A fine and subtle spirit dwells In every little flower, Each one its own sweet feeling breathes With more or less of power. There is a silent eloquence In every wild bluebell That fills my softened heart with bliss That words could never tell. Yet I recall not long ago A bright and sunny day, ‘Twas when I led a toilsome life So many leagues away; That day along a sunny road All carelessly I strayed, Between two banks where smiling flowers Their varied hues displayed. Before me rose a lofty hill, Behind me lay the sea, My heart was not so heavy then As it was wont to be. Less harassed than at other times I saw the scene was fair, And spoke and laughed to those around, As if I knew no care. But when I looked upon the bank My wandering glances fell Upon a little trembling flower, A single sweet bluebell. Whence came that rising in my throat, That dimness in my eye? Why did those burning drops distil — Those bitter feelings rise? O, that lone flower recalled to me My happy childhood’s hours When bluebells seemed like fairy gifts A prize among the flowers, Those sunny days of merriment When heart and soul were free, And when I dwelt with kindred hearts That loved and cared for me. I had not then mid heartless crowds To spend a thankless life In seeking after others’ weal With anxious toil and strife. ‘Sad wanderer, weep those blissful times That never may return!’ The lovely floweret seemed to say, And thus it made me mourn.
Well dear reader,
I had a wonderful walk in the woods among the bluebells.
What a visual feast. And the smell was just as spellbinding. I suggest you take to opportunity to do the same if you can. Otherwise I have included some pics, to help those who are not so lucky as to live in the UK.
Hyacinthoides non-scripta (formerly Endymion non-scriptus or Scilla non-scripta)
Hyacinthoides non-scripta in detail
I couldn’t decide which tune you should listen to whilst walking through the woods, so I have given you three options. I prefer the depth of the second offering, but hey, that’s me. Enjoy.
And whilst you are listening, and exploring, here is some more blue in the garden…
Forget-me-not. Myosotis arvensis
Ground Ivy. Glechoma hederacea
Allium ursinum. As outstanding as bluebells en-masse, although a little different in smell!
The last one is a bit of a cheat, seeing as they are white flowers. But a truly splendid sight nonetheless. (And there are bluebells in the pic too!)
Another week of early summer has passed. May Day was glorious followed by an even more glorious bank holiday weekend. Personally, I spent it in Whitstable watching the Morris Men celebrate Jack -in-the-Green. (See my Seasons page for more info).
Morris Men at Whitstable celebrating Jack-in-the-Green
Now a few days have passed, it would appear the weather has decided to skip summer again and go back into Autumn. But apparently this is not unusual as has happened before…
So what has happened in the garden whilst I’ve been sunning myself on the beach? (Which by the way I would recommend. It really is a good way to spend your days)
Well, as expected, everything is exploding into leaf and flower. That early golden/green growth is spectacular, truly a special colour equal to the richness of autumn, yet always overlooked by our cynical eye. Not quite to the standard of the finest Green my Lords and Ladies I grant you, but something amazing nonetheless.
Euonymus fortunei. Summer growth
rape seed yellow
Hornbeam (Carpinus) bud burst
Urtica dioica. The Common Stinging Nettle
Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). Jack-by-the-hedge, Poor mans mustard.
Crataegus monogyna. The Common Hawthorn. Mayflower itself!
Verdant Early Summer
What has really got my goat however are two idiotic and rather rancid threats coming from our ‘political’ superiors.
1. An EU law that is dictating we can only buy seed from ‘approved sources’ – namely the big, corrupt companies that dictate what we can buy and then refuse to pay taxes on vast profits- Somehow judging that it is acceptable to pay employee income tax but not profit based corporation tax. Thus it will be illegal to collect seed or sow any seed unless it is from the list. As quoted from the Examiner.com “According to a report published yesterday by NaturalNews, the European Commission, which is the executive branch of the European Union, has proposed a new law that would make it illegal to grow, trade or reproduce any vegetable seeds or plants (including heirloom seeds and plants) not approved by a newly developed government agency, the EU Plant Variety Agency.” If you disagree with this idiot idea, please GO HERE and register your disapproval.
