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Sunday, 21 September 2014

thistles and Thisbe

The swallows and the house martins have gone - so I guess that's official - Summer is over. As Beezle and Bob Dylan would say "The times - they are a 'changin"
Trude looking out for the house martins

About a day after they had gone I noticed a lone house martin flying over the hedge - how awful to think he or she might have been left behind. What on earth will it do? Having to negotiate that trip to Africa all on its own. Hope it knows how to avoid flying over Malta. It reminded me of a cartoon I'd seen years ago of a swallow and a sparrow sitting on a fence chatting. The swallow's speech bubble had a map of Africa and the ocean with its route marked in dotted lines. The sparrow had a map of next door's garden.

And my swallows are getting ready to fly the nest too. The visas have arrived, the back packs packed, the first aid kits bought and I'm staring at a packet of malaria tablets as I write this post.

 One of the good things in the change of season is that the rutting season for ducks seems to be over so that I can walk out in the garden without having the back of my legs pecked at. And thinking of things rutting - the stalkers from Belgium have arrived for the deer cull. This means we have to avoid the woods at dawn and dusk to stay clear of the stray bullets. I might invest in a bullet proof vest and throw caution to the wind. Or go out with my antler hat on just to confuse everyone.

But the sweet furry things haven't started hibernating yet and are still ending up on the landing or inside Pocket's stomach.

 The leaves are still hanging on but the fruit is dropping from the mulberry trees. (ref Thisbe) The thistles have changed colour too. There are thousands of seeds on this Onopordum and with any luck in two years I'll have a forest of them.  Trude finds thistles frightening. Perhaps they don't have them in Holland which is where she comes from. You can tell she comes from Holland because she likes to walk on the right hand side of the road.
Meanwhile I love this poem by Ted Hughes

Thistles by Ted Hughes

Against the rubber tongues of cows and the hoeing hands of men
Thistles spike the summer air
And crackle open under a blue-black pressure.

Every one a revengeful burst
Of resurrection, a grasphed fistful
Of splintered weapons and Icelandic frost thrust up

From the underground stain of a decayed Viking.
They are like pale hair and the gutturals of dialects.
Every one manages a plume of blood.

Then they grow grey like men.
Mown down, it is a feud. Their sons appear
Stiff with weapons, fighting back over the same ground.

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