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Monday, 4 November 2013

Sometimes the sun actually shines when I'm in England!

To be fair, I'm usually there out of season but it was lovely on our first day in Somerset, to have wall to wall blue sky and sunshine. After pottering about in Mum's garden in the morning we spent the afternoon wandering around local footpaths and country lanes. It was good to see so many wildflowers still going strong, lots of colourful flowers in people's gardens, and berries, fruit and even some flowers in the hedgerows for the wildlife. It was just as green there as at home, with just a hint of autumn in the tree colours. Glorious views over the countryside and mild weather. I just wish the rest of my stay in England had been like this, but in October that really is wishful thinking!

I added this first photo as I found it amusing. Just before we hit the open field we noticed this rotting car in a wild overgrown patch at the end of the lane. It's not just in France where you find old cars like this rusting away in the corners of people's property (this was actually private land). It's just that this isn't a Citroen 2CV!

Rotting corpse, but maybe good for birds to nest in!

Now this has to be the most tidy, best kept public footpath I've ever seen;
ditto the poshest sheep fencing in the universe!

Green! Nice for us to see sheep about as they are not really farmed much in Brittany;
only private individuals keep a few sheep for their own needs.

There were plenty of Commas (Polygonia c-album) about.
With their wings closed they often look just boring brown,
but look close up and there are all sorts
of pretty markings on the underside of their wings.

I would never have known what these were if I had not read
Rosie Nixon's Leavesnbloom blog post about them!
They are Bedeguar galls
also known as Robin's Pincushions, on dog rose (Rosa canina).

Just a nice view.

Much excitement when this beautiful dragonfly settled on the hedgerow
right in front of me and was quite happy for me to take loads of photos of it!

It's a female Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) and whilst I see the males of this species
at home very often, they never, ever stop their continual flying around my pond and garden!

It was perhaps not surprising that it was there, because just behind that hedge
was this beautiful ornamental pond. There was a gateway in the hedge
so I managed to sneak a picture over the gate.

Along the way I stopped to watch a family of Long Tailed Tits (Aegithalos caudatus)
on a tree that had lost most of its leaves.

It was surprising to see in some places blackberries only in flower!
Certainly the pollinators such as this bee were enjoying the nectar and pollen.

Farmhouse at the end of the open field part of the walk - I guess they keep pigeons!
(And just look at that sky!!! I haven't done anything to enhance the colour).

Back out on the lane and a lovely berry laden tree
above the house name sign.

Still Yarrow flowering and it had attracted this
Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) butterfly.

It seemed to me to be rather late in the season for blackberries,
but not a bad thing for the Comma (Polygonia c-album) butterflies
and other wildlife enjoying eating them.

Typical narrow lane on the way back to the village.
Woe betide you if you are in a car and meet a tractor or worse, a milk tanker!
However there are usually passing places here and there.

Back in the village and a picture of the church.

We took another footpath which goes right through the church grounds.

And past a second cemetary a few fields away with this
magnificent Monkey Puzzle tree and glorious views.
Not a bad position for your final resting place!


  1. Lovely photos - as usual, Mandy. I'd never heard of Bedeguar galls before - interesting!

    1. Thanks Sandra and those galls look like flowers, don't they? I'm so glad I saw some (and even more pleased that I knew what they were!).

  2. Loved this virtual walk through your idyllic landscape! I would have spent hours photographing every detail of the car and the cemetery :-)

    1. Thanks very much Marianne! Rotting cars don't interest me too much other than for the amusement factor but I do love cemeteries..... and thanks because I thought you'd spelt the word wrongly so checked, and it's me who got it wrong, lol! I must have been spelling cemetery wrong all my life. :-)

  3. That's it. You've done the impossible. Made England look empty of people, traffic free and not at all bad looking to boot. Good stuff Mandy. ;-)

    1. Amazing isn't it? Wait till I get to Berkshire. I may even have managed some photos from the 'burbs which look like that too..... :-) Cheers Nick!

  4. You had me at "Sometimes"
    Lovely photos and great reading. I enjoy hearing about England and the likes of. Can't believe the weather was so nice for you. x

    1. Thank you April! I think I take bad weather with me to England, but we were blessed with two beautiful days and then it was rather mixed with a lot of rain! Glad you enjoyed it, it's not a bad old place ;-)

  5. I loved scrolling through the photos of that part of bucolic Somerset. Autumn is always so much later the further south you go - I couldn't believe at first that these were taken in October and that there were pollinators still out flying.

    Thanks Mandy for sharing my link on the galls - there's nothing quite like seeing Robins Pincushions for real. You'll be inspecting every single Rosa canina in the hedgerows from now on as that's what I do every year.

    1. I'm glad you commented Rosie as I've just amended a typo on the caption about your Robin's Pincushions (doesn't matter how many times you read your own posts, there are always mistakes)! Yes this was mid October but probaby the last day that I would consider summery this year. It was still quite mild and about 17C.
      Unfortunately we don't have the same sort of hedgerows here in Brittany, which is a shame as there's nothing quite like the proper British hedgerow for the diversity of plants and animals and insects which benefit from them.
      Thanks for visiting and commenting! :-)