2. The second thing that has got my attention is an idiot idea that ‘Craft’ is no longer a creative process as described by the UK government. So all the good work done by Lutyens, Jeykll, Morris etc. etc. that did so much to disavow the industrial mass production of the industrial revolution is to no avail. Craftsmen are dead. Please GO TO THE UK GOVERNMENT WEBSITE and sign the petition stopping this short-sighted rule. What has the world come to when something so intrinsic to society has become a governmental pariah?
That said, I shall return to my gardening with the skill of a craftsman and the determination of a saint. I shall tend the roses with care, the perennial borders with aplomb and the shrubbery; well the shrubbery will be pruned at the correct time and in the correct way. You can’t beat a nice shrubbery.
I worked for a man once who was as insistent as a Knight of Ni and just as difficult, because he could not understand we cannot beat nature, but we can agree to a draw with her. A temporary impasse if you will.
If you look at the world as a whole, our lives and what we do, it is a collection of memories which we are incredibly lucky to be a part of. If you are truly lucky, then you can share these moments with other people.
Where do flowers go, when all is said and done They hope and pray, to find a second sun With golden shores, and amber painted skies Where poets run, and bluebells call home…
Well dear reader,
The squashing of spring and early summer, caused by interminable weather, has caused a wondrous explosion of life.
I have never seen the Magnolias in such fine array and as you can see, the Bluebells are in full majesty. Interesting to note, our research into genes has led us to a possible answer as to why flowers are shaped as they are. READ HERE for more information on the research carried out by the University of East Anglia and the John Innes Centre. ”The discovery of these hidden polarity maps was a real surprise and provides a simple explanation for how different shapes can be generated,” said Professor Enrico Coen, senior author of the study.
What a glorious second half of the year it promises to be – if that is, we ignore the fact that the Ash flower is out before the Oak flower. I am also slightly worried that the trees should be awash with bees, but am sad to say there are none.
Well done, however, to the European Union for placing a 2 year moratorium on certain pesticides. Let’s hope it has some effect before we have to resort to hand pollination as they do in China. If you don”t know what I speak of READ HERE. However, it is thought a broader ban may now be the only option, SEE HERE.
The Japanese revere this time of of blossom and hold events to celebrate the etheral and temporary nature of life. Daytime viewing is called hanami, whilst nightime viewing is known as yozakura. They even have a specialist cherry tree doctor called the Sakuramori, who tends to its care, even to the point of keeping the birds off.
As a person who follows Eastern philosophy, we must understand the beauty of such moments. Take time to sit under a flowering cherry tree and watch as the petals blow away. In our busy lives, we need to take time out to appreciate life’s ephemeral moments and understand that in all this chaos, our time is short. Enjoy it.
Happy, contemplative gardening.
wood anemone and bluebells
Magnolia flower. One of the oldest flower designs in existence.
You have to love early summer. What wiv’ all the life exploding in glorious technicolour.
The distinctive bud burst of Rheum palmatum
There are a few gardens I love in this world. I have many yet to visit, but from from short list that I have had the pleasure of seeing, Nymans in West Sussex is one of them. So as Summer is now upon us and the weather is good, I popped down to see the Magnolias, Rhododendron and other spring flowers.
But first a brief history.
In 1890 Ludwig Messel decided to design a brand new garden for the house he had just bought in Handcross. However, he was not alone in his design, his brother was an architect, Gertrude Jeykll and Robinson were close friends and Sir Edmund Loder an adviser. Not to mention Ellen Willmott having a hand in the rose garden.
But what is so inspirational about this particular garden?
It is quite clearly divided into many rooms. As is the way with many designs throughout the world, each garden is looked on with an overall theme. At Nymans the theme is fluidity between differing schemes. One can walk seemlessly between a walled garden and a lawnscape. A heath garden and a Japanese garden. There is even a Tasmanian garden.
Thus Nymans was once described as “a home garden on a grand scale, rather than a grand garden on a small scale.”
In 1947 however, fire destroyed the bulk of the house, but rather than pull it down, it was left as a screen for tender plants, another house cleverly refurbished within the ruins. In 1949 it was decided that in order to keep the gardens in pristine shape, they would be handed over to National Trust. If you visit, you will see why they are so important.
The House at Nymans
The flower of Stachyurus himalacius
The bud of Lindera obtusiloba about to open.
