Walking to the doctor’s surgery this afternoon, I came upon this small, half-bare tree, spindley branches reaching up towards a near-perfect blue sky. Still partly dressed in its vivid Autumn colours, the contrasts of colour, shape and texture were immediately striking.
As the days get shorter, and the nights longer and colder, such flashes of colour become fewer and further between – so be sure to enjoy it while it lasts, Winter is definitely on its way…
The common cormorant or shag
Lays eggs inside a paper bag
The reason you will see no doubt
It is to keep the lightning out
But what these unobservant birds
Have never noticed is that herds
Of wandering bears may come with buns
And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.
Yes, this silly little ditty (one of the first poems I learned by heart as a child) is apparently* by the very same Christopher Isherwood who wrote Mr Norris Changes Trains (1935) and Goodbye To Berlin (1938) – the novels that were later adapted into the play I Am A Camera (1951) and the 1966 stage musical and cult 1972 film Cabaret. I was irresistably reminded of Isherwood’s nonsense poem when I encountered this beautiful cormorant stretching out his wings in the July sunshine as I walked by the Thames in Richmond last week. Incidentally, you might like to know that cormorants and shags (no sniggering at the back there!) are, although of the same avian family, two totally different types of bird – and there were no bears (with or without buns) to be seen anywhere, rather disappointingly…
*There is some debate over whether the poem is actually by Isherwood at all, but it is certainly widely attributed to him on most poetry websites and in pre-internet poetry collections (of the physical book kind) dating back over a number of decades that I have either personally seen or own.
I was invited by friends to visit Rochester Square Gardens in Camden, north London yesterday as this community garden project was celebrating its first birthday. Tucked away in a small, quiet square only five minutes walk from Camden Road station, this lovely space was once a plant nursery. Its current caretakers have transformed what had been a derelict site into a place where both plants and people grow sustainably. On their Facebook page (see below), they explain their ethos and invite people to get involved:
We currently facilitate workshops and events promoting environmental awareness and action, Art/Crafts/Music/Film/Photography and Movement. The space welcomes you to tune in with the rhythms of collective awakening, evolution and harmony on our planet.
If you have ideas for the space or would like to run a workshop / presentation / event, get in touch and be a part of the garden! :)
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to this peaceful urban oasis and recommend you pop by if you’re in the area! If you’d like a taster of the place, you can see some of the photographs I took during my visit in the slideshow above…
After the recent good news about the Syon Lane Community Allotment, I visited again on a cold December Sunday afternoon. With no leaves on the trees and very little growing, the place looked stark and wintery – so I grabbed a few photographs before the light faded…
I’m very pleased to report that, after much diplomatic negotiation, the volunteers at Syon Lane Community Allotment have been granted another year on the site – it seems that after a lot of hard work on the part of the volunteers over the last couple of years (including winning an award and being featured in the local paper!), the owner of the land was impressed with what has been achieved and was therefore happy to extend their time there.
And I’m looking forward to getting back down there with my camera…
Meet Sonny (above) and Tallulah (below), possibly the most chilled out Barn Owls in the world. I met them this afternoon at the Grow Heathrow open day in Sipson – they’d been brought along by a local owl rescue centre (which, I have to admit, I didn’t even know existed until today!) to meet everyone.
Last weekend saw me at Syon Lane Community Allotment again. Naturally, I brought my camera along, and managed to get some great pictures of the site coming into its summer colours – and beautiful they are too… (click on any of the images above to see a larger version).
If you’d like to visit, there is an open day every Sunday from 12pm and all are welcome. For details of how to get to the Allotment, see the map and travel info on the Syon Lane website here.
You can find more of my photos from Syon Lane here.