Birthday treats

Friday was my birthday. I got a few new additions to the garden. My parents had visited Thursday and had helped dig over one of the last sections of the border that I hadn’t touched since moving in. It was looking much neater for that.


They bought me a hebe. I’ve already seen a few bees starting to scout it out. I got it planted in next to the apple tree.

I spent a bit of time Saturday digging out near the shed. I’ve removed one of the spikier bushes and put in some ferns in the shade. I like ferns leaves. Interesting architecturally leaf shapes and interesting in terms of adaptation.They are replacing some of the leaf cover for the birds I removed and help stop some of the dandelions coming back.

I was also bought a camellia (Dr. King) for my birthday, which I’ve placed the other side of the apple tree. This gives this border a few more evergreen plants as it was a bit bare this Winter. So it’ll be nice to have a bit more green through the year and as most are late flowering it may give some colour late on.


A few bedding plants (primula, saxifraga).

I also put in some further bulbs and seeds. Some Dahlia’s near the camellia and some gladioli and lupin  near the hebe. Start to get a bit of colour into the newly dug over border. The daffodils both in the pots on the patio and in the border at the bottom of the garden are getting past their best now, but have added some cheer. Hopefully by next year have a few more Spring flowering plants going. The bluebells came up, but won’t be until next year they flower.

Today we got out for a walk along the seafront and met up with one of Amy’s sisters who has just moved to live in Hornsea. We took her and the nieces back to their house by the old railway path.


Lovely sunny day today. There were plenty of birds back and forth across the path.


The local honey seller was restocked. We bought some Yorkshire heather honey.


I capture my first butterfly shot of the year. A small tortoiseshell.


The blossom is looking particularly nice in the sun. Evie was telling me how she had been blossom hunting at school, which was nice to hear about.


The roast dinner is now in the oven and I can sit back and watch the blackbirds enjoying the worms dug up by my gardening.


The nature principle-Richard Louv

I have just finished listening to Richard Louv-The nature principle on audible. Since Alice came along my reading time dropped, so I like listening to audio books on my journey to work. I’ve worked through a lot of nature books over the last year, so even with lack of time I’m still learning new things. I’ve reviewed Last child in the wood, Richard’s previous book. Last child is something of a modern classic for educators wanting to get children outside. The nature principle has more of a focus on adults and how connecting to nature can benefit us in many ways.


It covered a lot of similar ground as last child in the woods, sometimes even falling back on the same research or giving further details of events mentioned in last child. So I wouldn’t recommend this without reading last child first, as you may find some of these references annoying. Unlike many nature writers covering the same topic I like Richard Louv as he concentrates on positive steps that can be taken to find a space in nature. Many nature books currently get stuck on the doom and gloom and stating that much of what has happened to the environment is irreversible. But Louv, while he does talk about places that have gone wrong, spends more time discussing what can be done to move forwards to create a better world. He has ideas for embracing both nature and technology. His work isn’t about just reclaiming a past we can’t go back to.

Louv argues for the benefits of time in nature. He covers research showing how recovery time in hospital is shortened in patients look out onto green space. Time in nature can boost creativity, increase immunity and help de-stress. While I’m already sold on the benefits of nature time it’s still nice to hear.

The narration is good. Rick Adamson, who narrates, has a clear voice. Many of the non-fiction audible books have narrators with no intonation suitable for putting you to sleep. Not suitable for me driving, but this was done well.

Having enjoyed this second book I’m now tempted with Louv’s more recent book Vitamin N. May be a future purchase.


50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ 

One third of children have never climbed a tree by the age of 15. Half have never made a daisy chain. Similar numbers show for experiencing a game of conkers. All of these were common childhood experiences for me. Many went with the changing of the seasons. These worrying trends are not only bad for children’s health, the benefits of outdoor play being well documented, but it is also sad to see such simple joys missed out on. A child is now more likely to be treated for repetitive strain injuries from playing consoles than for falling out a tree.

50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ is a lovely little book aiming to address this imbalance. As the title cunningly suggests it lists 50 nature activities. It was put out by the National Trust. I originally bought it for some ideas for my work as a teacher, it’ll be a few years until Alice is ready to do most of them. But it is a lovely book for a child and would make a good present for a nature living child of about 4-7 years old. After that I think they might see it as a bit babyish.

The book gives advice and tips on outdoor adventures. Beginning with advice on getting ready, kit and the countryside code. The book is a good quality hardback with elastic to keep it sealed as you add in pictures and a nice size for carrying. 

Each of the 50 activities entries has a description and a place to sign off. Many have spaces to draw pictures and tick lists. For example what animal sounds you heard outside. There are facts and advice for grown ups alongside the details. So the whole book ends up personalised by the child. 

The activities are mainly things that were common childhood pleasures 30 years ago for me, but increasingly are not experienced by children. Things like rolling down a hill, picking blackberries and flying kites. Others are activities requiring planning and booking, such as rock climbing and horse riding.

At the end of the book there are some puzzles, doodle pages and other parts to keep a child busy if they find themselves stuck waiting for their adventure.

The National Trust also made a nifty little app to go alongside it for the more technology living child. The app suggests activities for the season and keeps track of what they have done. There are also additional challenges to unlock and certificates to earn for the completist. 

There are other books in the series such as even messier adventures and night time adventures. The National Trust have done an excellent job encouraging children to get outside. It’s had a good amount of success and hope it continues to

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Today we went on a family outing to Beverley where we saw the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition. It is currently on loan to the treasure house in Beverley until the 22nd of April. A wonderful collection of photos, sculptures and a few taxidermy animals on show. All for free.

We saw some spectacular images. Many of my favourites were quite abstract in nature. More mixes of colours than good images of the subjects. If it’s touring near any of you I would recommend a visit.

Dancing with stars


Alice was excited to be heading out somewhere new.



Downstairs in the treasure house there are a number of mixed media leather animal sculptures. I think these were Alice’s favourites.






The gallery is well worth checking out. There are also a number of photography workshops running while the exhibition is in Beverley. Details in the brochure. As another free event linked to the Hull city of culture you can’t fault it. A lot can be seen on the facebook if you can’t make it down, but not quite the same as seeing them displayed.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition facebook.