Snakes Head Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)
Lenten Rose. (Helleborus orientalis)
The Hellebore Bed
The young leaf of Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus)
The large leaf of a Rhododendron (possibly denudatum) in dappled shade.
The Rhododendron Garden
One of my favourite gardens. The topiary garden from the lawns
Apparently we are still in Spring (according to the irritating glass teat that spews mostly rubbish, with the occasional gem.) Given that the traditional start of Summer was the 14th of April, the swallows have arrived, the arctic terns have arrived, the mere-hens have produced a fine peep of chicks, I would suggest it is Summer…but then what do I know, it’s not as if I spend my time outside and have researched the idea of the ‘season’.
The death and funeral of an old Prime Minister have focused the mind somewhat. Mostly I must say on the state of the world.
It was interesting that so many are still divided by what she did, which I shall not go into here. As a historian, looking at the bland facts, she was a great revolutionary. When she came to power – with her party, as I am sure you are aware, it wasn’t just her – the country was in a state of decline, otherwise known as ‘The Sick Man of Europe’. Through the policies she followed, the country became ‘monetarily richer’; however much destruction was caused in the process. Like Stalin before her, who it must be said despite being a mass murderer created the vast industrial power that Russia now is, the UK government policy caused massive unhappiness in the cause of financial rejuvenation – which was successfully achieved. It is interesting that Margaret Thatcher will now go down in history as a ‘great politician’ like William Pitt – who himself was a rabid drunk. But, he nonetheless had to deal with a massive government deficit at a time of war. He did so by introducing Income tax and a form of poll tax (otherwise known as the window tax – which is why some homes of a certain age have bricked up windows) as well as reforming much of Britain’s approach to the world. I must admit here, I was no fan of Margaret Thatcher or all that was accomplished in the 1980′s at such cost, but looking now at the whole affair as mere history, I find I have no emotion towards the decade, except to say it was an opportunity lost to the world environment. Talking to a friend who was active with ‘Friends of The Earth‘ throughout the 1970′s and 1980′s, the idea of climate change is not a new one and was being talked of all those years ago – only to be ignored as the spoutings of the hippy left.
Where I am going with this thread?
I wish there were a politician in a position of power with enough stubborn ability – like those mentioned above – who could deal with the environment issues in a such a way, rather than the short term monetary gain many seem to be obsessed with. We only have one small tiny island to live on folks. Lets not forget it.
Incidentally if you want to help bees, as per my last blog, you could do worse that go HERE and download a bee saving kit.
I shall leave my soap box.
Talking of islands, I recommend you go out and buy the ‘Wonders’ of Life’ book. The TV programme was presented by the d:reamy (my wife’s quote) and poptatsic Prof. Brian Cox and was a positive gem in an otherwise bland TV schedule. If you do get a chance to watch the programme, I suggest you do.
Another great programme which I shall recommend and is still on the BBC iPlayer is “The Secret Life of The Rockpool”. I don’t know about you, but I used to (and still do) love to investigate rock pools. They are a fantastic ‘other world’ at your fingertips and are an ideal allegory for our tiny planet.
A Rock Pool
An interesting article in this months National Geographic , has fluidly explained the idea of trees being able to talk. A team of scientists has identified a series of sounds which trees produce. However, “In the lab, a team of French scientists has captured the ultrasonic noise made by bubbles forming inside water-stressed trees. Because trees also make noises that aren’t related to drought impacts, scientists hadn’t before been able to discern which sounds are most worrisome.” “This discovery could help scientists figure out when trees are parched and need emergency watering, added Ponomarenko, who presented his team’s results last month at an American Physical Society meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.”
Beech Tree at Chanctonbury Ring. Sussex
Who’d have thought, trees can talk?
I am reminded of the idea that plants grow better when talked to. Even our future King does it, so it can’t be a lie. (Hello Charles if you are by chance reading this.)
Not that I didn’t infer such as a thing in a previous blog or out…can we eat anything on this planet without feeling guilty? Possibly…
Don’t forget, grab your stethoscopes and head out into the woods now. The Birch tree sap is rising and the sound is truly a wonder of life.
