Friday, February 6, 2009

Flora and Fauna of Regency Britain - February



By Ann Lethbridge
A wee bit of news first my darlings:

Michele and I will be in Australia for the next three weeks. If we can post something interesting from there we will. But don't hold your breath. No turning blue and stamping your feet either. We will be back in time for March fashion.

I got a lovely review for my Undone, The Rake's Intimate Encounter. It's not too late to take a peek, by the way.

If readers are looking for a sexy short story to read on their lunch break, or before bed, this one does the trick! And for the record, it's hot, sexy and sensual enough to steam up your reading glasses. ~ Wendy, The Good the Bad and The Unread
.

And a Lemonade Award for this blog from Lynn Reynolds. How about that!

Now for our Regular Feature.

Michele's last post on February dealt with the weather, fluctuating temperatures, and with some of the fauna. Our naturist also has this to say.
The thermometer is often down below the freezing point, but is generally found at noon between 36 and 46 degrees; towards the end of the month it sometimes rises to 50 degrees or even 52 or 54 degrees. The severe weather, generally breaks up with a sudden thaw, accompanied by wind and rain; torrents of water pour from the hills, and the snow is completely dissolved. Rivers swell and inundate the surrounding country, often carrying away bridges, cattle, mills, gates &c., and causing great injury to the farmer. But so variable is the weather in this month, that frequently ‘frost again usurps the year.


Given the snow they had in England these past few days, I am sure they will welcome a bit of rain.


It is the beginning of Spring and the yellow hammer is heard. Country people used to call their song 'a-little-bit-of-bread-and-no-cheese' which requires more than a little imagination to make the words fit the song. The bird, by the way, sometimes omits the final 'cheese. I certainly recall my mother quoting those words when she heard them. Pretty aren't they.



Another bird who starts to sing in February is the chaffinch. Cowper in 1793 wrote a lovely poem about a pair who built a nest in the mast of a ship when it was in dock and then followed it around, bringing up their babies. here is a small part of it.

IN Scotland's realm, where trees are few,
Nor even shrubs abound ;
But where, however bleak the view,
Some better things are found !
For husband there and wife may boast
Their union undefiled,
And false ones are as rare almost,
As hedge-rows in the wild.
In Scotland's realm forlorn and bare,
The history chanced of late
This history of a wedded pair,

A chaffinch and his mate.
The spring drew near, each felt a breast
With genial instinct fill'd :
They paired and would have built a nest,
But found not where to build.
The heaths uncovered and the moors,
Except with snow and sleet,
Sea-beaten rocks and naked shores
Could yield them no retreat.


Long time a breeding-place they sought,
Till both grew vex'd and tired ;
At length a ship arriving, brought
The good so long desired.
A ship! could such a restless thing
Afford them place of rest ?
Or was the merchant charged to bring
The homeless birds a nest ?

Hush ! silent hearers profit most
This racer of the sea
Proved kinder to them than the coast,
It served them with a tree.


I thought this was too lovely to pass up. Until next time Happy Rambles.