Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Wild Places by Robert MacFarlane

In this book Robert MacFarlane takes us on a tour of the British Isles looking for our remaining wild places. He starts by seeking out wildnerness, remote areas of wild weather and (relatively) untouched nature, camping on ice and mountain peaks.

He soon comes to realise though that wild places aren't just wilderness, but those areas where nature reclaims the land from humans:

That margins should be a redoubt of wildness, I knew, was proof of the devastation of the land: the extent to which nature had been squeezed to the territlry's edges, repressed almost to extinction. But it seemed like proof, as well, of the resilience of the wild - of its instinct for resurgence, its irrepressibility. And a recognition that wildness weaved with the human world, rather than existing only in cleaved off areas, in National Parks and on distant peninsulas and peaks.....

This is a book to open readers' eyes to the wildness that is all around as well as an introduction to some of the most remote areas of wilderness left in our islands.

The Wild Places by Robert MacFarlane, published by Granta

The author Robert MacFarlane recently wrote a brilliant article about wilderness and language, which you can read here

It's World Book Day today - a celebration of reading and an opportunity to encourage children and young people to develop a reading habit!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


It was snowing yesterday and was very cold. Today is warmer but there is still some snow around. Lovely to see wild garlic showing well in Colinton Dell (by the Water of Leith) today, some of it poking through the snow.

Also lovely to see the first celandines of the year, growing in a less snowy part of the Dells

Lots of birds singing too.....

Monday, 2 March 2015

beaded curtain tie-backs

I recemtly made these beaded tie backs with beads from an ugly necklace that needed to be restrung plus a few beads and hoops from my stash.

The're now in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop, you can see them here.

You can see the other beaded curtain tie backs I've made here.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

White God - a film review

Teenager Lili is sent to stay with her estranged father, who isn't happy about looking after her or her dog, Hagen. He eventually throws Hagen out into the streets and Lili is unable to find her beloved pet, despite wandering round for ages.

Hagen is having adventures of his own, meeting up with other strays and learning how to find a living from market stalls and refuse piles. Then he is captured and trained as a fighting dog. After he kills another dog in a fight, he escapes and leads a pack of strays and abandoned dogs on a mission to punish the humans who have mistreated them.

This is a gripping and sobering film about human mistreatement of animals. It also acts as a metaphor for human mistreatment of groups of people considered to be undesirable. (I think it has a particular resonance with the political situation in Hungary, the film's country of origin, but I don't know enough about Hungarian social issues to comment specifically on that.)

The funny thing is, anyone watching the dogs (who collectively won the Palm Dog Award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival) chasing round the streets can tell that these aren't dogs on a killing rampage, they're just domestic dogs enjoying a nice run with their friends, look at all those wagging tails! Which makes the viewer happy that no dogs were harmed in this film and doesn't detract from the drama!

White God is showing at Edinburgh's Filmhouse cinema until Thursday 5 March.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Lauriston Castle Gardens

Lauriston Castle has beautiful grounds overlooking the Firth of Forth. The highlight is the Japanese Garden, which is a haven of tranquillity.

Through the gates you have a lovely view of Cramond Island in the Forth.

There are water features and gravel gardens, it really is very pretty and well worth a visit.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Wildlife Garden, Gorgie City Farm

Alongside the rabbits, the wildlife garden has always been my favourite part of Gorgie City Farm. However, as it is tucked away in a corner of the farm, it has in general often been overlooked by visiting members of the general public. That should all change in the future, following a recent redesign of the garden, which sees new water features, dry stone walls, seating and access walkways added.

The new wildlife garden was designed by Tracy, of the Farm's Gardening Team and opened by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh earlier today. Here Tracy and the Lord Provost are planting a commemorative tree

Not much is yet growing in the garden, but the mural gives a hint of how alive with wildlife it all will be in a few weeks time

While I was there I walked round the rest of the farm. They have some adorable pygmy goats at the moment

I was also pleased to see that the roof of the Farm Education Centre is now covered with solar panels

with a sign explaining the benefits of solar power

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Urban Bee exhibition

At the weekend we visited Edinburgh's Botanic Gardens. You can see the birds we saw here and in the nearby Inverleith Park here.

We also went round the very interesting and informative exhibition about Urban Bees.

This exhibition looks at some of the different species of bees found in urban areas of Europe, explores some of the difficulties facing bees in general (such as insecticides and pesticides), looks at the consequences of declining numbers of bees (including the effect on food production) and looks at how we can help our local bees (including planting necxtar rich native plants in our gardens and building homes for bees).

The exhibition also looks at insects, such as hoverflies, that mimic bees and also looks at insect pollination of plants in general.

I was slightly disappointed that,despite a sign inviting visitors to don 'bee bibs' and pretend to be a bee, that option didn't seem to be available. Or maybe that only applies to the special children's tours of the exhibition.

I really liked this sign at the foot of the model bee:

I wonder if the organisers had had problems earlier with people trying to dismantle the bee? 

Urban Bees is part of the European Union Life Urban Bees Project. It will be on display at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens until Sunday 7 June.