That’s no great surprise as the jet stream is still providing this fair isle with the weather that Iceland normally gets. Apart from that, the Blackthorn is still in flower…
Much has been going on since I last wrote. The UK government has decided not to agree to ban pesticides which effect bees as there is not enough evidence that they truly do effect bees apparently. Despite several animal welfare groups explaining that is better to be safe and not use them, the use of nicotinoids will continue, and the bees will continue to be effected… Have a read of this blog if you want to get angry…
Interestingly, before they die out, scientists have discovered that bumblebees use logic in their search for food. Scientists at ZSL and the University of London have discovered that despite bees having a small brain, they imitate and copy other bees, working out by ‘beehaviour’ which flowers have a higher nectar content. ”Learning where to find nectar by watching others seems fantastically complex for a tiny bee, but it’s something that almost any animal could do, in the right circumstances,” says Dr Elli Leadbeater from ZSL’s Institute for Zoology. See HERE
As if that were not enough to sate your love of bees, another research paper has concluded that bees also detect flowers by minute floral electric fields. As each flower is visited the electric field modulates subtly, but is still detected by passing bumblebees which then distinguish a dynamic communication between flowers and pollinators. See HERE for a fascinating teaser.
Whilst talking of bees, last years disastrous weather accounted for a loss of ONE THIRD of all bees in the UK. The mild winter meant (if you recall) I had honey bees on the Camellia’s in Feb, only to see them disappear after the cold weather that began in April…Let’s hope this year is kinder to our bees.
If you want to get even more angry, there is a heated debate in the US as Monsanto (the world dominating chemical company that lied about how dangerous glyphosate actually is – see my page on chemicals) is about to be granted federal immunity from prosecution. I know not how the world operates, but it seems to be getting more corrupt by the minute. Or was it always corrupt, we just chose to ignore it?
As the weather has been so cold, it is of no surprise that things are struggling to get going. The daffodils are only just starting to flower, which considering last year I had one in flower at Christmas, is quite a turn-around. I am told, the weather is about to change again, but I will wait and see.
On another scientific note, Scientists as the University of Toronto (one of my favourite places on this fair planet), have discovered that plant photosynthesis is slightly more complex than originally thought. Carotenoids, the pigment that makes carrots orange and act as a photoprotection against the suns rays, also have the use of harvesting the suns energy. “A series of experiments showed that a special “dark state” of the carotenoid — a hidden level not used for light absorption at all — acts as a mediator to help pass the energy it absorbs very efficiently to a chlorophyll pigment.” For a fuller explanation, go HERE.
I am glad there is still so much to learn in the garden. It’s one of the things that make it such a beautiful place to work.
Since my last blog on the viability of the ocean ecosystems, it has become a worldwide policy to investigate the deep sub-ocean for minerals. In fact what is actually planned is the large-scale mining of deep ocean vents which apparently are rich in gold, copper and other ‘vital’ materials. Never mind that there are entire and unrepeatable eco-systems reliant on the vents.
deep ocean biology
UK Seabed Resources is one such firm hell-bent on getting rich whilst destroying yet another virgin natural territory. Yet much of the worlds governments are hailing it as a new gold rush. Wow. I am reminded yet again of all the times, our species has raced ahead with fledgling industrial technology only to discover, (sometimes hundreds of years later), that we were wrong.
My son and I had an interesting conversation this week about the viability of species. We were discussing the old zoos, which once were profligate in the UK and were then closed when it was discovered that animals do indeed have psychological needs -not that other countries followed suit – thus we have many charities involved in rescuing animals. Sadly, we also hear from time to time of other ‘zoo’s’ with which the owner has grown bored and has either let the animals out or has failed to keep them securely. Either way, the animals end up being shot by the local police. A sad waste of life.
Now the conversation was about the general population of animals. I was explaining that Cheetahs were going to be extinct soon as the populations were becoming genetically untenable. They are too small to offer a wide genetic variety and too far apart to offer any realistic hope of new material coming from another area. I also pointed out that science is sometimes an ass.
He of course asked why.
To which in my oh so smug way, I suggested that science had got too involved in the idea of keeping the purity of subspecies, rather than keeping the overall species.
Elucidate pater! Lentus verus! E.L.U.C.I.D.A.T.E…
(You can tell my son has no patience with his father.)
