In town on my lunch break today, I couldn’t resist browsing one of the book stalls in the street market. I picked up a copy of ‘The Common Ground’ by Richard Mabey. I’ll read anything of his and this is one I haven’t seen before. It’s a litle unusual in that it was commissioned by the Nature Conservancy Council. I may report more when I get round to reading it. I have an ever expanding backlog of unread second hand books. What a luxury. I have several books on the go at present and a number of passages mentally noted as pertinent to this blog.

This is from ‘Sea Room’ by Adam Nicolson, which tells the story of the Shiants, three islands in the Hebrides which he was given by his Father:

In the autumn of 1765, Rousseau went to live on the tiny Ile St Pierre, set in the Lac de Bienne in northern Switzerland….He botanised with patience and care and had a plan to write a book about this most precious and protected place. People might mock, he thought, but love of place can only attend to minute particulars. ‘They say a German once composed a book about a lemon-skin,’ he later wrote. ‘I could have written one about every grass in the meadows, every moss in the woods, every lichen covering the rocks.’

I was out for a brief walk this evening across the Lots to the Cove. The sun was setting, although it wasn’t as dark as the first photo above suggests. TBH and I had seen the early purple orchids on our last visit, but it had been very dark then. They are taller now. And growing in great profusion…

…with a few cowslips thrown in for good measure. Shakespeare apparently referred to these orchids as ‘long purples’ which is entirely appropriate. I don’t know why my camera insists in rendering them as pink.

No post about a walk to the cove would be complete without a photo of this view…

…of which I shall never tire. Here’s Rousseau again on the Ile St Pierre:

I was able to spend scarcely two months on that island, but I would have spent two years, two centuries and the whole of eternity without becoming bored with it for a moment.

In Eaves Wood on Sunday I noticed that the Ramson flowers were beginning to emerge. Today, in the wood at my back on the cliff-top and on the verges on Cove Road, they were in full flower.

I must soon fit in a visit to Bottoms Wood, which is carpeted with Ramsons, to drink in the spectacle and the garlic stench.

Whilst I was admiring the view, two black-headed gulls noisily chased the almost inevitable heron. I couldn’t see whether the heron had a fish, but I imagine that was why they were in pursuit.

Another exciting recent find on the book front was ‘Journey through Love’ by John Hillaby. I’m slowly collecting all of his books. I picked this one up at the marvelous Carnforth Book Shop over Easter. I haven’t started reading it properly but I did dip into the first chapter and found this…

Goethe says that in order to understand the world or, as he puts it, to comprehend the power of nature, it’s necessary to select an Eckchen, a small corner of it for contemplation.

And finally from tonight’s walk, something which I wasn’t expecting to see in this particular small corner of the world…


6 thoughts on “Eckchen

  1. Hi Mark, So you are a secondhand book addict too. I get some bargains from the local libraries now and again, and I did have Nicolson’s Sea Room but couldn’t get on with it; I don’t think I could get past the fact that he’d been left a couple of islands, and after hearing his radio programmes on Homer’s Odyssey I reckon the more sea room he’s given, the better. Richard Mabey, though, I’m with you on that one. I was touched by his Nature Cure and he writes well about all he encounters. Ditto John Hillaby, though I’ve only read his Journey Through Britain. Funny you should mention that about colour of the early purples. The ones I see here don’t seem to tally with colours in the books; I think there must be a bit of hybridising going on, as the markings seem to vary a good deal too. Stunning photos, as ever – looks like magical coast you have there. Apologies for rambling on your blog.

  2. beatingthebounds says:

    ‘Addict’ about hits the spot. I enjoyed parts of ‘Sea Room, especially the bits about sailing and about the geology and bird life of the Shiants but the book could have been about 200 pages shorter if all of the virtually groundless speculation about the history of the islands had been removed. Oddly enough I think that I first came across Nicolson in an anthology edited by Hillaby, called something like ‘John Hillaby’s Walking in Britain’.
    No need to apologise for rambling – thanks for commenting. Ramble on!

  3. beatingthebounds says:

    As to the coastline – it would be nice to have sandy beaches and some breakers, but if we did we would be overrun by tourists I’m sure, so we’ll settle for things as they are.

  4. I do wish I had coastal walks on my doorstep… you have some great views to capture Mark.. if you get the chance pop over and check out my wildflowers and butterfly’s.. and if you think I get the ID’s wrong please inform me as I respect that and it is a good way to learn.

  5. Ramson flowers? haven’t heard that name before but the wild garlic up here is fantastic too! Is that what they’re called in those parts? You inspire me to get out of the office chair and walk!

  6. fatdogwalks says:

    Wonderful set of photographs as always Mark. You always remind me that I should be looking for the fantastic things on my doorstep, not just on my excursions into the hills!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s