Since my last blog life has been full of events both happy and sad. With rain, wind and plenty of sun the garden now has a tropical look. The last weekend was the East of England Show. The best description is that it is similar to a State Fair. On the wednesday previous a dear friend died of bone cancer. She was the hub of the local branch of the Red Cross; so on the opening day of the show there was one minutes silence in her memory.
The show had good entries for the garden design competition and the flower arrangements were very good this year. On of the highlights was the international orchid display and contest. The livestock entries were excellent - if you like cattle, sheep, pigs and goats.
I always go and visit the Alpacas. These are now being farmed for their wool. There were masses of show jumping; points accrued at the show count towards entry in the big national events. The dog agility was also great.
Old steam driven agricultural equipment gave working displays and there was a steam driven roundabout (carousel?) with gallopers. (horses that go up and down).
The food displays were good and so much more from garden plants, summer houses, poultry - you name it and it was there.
The first thursday of each month a group of us from the U3a visit a church for a tour and then have a cream tea. This week we went to St Andrews Church Lyddington and the tea was provided by the church ladies. The present church dates from the 15 centuary ans has many unusual features.The countryside was glowing with all tones of green, The hedgerows were having the cow parsley and other Umbellifers replaced by Dog Daisies and wild roses. On the way back we stopped at a nature reserve at Fineshades and saw on CCTV the Red Kites nesting; they are a bird of prey that have been reintroduced and are doing quite well. They are a magnificent bird as they circle overhead looking for food. Some 20 miles away is Rutland Water a very large man made reservoir with a nature reserve where Ospreys nest; these are fish eagles. The majority of birds, wild animals and plants are protected by law. There are six species of deer in the local country side and often the small muntjac are found in urban gardens. They originally escaped from a stately home many years ago and have spread across Englnd.
We all encourage wild life in our gardens with bird feeders log piles and ponds. If you are interested the places we visited can been found on Google satellite pictures.