Monday, September 28, 2009

Stourhead Continued

by Ann Lethbridge

Summer is over. And today is a typical wet and windy fall day. My word it is a long time since I posted on this topic. We still have lots to see.

This part of our walk is all about the garden, so I will be tagging this one Flora and Fauna as well. And just to remind me, This walk was around June 1.

Stourhead Gardens are a mix of natural areas and plantings as you will see.

Here are some lovely foxgloves. We found them growing apparently wild beneath the trees. Not that this might not be a deliberate planting.

In the background of the first picture you can also see one of the rhododendrons, a pretty orange colour.

The gardens are quiet. It is like going back in time. There are no engine noises or other mechanical sounds. Just the wind in the trees and this next creature is very happy about that too.

I don't know about you, but this to me looked like Peter Rabbit of Beatrix Potter fame. Look how close he let me get before he hopped off.

I don't suppose he is the gardener's friend as rabbits tend to do quite a bit of damage. It is odd to see so many bunnies around England. When I was young they had just finished the myxomatosis program which did away with most of the rabbits (very cruelly as it turned out) and they were rarely seen, now they can be found nibbling along the verges of roads, and in meadows and fields every where you look.

Apparently, rabbits are not native to England, which may account for why they seem to over-run the countryside. They were brought in by the Romans and we then exported them to Australia.

What did history teach us?

The next sight to grace our vision on our walk was this wonderful tree. Clearly old. Clearly huge.

Now I am guessing a little here. I believe this is a Cedar of Lebanon. I am quite happy to be corrected.

What ever it is, the dark green needles stood out amongst the paler leaf greens of the other trees.

Our last tree is always a pleasure to see, because of its colouring. Red leaves among all the green.

There are lots of different red trees around the world but there is something quite stunning about the copper beech. And this one is set out in the middle of the lawn and shown off quite beautifully.

Well that is it for me for today. Lots of Stourhead to come.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Flora and Fauna in Regency England - September

by Michele Ann Young

Holy smoke. I have been trying to get to this post for nearly a week. Deadlines are looming, which I love, but they tend to take all my focus. The other thing I did was to sign up for some classes. Well, you know I was worried I might become one dimensional and have nothing to talk about except the Regency and really become "Lost in Austen".

I signed up for some sewing classes and for a web design class. I am going to see if I can use dreamweaver. Who knows, but I have met some very nice people, so that is good.

Tis is a saffron milk-cap. It is an edible mushroom and while not terribly well-known, it is a great delicacy, I'm told.

It grows under pines, and is picked in early autumn. I am taking that to include September.

One would expect to find it in the north of the British Isles, most common in Scotland, though it is found in England.

The wild cherry shown here is native to England and has been identified in Bronze-age diggings. In September, the fruits begin to turn yellow, if the birds have left any on the trees, that is.

Our final September offering relates to an insect and the carnivore who eats them.

You may recognize this insect. I always called it a daddy long legs as a child, but I think that was a misnomer. It is a crane fly. These creatures hatch out in August and September and lay their eggs beneath lawns. The eggs quickly turn into larvae.

The lavae look like fat, short brown worms. Not worth a picture, but you can look them up if you feel so inclined.

And guess who likes the larvae. Well if you have ever had crane fly eggs in your lawn, you probably had a visit from the gentleman below. He loves cranefly lavae. And his rooting around looking for them will mean the end of your beautifully green lawns.

Sad to say, during the Regency, badger baiting and badger drawing were considered sports.

Dogs were pitted against badgers as can be seen in this picture from 1824. The sport had been going on since the middle ages and was another form of gambling, like dog fights and cockfights.

I'm glad it was outlawed in 1835.

Until next time, Happy Rambles

Monday, September 14, 2009


by Ann Lethbridge

Once in a while we hijack the blog to bring you news. Today is one of those days.

Imagine my surprise when I went onto the eharlequin website and discovered that tadaaa
The Rake's Inherited Courtesan is listed as sold out. This is pretty exciting since not every book sells out on that website and I had to share the news with you.

Fear not though, dear readers, you can still buy it on all the other sites, if you haven't done so already.

The actual date of issue of my next books is still a bit of a mystery to me, but there will be two in 2010 and as soon as I have information I will post it here. The titles I do know:

Wicked Rake, Defiant Mistress

Captured for the Captain's Pleasure

Watch this space for more news.

Next time we will have our regular feature -- Flora and Fauna after which we will return to our feature on Stourhead.

Until then, Happy Rambles.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Regency Fashion for September

by Ann Lethbridge

This is an Evening Gown for September 1818.

Alas I do not have a description from the time, though in an article in the 1818 Belle Assemblee they say:

"Pearls are universally adopted in full dress jewelry."

Around this time waists were dropping, although there is no evidence of that in this particular gown and indeed the Belle Assemblee says:

"Waists continue short as usual" Just shows how wrong the fashionistas could be, then as now.

The new bell to the skirt and the heavy decoration around the hem can clearly be seen.

I thought it interesting that she is wearing a crown.

This next picture is presented because it shows mother and child.

This morning gown is from the 1808 La Belle Assemblee.

And as usual we see the york tan gloves in evidence I beleive. Such an odd mix of colours, pink and blue and yellow. I really like the soft bonnet.

Now here is my question, is it a boy or is it a girl. If you have an opinion, how can you tell?

I love the bench the lady is sitting on, so light and airy. One imagines this as being set in a conservatory.

The dress to me is of a very light muslin and in the classic lines of the early Regency. The lacy edging around the bodice and the wide set sleeves, which unfortunately disappear beneath the shawl are quite lovely.

Well that is all for this September. Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Unleash Your Story

Today, I am handing over my spot to this very worthy cause and hope you will drop by to make your contribution to Cystic Fibrosis. My connection? Well if you look at the comments on today's blog on the Unleash site, (actually you will see Ann Lethbridge commented but I think we all know who she really is) then you will discover why I am interested in this particular effort.

Later in the week we will have September Fashion and then back to Stourhead. Until then Happy Rambles.