Well, I ventured, there are some zoos, with cross-breeds. Such as a Bengal tiger cross bred with a Siberian Tiger or a Javan tiger. Banham Zoo in Norfolk is one such zoo. Technically they are a non-breed. A travesty of science. They, as the saying goes, are a ‘non-parrot’ having no real basis in science as they would never, ever, ever, have met genetically had man not existed. In fact Banham zoo are NOT allowed to breed from them, despite them having a superior gene pool, having had it mixed with other healthy genes, rather than an ever dwindling ‘pure’ pool.
Siberian Bengal cross tiger
But, one has to remember, humans do exist.
What’s more we have existed so well that these species and sub-species are now close to being unable to exist. So what is better to have; a small group of ever dwindling pure bred sub-species animals or a larger group of genetically stronger animals that hold the species label in perpetuity?
Now this logic is not water-tight. I cannot save all species this way. I cannot for example make a monarch butterfly cross-breed with a large blue. Or indeed a Komodo Dragon breed with Short-toed Sand Swimmer. But perhaps, it is a way of saving some species from extinction, even if they are not ‘true’?
After all, a Bichon Frise is not a wolf yet they come from the same genetic ancestor…
But in irony and as a footnote, we are already causing the extinction of some tigers by breeding them. In a bizarre twist, some zoo’s and circuses breed tigers to be white. However, the gene pool is so small that in-breeding must take place. That’s right the owners force fathers to mate with daughters etc. Thus you get abominations like the image below.
White Tiger Deformed by forced inbreeding.
In botany we are at present experimenting with genetically modifying plants for our benefit, so why not animals? In fact I would suggest we have been experimenting with crops for thousands of years and they have not gone extinct.
But more recently we have used engineering to further expand (or limit) our genetic heritage.
That said, I do not agree with industrial GM in it’s current form. (There is growing evidence of major problems including plants becoming more poisonous since we fiddled with the genes…) They have also discovered that weeds are rapidly becoming immune to our herbicides because of our over-reliance on these technologies. SEE HERE. Basically, yet again the science is being led and paid for by profit interest.
So what do we do?
Personally, we have gone so far down a particular road of destruction, we either put up and shut up, or make a concerted effort – as an entire species – to try harder with our inherited environment and not just abuse it for the sake of short term gain.
March has certainly not come in ‘Like A Lion’ – we had a great spell of high pressure. Two days worth! Which made temperatures top 14 degrees Celsius and I will admit, made me think of abandoning the garden and popping down to the beach with my wetsuit and newly sprayed kayak. Not that my loyalties are divided of course. The sea comes first for me. Then the garden. That said, a beach garden would not suit me, in fact I have worked in one and to be honest, I spent a large proportion of the time either looking at or thinking about the sea. A garden in the sea, now that would suit me.
It’s a random, yet not unusual fact, I was in a garden centre t’other day with my son. As is usual for him, he asked to go and see the fish, which is typical now – that is to have an aquatic centre as part of the overall ‘retail village experience’ – thus we wandered away from the card display and on to the more exotic. Sorry, that sentence took you on a perambulated journey of discovery without saying very much at all…to cut a not very long story shorter, I found myself fascinated not by the fish, but by the plants. Beautiful.
I think perhaps I need to devise a way of living in the sea.
Atlantis from ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’
However, I have it on good authority, namely the fact that the blackthorn is now in full flower that we are about to have a return to winter…indeed snow is predicted by those with the big guessing computer. Minus 6 on the scale is predicted so my long johns are not quite ready to be packed away and the sea will still be, I hazard a guess, pretty cold.
Besides, having so openly disclosed my love for all things aquatic, I suspect once that I was firmly ensconced in silver-green depths, I would begin to miss being on terra-firma. Which would create and architectural nightmare. But I suppose, in a Gods mind, that is why we have tides?
House by the sea
Hind House by John Pardy Architects on the river Laddon
What with all the recent rain and subsequent flooding, there are plenty of house owners who have discovered their house has some submersible qualities. Perhaps not always to the benefit of the owners possessions.
Not to mention the sheer number of plants in the sea that we largely look at without ever bothering to really think about them.
But the sea is an incredibly complex ecosystem that we, as land based life-forms, largely ignore. Our global fishery policy is an example of the rape we are inflicting on 2/3 of the planet, yet we go regardless.
