Posts Tagged Nature

Sheffield Botanicals 2012

As an add-on to the visit to Sheffield Central Library, we stayed on to visit my son who is at university in Sheffield. It was a lovely clear morning on Sunday, and the students were all asleep, so we went to Sheffield Botanical Gardens for a wander around and a cup of (very good) coffee. A visit is highly recommended, but in case it’s not within your reach, here are some pics:

[nggallery id=2 images=0]

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Unwelcome Visitors

Not the only unwelcome visitor

You may have noticed that my homepage was overtaken by some unwelcome visitors for a short while. Unfortunately I was at Edge-Lit in Derby for the weekend, which made it difficult to deal with. However, it appears to have been sorted out now and will hopefully not recur.

They are not the only unwelcome visitors, though. I posted last time about Harriet (or Henry) but neglected to mention Marge (or perhaps Maurice).

Maurice (or Marge) decided that the snacks in our food cupboard were just too tempting and helped herself (or himself). As you can see, this unwelcome visitor was caught and you will be pleased to know that he (or she) was carefully transported to a new home in a local country park where there is plenty on offer for an aspiring mouse.

Hopefully, neither visitor will be back.

Edge-Lit, by the way, turned out to be an interesting and entertaining weekend with a chance to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. Thanks to all those who came along to my workshop on writing dialogue, and Hi to all those attending panels and readings or just hanging out in the bar.

Hopefully it will become a regular thing – the event, not the visitors.

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Unexpected Visitor

Henry, or possibly Harriet

Here at Shevdon Manor, we try to encourage the wildlife, not least because we’re in the middle of a town and the wildlife needs all the help it can get.

So this is Henry, or possibly Harriet, we’re not sure, and he (or she) is not normally seen in daytime, but rather heard, rootling about in the flower beds at dusk. However, in a brave moment, or possibly in search of another like-minded but oppositely gendered hedgehog, Henry (or Harriet) appeared on the lawn.

This is probably last year’s hedgehog. They only live two or three years, and need to be about the size of a Christmas pudding by the end of autumn to survive the winter.

They are much maligned creatures and have a reputation of having fleas, which is true, but not any more so than any of the neighborhood cats, and they are specific hedgehog fleas, and don’t bother humans or cats. Sadly, you sometimes see them as roadkill – cars are a major hazard where we are – as the cars run over them and rather than curl up they stand up on their legs and try to run away. They can run quite fast if the want to, but they can’t outrun a car.

They eat mainly slugs and worms, and other invertebrates, and are a friend to gardeners. If you find one, don’t feed them bread or milk – they can’t digest it – but in a dry spell, leaving a saucer of water where they might wander and on a warm day in winter they might be found foraging – a little cat food can be a welcome snack.


The Year Turns – 2011

Photo - Mike Shevdon

Malmesbury Abbey in Winter

Today, the 22nd December, is the shortest day of the year. Some years it’s the 21st, but this year it’s the 22nd. From today the days will get longer, though at first the mornings may drift a little later before the sun starts to rise earlier again. The changes will be small at first, but they will come.

I hope that this year has brought you joy, and that next year will do the same. For those who celebrate Christmas, and I count myself among you, Happy Christmas.

I took the photograph (left) at Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire, founded in 676 AD, on a beautifully cold and crisp winter’s day. For me, it symbolises the joy of winter.


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