Sunday, 20 April 2014

By the River Almond

Walking to Edinburgh Airport may not sound like the most appealing of Easter walks, but if you choose the River Almond Walkway to get there, it really is a wonderful walk. Specially at this time of year.

The river is beautiful and surrounded by lots of trees, opening out to fields further upstream. 

 The spring flowers are blooming everywhere, lots of wood anemone as in the photo below.
 The photo below shows bluebells, wild leeks and a celandine.
The birds were singing everywhere too, including blackcaps, chiffchaffs, robins and wrens in the woodland and skylarks above the fields. The sand martins were flying about above the river near their colony of  holes in a sandbank and we had a wonderful view of a kingfisher as it flew past us downstream. We were delighted to see two brown hares, distant views of just their ears sticking out above the grass, but still, lovely to see them at Easter! Plus there were a lot of butterflies about. Crafty Green Boyfriend took this photo of two peacocks

and this of a small tortoiseshell

though we didn't manage to get any photos of the orange tip butterflies, which weren't as numerous as they normally are on this walk.

heat haze -
a swallow dips down
to the river.

for NaPoWriMo

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Ivy Shadows

Ivy has a shadowy side, although birds love it as a place to build their nests in spring and to roost in the winter, it can damage trees, though I recently read that the effect isn't as bad as we had been lead to believe in the past. These cherry blossom trees look slightly uncomfortable though.

for Shadow Shot Sunday.

choked by ivy -
the cherry trees

for NaPoWriMo.

Friday, 18 April 2014


I was captivated by this moss which I noticed earlier this week growing on a fallen tree trunk in Colinton Dell by the Water of Leith. Look at the delicate white fruiting bodies. If you know what species it is, please leave a comment!

and I love the contrast betweeh the two species of moss in the photo below. 

Moss growing on the trunk of a fallen tree -
it must seem like a forest to this passing bee
or the beetle clambering its way
through the green, entirely unaware of me.

today's prompt at NaPoWriMo was to write a ruba'i  - a Persian form, of four lines with the rhyme sequence AABA.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Poetry pamphlet Bougainvillea Dancing now available to download!

I taught sciences in Malawi between 1990 - 1992 as a VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) volunteer. My first poetry pamphlet Bougainvillea Dancing, published 2002, raised money for charities working in Malawi. The original pamphlet is sold out now, but I was delighted that Chris Crittenden  reviewed it recently on Owl Who Laughs.

Most of the poems in Bougainvillea Dancing focussed on Africa, but many of them were unrelated to that continent. I've just put together an updated version of the pamphlet, removing all the poems unrelated to Africa and adding in more poems on African topics, plus a couple of prose pieces and some photos. This is now available as a pdf to download from the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop.

(If you don't want to shop via Etsy but are happy to use Paypal then let me know.If you don't have a Paypal account then please contact me for alternative payment methods.)

10% of proceeds from this publication will go to VSO for their work in Africa

VSO’s programme in Malawi concentrates on HIV and AIDS, health and social wellbeing, secure livelihoods (food security) and education in seven rural and remote districts. The districts were chosen due to their excessive poverty levels, high prevalence of HIV and AIDS, and low involvement of other international charities.

I'm hoping that editing a poetry pamphlet can count as the equivalent of writing a poem for NaPoWriMo.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


 mute swans on the River Esk, Musselburgh

piano music
from an open window -
swans on the river

for NaPoWriMo

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Baby Goats are Growing up!

I was at Gorgie City Farm this afternoon for the last of the current series of Pet Lodge Lectures. Dr Kieren Curran of University of Edinburgh gave a talk "Run, Run Reynard" on the fox and popular song and we listened to some of the songs he spoke about. 

As the weather was lovely (and the greenhouse too crowded!) we sat outside for the talk. As well as the invited animal guests of guinea pigs and a bearded lizard, we were visited by several of the farm's free-range chickens. The sheep and several species of bird (including a song thrush, great tits and wrens) joined in the singing. 

I also took the opportunity to catch up with the goat kids that I'd photographed last week when they were only 13 minutes old. This week they're looking more grown up already and have been joined by more kids! They were all very energetic!


And not at all related to the rest of the blogpost, today's poem for NaPoWriMo


I imagine the view from the windows of these cottages
when they were first built by the side of a then countryside road

fields and more fields over to the mountains 
and the occasional cyclist or horse drawn cart 

Now it's a busy road and the traffic roars past
through what has become a suburb

The cottages face rows of sheds in a industrial estate
and the only field in the neighbourhood is now 

a 'Prime Site for Development'. 


In other poetry news, I'm updating my 2002 self published poetry pamphlet 'Bougainvillea Dancing' (adding new poems!) and it will hopefully be available as a pdf to download from the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop in the near future. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Tree Following - the larch turns green

Even from a distance today I noticed that the larch is now starting to look quite green

Close to, you can see the new green needles. Lovely that the flowers are still out. Having only just noticed them for the first time this year I want to enjoy them for as long as possible!

I noticed today that this tree has a wound (or a growth or a canker?), which is oozing sap

Meanwhile, the celandines are in full bloom under the larch

and in fact everywhere, I don't think I've ever seen such amazing carpets of celandines

and though I've often seen celandines growing in trees, never before have I seen them as high up as this! 

for Tree Following.


Constellations of celandines cloak the ground
under the birch tree whose ochre catkins
echo the bright line in the head of the goldcrest.

Daffodils trumpet on the slopes
and the blackbird's orange beak opens
in glorious song.

for NaPoWriMo.