Earlier this month, when the sun shone and skies were blue, Tony and I were guests at a wedding, where the son of old and dear friends married his beautiful bride. It was a perfect spring wedding as you can see and I for one shed a little tear when the bride walked down the aisle.
"I saw the March hare racing Trying to catch the breeze And a clutch of speckled eggs Cradled in ivy leaves."
extract from my book "Down the Lane"
We saw lots of hares doing exactly this last year in Scotland, I have to confess that I haven't seen any this year around these parts. There are however, hundreds of baby bunnies, a few primroses, daffodils and even a few bumblebees which is nice because without the bees there will be no flowers, or apples or pears, or beans...... sorry to be droning on.
"May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand."
As I switched on the radio this morning I heard more gloomy news about our loosing battle with climate change and preserving the planet. My usual response to such reports is to sink into a deep melancholy but instead I decided to do something positive about one environmental issue that has concerned me for some time, and that is the plight of our bumblebees, so today I joined the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and I would urge you to do the same.
I am sure that by now we are all aware of the importance of bees, not only as pollinators of our wild plants and garden plants but as pollinators of many important food crops. If you care nothing about our countryside (and I am sure you do) then consider these words by Albert Einstein “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years left to live.''
The trust works in many ways, by raising awareness about the important role we can all make to help our native bees. I know that many of my dear fellow bloggers are keen gardeners so maybe you would like to help by planting more bee friendly plants this year? If we all planted just one extra species this year in our gardens I am sure it would be beneficial. If you are a lazy gardener like me you might want to try white dead nettle – so called because it has no sting! It looks very pretty with its white flowers and variegated leaves and provides good ground cover which helps prevent weeds.
“Exotic or highly cultivated garden flowers are largely unsuitable, as they either produce little pollen and nectar, or keep it hidden away from the bees. In particular, most annual bedding plants (e.g. Pelargonium, Begonia, Busy Lizzies) have little nectar to offer bees or other wildlife. Instead, why not try growing traditional cottage garden flowers and native wildflowers. Many of these thrive and look superb in the garden. They are also easy to grow, generally being hardy and much more resistant to slugs and disease.”
So, instead of feeling depressed about the state of the world, perhaps you might also like to give the trust your support by doing a link on your blog? The more we help bees the more work the bees can do to help preserve our native plants which support many other life forms including our own. Please feel free to use my bee graphic on your blog to help the cause of bees worldwide.
Recently I wrote about the very sad news that Hudson and Middleton, the old and established bone china factory here in Stoke-on-Trent, had gone into administration following the demise of china production at the Wedgwood factory. The owners of the company were also suppliers of bone ash and when Wedgwood stopped manufacturing here in Britain the effect was catastrophic. I am happy to report that the former managers of Hudson and Middleton have now bought the company and the factory is open for business as usual. This is wonderful news for the ceramics industry in our region as we have seen so many job losses over recent years.
On a more personal level, it is a great relief to me that my new mug designs are going ahead. We are putting the finishing touches to the products and they will be available very shortly. I hope to do a link to the website as soon as the mugs are available.
I have three new ranges of designs, one of which is a bird series. The illustration posted here is a detail from one of four British garden bird mugs. The monitor does not pick up the true colours but the printer has done a great job and captured the colours onto the bone china. I am so relieved that the mugs will go through and even more pleased that valuable jobs have been saved.
We have just returned from a weekend trip to London to assist our eldest son move accommodation. This entailed lugging box after box of books, kitchen utensils, computers, bedding etc up five flights of stairs. I know, I counted them. Also, on the agenda was a hospital visit to see a loved one so we did not have much time for sightseeing.
We did however manage to see this amazing exhibition at The Royal Academy and if you haven’t seen it already, hurry because it finishes soon. It is the kind of exhibition that overwhelms you with riches, precious illuminated manuscripts, jewellery, religious icons and triptychs carved in ivory, so breathtaking in their beauty, it is hard to convey the workmanship and artistry that has gone into their creation.
Cameras were not allowed but I did manage to photograph the exhibition poster, which shows the Icon of the Archangel Michael. This is silver gilt on wood, gold cloisonné, enamel and precious stones. I also came away with an enormous exhibition catalogue, as if I had not done enough lugging for one weekend!
My name is Valerie Greeley. I am an artist, surface pattern/textile designer and illustrator. I have a special interest in the book arts including illustration, bookbinding, printmaking and artist books. I also have an interest in quilting, nature and bumblebees.