Darwen’s Carnegie Library at Dusk and a Cloud

Darwen Carnegie Library silhouetted at dusk

My sister and I grew up in a family were books were valued. A fair amount of what came our way as spending money was converted to paperback books and we topped up what we could afford with regular trips to the local library.

Over the years I fell out of the habit of using Darwen Library, but one good thing to come out of the last eighteen months is that I have been making good use of the service, which is far better than I remembered. Online reservations make the catalogue of our local group of libraries easy to access and members can read a broad range of magazines online and listen to audiobooks.

I’ve really appreciated the kindness and thoughtfulness of the staff and volunteers at Darwen Library throughout the pandemic and feel sure they have been a lifeline for many. Continue reading “Darwen’s Carnegie Library at Dusk and a Cloud”

Dry Stone Wall At Christmas

Red Christmas baubles hung on a dry stone wall

Wishing a very merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it, and a happy day to everyone else.

It’s clear and frosty here, as if nature has silvered every surface in celebration. Other parts of the UK woke up to find the outdoors gift-wrapped in an artistic smattering of snow.

This year is different. It is hard to feel unmixed joy, but perhaps all joy has a poignant character we usually don’t notice. Continue reading “Dry Stone Wall At Christmas”

Where to See Snowdrops In Lancashire in 2020

Snowdrops with long outer petals

February is snowdrop month for much of the UK. I’ve gathered a list of places you can see snowdrops this month in my home county, Lancashire, with details of their snowdrop open days. If you’re planning to take close up pictures, go sooner rather than later to catch them at their freshest.

This post was originally published in 2019 and has been updated for 2020. For those who live elsewhere in Britain, I’ve added a link at the bottom for you to research local gardens with good collections of snowdrops.  Continue reading “Where to See Snowdrops In Lancashire in 2020”

Memories Of Dad

The rain has been beating down hard against the house in such rage that I went to inspect: it was a hailstorm, on the 2nd of May. My Dad, Jack Rushton, was always in tune with nature, more so than he sometimes was with people. He’d have known if the hail was unusual at this time of year or par for the course. He would have been 90 today. He died too early by any standards: my sister and I never got the chance to relate to him with truly adult minds. Of course some of his messages stay with me.

Bluebells growing on a woodland bank

His love of plants, animals and nature placed the natural world at the centre of things. He knew that English bluebells were the delicate ones, with flowers that hung from just one side of the scape.

He helped make sure my sister and I had the kind of childhood where climbing trees, inspecting stones in streams, crossing moorland, hanging around other people’s allotments, collecting horse pooh for roses, growing plants from seeds, cramming the yard full of so many pots you could hardly wind your way through it, and dissecting owl pellets to see what they had eaten would always seem normal. Continue reading “Memories Of Dad”