had no time for anything else. So an invitation to stay at ‘The Keeper and The Dell in Norfolk’ was not to be missed.

This is a wedding venue, and the owners, friends of Ashlyn’s, were going on holiday and needed someone to keep an eye on the site and feed the goats!  There’s a campsite as well as cabins  and the large marquee can accommodate a hundred people.  There’s a fire pit for evening gatherings and fairy lights around the buildings. It’s all very pretty although this night time view of one of the buildings is somewhat obscured by smoke from the fire pit!

We spent a week there with Ashlyn, Matthew, Olive and the puppy, Luna. Caryl and Cerys joined us for four days. When Ashlyn and Olive had to return to London for a day’s appointment  we took Caryl and Cerys to Wells-next – the-Sea. So we had our first sight of the sea since leaving Islay!

Back home, a new addition to the insect species for our garden was an Oak Bush-Cricket. It’s an arboreal species, mainly living in mature trees, but this one had landed on the top of our garden gate so was easily photographed.

Common Blue butterflies mating was another pleasing sight. We have them in the garden but this pair was photographed at the Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s Dolgoch Reserve  near Pant. Unfortunately, the plant in the background, Cotoneaster, is rapidly colonising the site to the detriment of native species.

Richard, as usual, spent a great deal of time lying on the ground. Often this posture is in order to take photographs but on this occasion he was checking for glandular hairs on an Eyebright!

Entertainment of a different kind came when we went to an open air performance of The Tempest in the grounds of Shrewsbury Castle. It was performed in the traditional Elizabethan style by an all-male group ‘The Lord Chamberlain’s Men’.

My article on Alien Animals appeared in Scottish Islands Explorer magazine – but unfortunately the caption about problematical alien animals was superimposed on the photograph of a hare instead of on the one of a mink. The text states clearly that hares don’t have an adverse effect on our native species in the Hebrides.

Making use of our National Trust membership we had a walk around the grounds of Erdigg where we saw a Purple Hairstreak on the gravel path and found a few Violet Helleborines flowering under trees in a rough woodland area. My favourite photograph of the day was this view down a long tree-lined avenue.