It’s March, and the ‘weather industry’ has decided to officially label this month as the first month of spring. Which of course, you and I know is an untruth. If December the 23rd is Mid-Winter and June 22nd is Mid-Summer, then when is Mid-Spring? March 20th of course. Which infers by deduction that the end of Spring is at the End of April…Thus early summer is May (hence our traditional celebrations such as ‘Jack-in-the-Green’ and the Maypole dances!) Gosh, you, my dear reader, are so undeniably intelligent as to be almost remarkable. No, I am erring on caution too readily; you areremarkable, because in the entire Universe, there is only one you. Unless of course you understand and accept that according to one theory, the finite nature of elements in an infinite universe means that there is, somewhere outthere, an exact copy of you, or indeed you are an exact copy of them!
Going back on point, I am sorry to disappoint you, it would appear you have been fooled. All your lovely summer holidays and the memories they potentially offer – booked for the fair month of August – are in fact the Autumn holidays…which as my father has said but once, being of fair Devon/Cornish stock, “They don’t want you in the classroom dripping everywhere from the early autumn rains…that’s why the school holidays are in the wet months!”
I am so glad I home educate my two. We can holiday anytime, and we don’t get to pay those horrible ‘in season’ booking prices. Ah, to gloat, perchance to gleam.
That said, the memory is a fantastic thing. Being as I went to school like 90% of the population, all those ‘summer’ holidays I had as a kid were especially poignant now that I am somewhere in the dreaded ‘middle’ age (no you can’t have my liver). Sailing in Salcome. Sailing in Exmouth. Sailing in Torbay. Sailing in Burgess Park for that matter on a tiny little pond – rather than the big pond you may or may not be familiar with. How to tie a sheepshank. How to tie a Reef knot. How to untie a granny knot or how Alexander untied the Gordian knot…(Not that all my memories are about sailing, as I fear that would have me locked up for being slightly odd. Ha harr Matey!) There are many memories I would not share and some that I find hilarious that I would love to share, but perhaps it would be advisable not to… On the whole memories are great to have!
But what is memory?
From the most basic point of view, it is just a series of synapse connections that according to the dictionary give the brain the ‘power’ to recall moments. Science has provided us with an idea of where memories are stored inside the brain. But the truth be known, that same science is still unsure how these moments can be recalled so accurately, without hesitation and at a moments notice. Anything can be a trigger for memory, from a smell, sound or even a visual stimulus to conscious decision. I once read a doctors report, which stated that during brain surgery it was noted that pressure on the brain can create visual memories almost to the extent of hallucination. This was discovered by chance because as is the nature of brain surgery, the patient does not have to be unconscious and was thus obliging when she saw her husband suddenly appear in the operating theatre!
If you like memory and want to know more about its relationship with you, one could do worse than visit the Natural History Museum and The Science Museum in London. Or simply go HERE.
We all of course remember the man who mistook his wife for a hat, after suffering a brain injury.
Or perhaps you don’t, but I recommend you read the book or indeed see the opera.
In the garden, we are bombarded with millions of moments of memories, so many in fact that our brain processes almost instantly and discards that which it regards as un-useful, without our cognitive senses even noticing. We are oblivious of our own filters and a good thing too. If we were aware of everything, we wouldn’t ever get anything done; instead wandering aimlessly, verbalising our astonishment by saying things like “Wow!” and “Cor blimey!” and “Fucking Hell!”
Which is where we came in I believe.
But memories can also be damaging. Those people who suffer from severe anxiety such as Emotional Intensity Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, often cite an inability to remove themselves from adverse memories as a cause for deep depression and guilt. As a historian I have often read and even heard it said that it is not simple to ‘move on’ from horrific memories, of things that you and I should never have to suffer, thanks in part to the heroism of our fathers, uncles, grandparents, husbands, wives etc. Indeed when told to move on, the most common response is a simple: “How?” – which is of course the most difficult question to answer. How does one forget a traumatic experience exactly? There were many who returned from World War Two or Vietnam or even more contemporary wars with serious mental health problems. That’s not forgetting those poor people with family or abuse issues. The latest cognitive psychology doesn’t attempt to help you forget these moments, but merely tries to install coping mechanisms for when they arise.
