Friday, 19 December 2014


Golden cliffs of West Bay stretching towards Portland. Dorset.
As you know, I'm distracted and busy so proper posts are somewhat adrift. But . . . well, do you have photos which start off stacked and ready to use but which drift down like half-used balls of wool in a knitting bag?

I do!

So I'm rescuing a few and bunging them here.

First is the section of Dorset cliff which begins at West Bay and runs east towards Portland. It's where Chesil Beach begins (or ends, depending on which direction you're coming from). (So for all that these soft and golden and fast eroding cliffs are beautiful and impressive, look at at their feet.) For a while it runs along like an ordinary beach slam up against the shore but gradually and extraordinarily it drifts off into the sea, first leaving gaps and pools then peeling away completely leaving the Fleet Lagoon between it and the land. And as it goes East, the lagoon widens and the beach rises till it becomes a looming pile of up to fifty feet running parallel with the continuing cliffs and fields till it launches off on its own for a couple of miles then is stopped short by the very different grey stone cliffs of Portland. (Apologies for long sentence.)

Here at the beginning, the pebbles are really gravel. But if you were to follow the beach along you'd find the pebbles get bigger and bigger so by the time you arrived at Portland you would find not only that your legs would hurt horribly but the pebbles would now be flattish and smooth and many colours - pink and brown and grey. Most of them would be about the size to rest comfortably on the curved palm of your hand.

Man on top of cliff at West Bay, Dorset - holding out some kind of stick.
I don't think it's possible to explain anything of what this is all like. You have to see Chesil Beach to make sense of - and even then it's pretty hard to grasp and even when I see it every day I never fail to find it extraordinary.

There are so many extraordinary things to wonder at; things which go beyond the merely geographical - like what is that man doing on top of the cliff?

He was there quite a while. Is he practising gold strokes? Is he? And, if so, why there? . . .

Leafless tree in the New Forest covered in moss and lichen.
Now we'll flit to the New Forest in Hampshire. Whenever I mention the New Forest I need to make it clear this is a very old forest. (Developed from pre-existing woodland in 1079) And here is a very old tree beside the village of Fritham. And on the very old tree there is lichen. Indeed, the tree seems to be plastered in lichen . . . and moss . . . and I wish I had had time there to look at it properly while I was there. But I didn't. It was a 'Hang on can you wait a minute while I take a picture,' sort of moment. Snap. Snap. And we were away. Hurray for cameras that's what I say! In a sense I was able to bring the tree back home with me to look at it here.

Feathery lichen on tree in the New Forest, Hampshire.
December 17th 2014

Oxford Ragwort plant in flower by railway tracks.
November 1st 2014 - but fairly confident ragwort will be flowering there still in December.
And a third extraordinary. I don't know when autumn ends and winter begins. Whichever it is, it's not still summer. But some flowers flower and flower. And some flowers, like this Oxford Ragwort like to flower in extraordinary places. In Poole, Ragwort has taken a shine to the railway. This plant is growing through the zig-zag slats there to dissuade pedestrians on a level crossing from veering off down the tracks. And it hasn't noticed it's season is over. It's carrying the Ragwort banner, ploughing on well after its companions have died down.

Closer to home, out of an urban setting, nearly always there will be an Oxford Ragwort plant flowering in winter. Personality!

Ain't nature wonderful!
Related Posts



On My Other Blog - Message in a Milk Bottle

External Links

Chesil Beach - lots of info. provided as advert by commercial company specialising in measuring underwater noise.

Sunday, 7 December 2014


The spikes sticking out on the left hand branch are leaf buds ready for Spring 2015
You may have noticed I am hardly here. You may be feeling miffed because your emails haven't been acknowledged. But sometimes life beyond the blog sweeps in and sweeps it all away. Families!

I've even considered ending Loose and Leafy - but have pulled back from the brink. Almost everything passes - even bad things, trying things, time consuming things . . . So even it takes till February or March . . . if there were no blog to launch back into - I won't half be cross with myself.

Soooooooooo - if it's a choice between inefficiency and stopping - I'll go for being inefficient.

A lesson from the trees. While this year's leaves were dying next years were creeping up on them. There they are, all ready to burst apart in the spring.

I find this image much more powerful than eggs at Easter. Easter and Christmas have much in common in that they are celebrations of new life. I can't imagine why the image of these buds hasn't been picked up on more. Those next-year buds are almost overwhelming in their there-ness. Chicks and lambs are all very well but these buds . . . they are in front of all our noses. Those of you who live in deserts or very snowy places will be able to say whether I can put 'everywhere' after 'noses'.

My alarm goes off at 4:15 tomorrow morning. (I think I'll add extra exclamation marks after 'families!') So if I'm not around as much as usual - I assure you I'm not slacking!

And as a little pre-taste of my own tree-following post for when I get round to writing it . . . I now know what kind of tree it is. After all this time I know!

The Tree Following Link Box opens at 7am on the 7th of each month and closes on the 14th UK time.