The hedgehog gets it

I was going to write a serious post about getting my manuscript to the publishers and reinstating my vanished website, but I have spent this evening rushing to the glass back door to shine a torch on the hedgehogs just outside.

So, I have some very bad photos of the Big un and the Little un trying to eat out of the same flower pot. When I first heard the thumping noise and went to look the Big un was hunched and immobile over the front edge of the pot, while the Little un bumped the back end, moving the pot in every direction. Then the Little un came round and tried to push the Big un out of the way, but he just went further into the pot and sat on the food. DSCN8225


Eventually the Little un gave up and went round the back to feed on the scraps that fell through the holes, while the Big un munched his way through the nibbles. DSCN8235

When I next looked there was no one in sight, and some food still in the pot, but a while later the Little un returned. He polished everything off, had a little wander and disappeared into the night. I have seen variations of the battle on several occasions now. DSCN8236I’d love to know their relationship, but can’t work out.

A couple of photos from the amazing and unique Hauser and Wirth garden and gallery at Bruton in Somerset. The galleries are full of beautiful, moving and astonishing sculptures, but you may not photograph them. DSCN8175 DSCN8183

A vintage car, Middlemarch and hedgehogs

Not having blogged for a while, this post includes a somewhat random collection of subjects. There will be short stories and more paintings again next time.

First, can anyone identify the make of this English car of the 1920s? Olive's Car MJ

Next, while I blush at the years that have passed before I got around to reading Middlemarch (George Eliot), I finally accomplished this. If I had read it as a schoolgirl, I might have been a better writer, but hopefully it is never too late to have an improving influence. Eliot has a way of lightly skewering a character onto the page, with the result that they are forever real in your mind. There are no saints or villains to be seen; every character has strengths and weaknesses, can fascinate or disgust.

A few words on Mr and Mr’s Vincy’s relationship with their daughter, Rosamund, tells so much about all their characters.

Vincy, blustering as he was, had as little of his own way, as if he had been prime minister,…

Rosamund… listened in silence, and at the end gave a certain graceful turn of the neck, of which only long experience could teach you that it meant perfect obstinacy.

 And Bulstrode’s endless rationalisations are a total giveaway of sanctimonious hypocrisy.

… is it not one thing to set up a new gin-palace and another to accept an investment in an old one?

The fates treat everyone with impartial kindness or cruelty according to random whim. Yet  the plot is tight, intricate, totally believable and immensely satisfying. This is exactly what the title implies, a novel woven round a community, and yet this is no old-fashioned pastoral, the individual stories still grab you today. People’s mistakes and aspirations are still recognisable today. I’d better stop. Basically, Eliot has all the skills I am striving to acquire and my envy of her is too blatant.

I started Middlemarch in high summer, but autumn has more than set in. The hedgehogs are still feeding; we almost tripped over one last night, snuffling just outside the back door. He scuttled off, but returned quickly when I put food out. They will not eat in the rain, so if it is wet we put the plate under the back porch. Finally, my favourite rose, Just Joey, has decided to have a final summer fling and the cosmos chocamocha is flowering madly. DSCN6632 - Version 2


One tomato, two tomato, three tomato… and some maples

My husband was a little underwhelmed by his first sight of lunch today.

We love tomatoes and I thought with the new greenhouse we would have a splendid crop of homegrown ones. Sadly, all the ones I started in the greenhouse have not fared well after being transferred to the vegetable plot. The blazing heat, our sandy soil and my erratic watering and feeding (though I tried) have not been to their liking, so every kind of rot has set in and this is all that is left.


And they’re not as healthy as they look. The one plant I kept in the greenhouse is looking much happier, so next year I will fill the greenhouse with them.


However my little nursery bed of seedling maples has come through the summer in brave force and I think there are some interesting plants here.


I was a little alarmed to see that the parent of most of these, Matsukaze, is already showing some Autumn colour. I don’t understand where the summer went or how the year is slipping past so swiftly.


At least the birds and the hedgehogs are flourishing. Outside my writing room window very new half-coloured robins, bluetits, great tits and coal tits and, I think, a willow warbler (who resists the efforts of the paparazzi ) all flit about constantly (very good for concentration) while the ground is patrolled by pigeons, dunnocks and blackbirds (one with a grey head). We hear the hedgehogs at night and they polish off a plate of mealworms etc every night. I am torn between my desk and the outside, but the seasons won’t wait, so I must try and get out more.



Hedgehog excitement

We used to meet hedgehogs regularly in the garden at night, but of late years there has been very little evidence of them. For the last three months we have been leaving hedgehog food (Cranberry Crunch from the RSPB). The food gets eaten and there have been hedgehog droppings around, but no sightings, then tonight there was a great deal of scuffling and snuffling about 20 minutes ago and…
DSCN6143 DSCN6144They legged it very swiftly as soon as I approached with a camera, so I’m afraid you will need the eye of faith to spot them. But those two brown lumps like fluffy microphones tucked into the lefthand base of the pot are healthy young hedgehogs and they were frolicking in our knot garden and we are thrilled to pieces.