A map of the brain: From img_Sales_Brain. (An advertising website)
It is also now widely recognised in medicine that the brain can be seriously damaged or even changed irreversibly due to these stresses, especially if ignored and untreated. SEE HERE and HERE. (So much so, there is now a legal clamour to prove that some crimes are committed purely because the accused had such brain changes and is therefore ‘not guilty’ due to limited understanding.)
If you have such problems due to childhood events or indeed just due to life, and live in the UK, please go to the following websites for more information:
Given the serious nature of these terrible afflictions, the calming influence of gardening and the garden in general is also cited as a positive influence on the healing process. Indeed there are charities which specifically use gardening as therapy:
It has been an incredible week. Well, not really incredible, that would somehow suggest that the week were full of unbelievable events. But it was a splendid week.
‘Snowdrop’. Galanthus nivalis
As usual in February, we received the gift of a week of ‘t-shirt’ weather, that somehow fooled us into thinking that balmy May was just peeping round the corner. This has been of course followed by the traditional reminder that we are still in February and that mother nature has a cold kiss when she wants to put you in your place.
A February morning overlooking Bramley
With that in mind, I need a holiday, or perhaps a work placement somewhere warm, so that I can learn a new skill and enjoy some warmth. Ideas anyone? I’ll pay the flights and hostel, you just provide the work.
A vineyard would be good.
I have been thinking on a sticky subject this week, which a friend, Luis, in the fair US of A, helped me with. Basically, the population is getting older, as was ‘our dream’, but our birth rate is not keeping up. Therefore at some point in the near future (the latest suggestion is in just 15 years time), we are going to have a large population of retirees with nobody paying for their pensions and vital services. There is a name for this apparently, it is called a Demographic Time-bomb.
So, whilst the government is busy allaying the fears of the current retired population, our future generation are less likely to achieve a retirement at all. In fact I would dare to say, having ‘ear-wigged’ a conversation way back in 1996, it is quietly agreed in the circles that make such decisions, there will be NO state pension by 2025.
Basically, there is not enough tax revenue now, let alone in 12 years time.
So what do we do about this major concern?
According to analysts, our current financial problems will pail into a mere blip. House prices will tumble, leaving a vast swathes in not only negative equity, but the entire economy which is based on the false creation of wealth will have massive problems. (Have a look at Japan, who has this phenomena already. House prices are a massive 50% down and the same is happening across the globe).
Japan – Property Pulled Down by Retirees Selling for Twenty Years. From http://www.moneymorning.com.au
Or for an alternate view on why house prices are so high and why we are so skint, watch the video…
Sorry for going all political on a gardening blog, but I do say, I am writing with a conscience….
So what to do?
Well, if we look at our less complicated relatives – those of our cousins who spend their time fishing, hunting, and just surviving perhaps on an island, perhaps in the jungle – all tribal peoples, listen to and respect their elders. The chief of the tribe is an elder. The most wise man is an elder. He or She has the most life experience and is therefore the most senior member of the tribe. Even elephants understand this.
In the western society, you are only seen as useful when you are in work and physically fit, therefore as a society mentality, you are creeping towards the scrap heap in your mid 50′s…
But you have all that life knowledge. Going to waste. With the Young Turks biting at the bit to usurp you.
Well, lets take a clean look at our society. At current rates of life expectancy, a man who retires at 65 is quite likely to live a further 15 to 20 years. It is not an incredible idea that he could live another 30… yet because he has ‘retired’ he is seen as not useful in the workplace. We have an odd mental belief structure that newness somehow supercedes what is already in place -which makes sense with technolgoy, but not with knowledge. We learn from history supposedly, so why ignore such a wealth of readily available information. First hand accounts of what it means to live and survive in a different era?
What we need to do is utilise this vast knowledge bank. We have a huge information network, in need of the knowledge that is merely sitting in a retirement home, literally being ignored.
If I were building a super computer like ‘Deep Thought’ I would expect it to have the latest technology, but the programming would have to have all the readily available information that we could glean from every available source. And that information should be paid for.
You understand where I am coming from?
Now quite how we create this information system is not for me to decide. But we have libraries full of books, that society has coveted for thousands of years, so why not human libraries rather than a retirement home?
The word retirement should be banished from the human lexicon. We are all useful, and deserve to be recognised as such.