Crane's Bill - Herb Robert
has made its home in the crack of a sheer rock face high above the river Teme on Whitcliff Common.
In the Middle Ages there was a widespread belief in the 'doctrine of signatures'. This meant that any plant with curative properties would reveal the divine purpose for which it was intended through its shape or colour. In the case of herb-robert, the hairy stems and leaves turn a fiery red in autumn, or when the plant is growing in dry, exposed situations. It followed, according to the logic of medieval times, that herb-robert should be used in the treatment of blood disorders. The 'robert' of the plant's name is believed to be a corruption of the Latin 'ruber', meaning red; but it may also have been derived from the name of Robert, an early Duke of Normandy, for whom a celebrated medieval treatise was written.
There's nothing extraordinary about Nasturtiums,
except that once you have it in the garden, or anywhere else, it's yours for life, self-seeding profusely, clothing walls and fences or covering whole banks. For a blaze of red, orange or yellow, plant in poor, free-draining soil, and do not feed. Nasturtiums suffer from blackfly infestations; spray, if you want to. Once affected, I rip mine out; a few seeds will have escaped already, waiting to burst into renewed glory next year.
This opportunist shoot has forced its way through a narrow crack between two planks in a long, creosoted wooden fence.
The grey squirrel needs no introduction. This fellow hung here for a long time, working out how he could reach the few remaining nuts in the feeder without losing his precarious hold on the slippery bars of the wrought iron feeding stand. He managed it in the end and I didn't have the heart to shoo him off. But I waited with the re-fills until he had gone.
Jackdaws are the most notorious robbers in the crow family; the thieving habits of the jackdaw were celebrated by the early 19th-century humorous poet Richard Harris Barham in his poem The Jackdaw of Rheims, wherein the Jackdaw steals the ring of the Cardinal Lord Archbishop.
Apart from snatching and hiding such inedible objects, the jackdaw occasionally steals young birds and eggs, which it adds to its diet of seeds, fruit, insects and carrion. I am happy to report that this Great Spotted Woodpecker youngster was a little too grown-up for the jackdaw.
the family rain-coat wearing, leather-hatted and Wellington-booted
example of the common-or-garden variety of the female of the
labrador-walking species, a.k.a. Friko, catching a break between showers.