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Showing posts from May, 2017

Edinburgh Marathon

It's a weekend for fit and energetic people!  Marathon runners.  They have my admiration in bucketloads, especially those turning out for the big event being held in Manchester this weekend.   The route for the Edinburgh Marathon passes by close to here.  In fact, as I type, the wind is carrying the festive sounds of a steel band up the hill to me in the garden!  The dogs and I walked down to the coast road earlier this morning, but even by then there were some runners who were already on their way back to town!  Hooray for all them!  

The not so humble broad bean!

I still haven't got round to sorting through the rest of my Colonsay photos, so just to keep things alive here, I thought I would do a quick post about the broad bean,  Vicia faba !  The inspiration came from a lovely walk the dogs and I took yesterday, across Becky's Strip, near North Berwick. Wafts of perfume came from a huge field of broad beans, and on taking a closer look at the plant, I was struck by how beautiful it is!  Most of the time we just don't look properly at ordinary things like broad bean plants, but remedy that now. And now read more here  because this plant has been cultivated for the last 8,000 years and has an amazing role in history.  Honestly, you just never know about these things until you start doing a bit digging!

Dandelion days

Apart from being the title of one of my favourite books,  Dandelion Days  by Henry Williamson, it occurs to me that the dandelion is a rather overlooked flower, despite its very sunny disposish.  Now that the sun has more or less gone in, and life is getting back to normal after a magical holiday on Colonsay, here is the lovely dandelion, which I think is doing its best to keep the sun shining in every corner of the UK, town and country alike.

All good things come to an end!

We go home today.  For me, this has been the best holiday I have ever had.  Each day has been completely blissful.  The skies have been blue, the sun has shone from dawn till dusk.  There have been flowers at my feet, wherever I have walked, and I have walked in some very special places in excellent company and learnt so much about this extraordinary little island.  The Colonsay Book Festival, followed by the incomparable Spring Festival have both added a dimension to our visit that can really only be appreciated by being here.  I honestly could not have asked for more.  It has been just amazing.  So we will be back next year, for more!   I have a multitude of photographs I would like to post on therunningwave.  They will have to wait until I can organise them a bit.  Until then, I think the photo below sums up the last fortnight on Colonsay quite nicely.

A final flower

This Inner Hebridean island of Colonsay appears to be simplicity itself.  Stripped back landscape, high rocky interior, one road that goes round in a loop with a couple of spurs off it, to Oronsay in the south, and Kiloran to the north.  But take a closer look and you will find treasure on every level, and in every remote corner of this remarkable place.  Ancient history, art, ornithology, botany, geology, marine life, horticulture, cultural festivals.  The list goes on and on.   The last flower of this series is as modest as it is tiny.  You hardly notice it at all, as it only stands about an inch or two high.  The thyme-leaved speedwell,  Veronica serpyllifolia.   But like this island, it is a little gem.  


I have found two different orchids over the past few days.  The early purple orchid, Orchis mascula, which was growing near Kiloran Beach, in the north of the island.   I have also seen a healthy number of the paler pink heath spotted-orchids,  Dactylorhiza maculate, growing happily in the heathlands above Uragaig, in the north of the island.    Happy days!

Sunny celandine

For the duration of our holiday, we have been blessed with days and days of brilliant sunshine.  Clear blue skies, a cooling wind, and the hot sun shining from early morning until early evening.  What better way to celebrate such fabulous weather than with the sunny celandine.  Shining golden petals, radiating out like sun beams.  On Colonsay, the celandine grows everywhere.  Luxuriously big blooms in shady areas, but also smaller, short stemmed flowers, scattered like golden stars across the close cropped grass of the craggy hillsides and machair.

Two firsts for me

I have been enjoying some blissful walks during this holiday  A couple of days ago my cousin and I wandered along the beaches at Plaide Mhor.  Apart from watching seals playing in the sea, and sunning themselves on the rocks a little way out from the shore, I found a few tiny shells I have never seen before.  They are as light as a feather, extremely delicate, and sport some amazing electric blue markings.  The blue-rayed limpet. This morning the dogs and I had a walk and I came across this little chap.  A lesser redpoll. Never seen one before, and I emailed a friend who knows about these things, and he thinks it is a lesser redpoll, rather than a common redpoll.  A lovely little bird, with a big singing voice!


At last!  The May blossom has come out on Colonsay.  It is so exquisite that there is no need for any more chat.  Just enjoy.

Sea and sand

I thought this holiday couldn't get any better, but it just did.  As I have been putting together some photos of the seas around Colonsay (therunningwave couldn't possibly visit here without posting photos of waves) Radio 3 played  Four Sea interludes  from  Peter Grimes (Dawn)  Benjamin Britten.  The timing could not have been more perfect.  I love that piece of music.  It weaves a magic, and this island and its fabulous beaches and seas have certainly woven their magic over us.  

Room with a view - and a half

Desirable property, in need of some renovation. Think of all the simple meals cooked on this little range, a long time ago.  A very basic home, probably warm from the heat of the fire, but a howling gale outside.  Sounds cosy, but the inhabitants of this cottage would have had an incredibly hard life.  A lifestyle we can't even imagine these days.  One hell of a view though! I could hear three cuckoos calling while I was standing on this spot.  

Candelabra primrose

Primula prolifera , candelabra primrose, must have been formally planted in the woodland garden, when it was first laid out in the 1930s.  Since then they have seeded themselves randomly throughout the wood.  Although the candelabra primrose comes in a wide range of colours - more than often a cheery yellow - here in the grounds of Colonsay House, the plants are a gorgeous magenta.  With the sun shining through the flowerheads, they are a startling beautiful sight.

Bugle call

Today's flower is bugle.  I think it is a very handsome little wildflower.  There is not a lot of it on the island but where it does grow, along a woodland path, I love the navy blue spears contrasting with the colour of the bluebells.