Grass With Blue Sky

Week In Focus #43

This is #43 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of grass.

Weak, slender blades of tender green,
With little fragrance, little sheen,
What maketh ye so dear to all?
Nor bud, nor flower, nor fruit have ye,
So tiny, it can only be
‘Mongst fairies ye are counted tall.

No beauty is in this,— ah, yea,
E’en as I gaze on you to-day,
Your hue and fragrance bear me back
Into the green, wide fields of old,
With clear, blue air, and manifold
Bright buds and flowers in blossoming track.

All bent one way like flickering flame,
Each blade caught sunlight as it came,
Then rising, saddened into shade;
A changeful, wavy, harmless sea,
Whose billows none could bitterly
Reproach with wrecks that they had made.

No gold ever was buried there
More rich, more precious, or more fair
Than buttercups with yellow gloss.
No ships of mighty forest trees
E’er foundered in these guiltless seas
Of grassy waves and tender moss.

Ah, no! ah, no! not guiltless still,
Green waves on meadow and on hill,
Not wholly innocent are ye;
For what dead hopes and loves, what graves,
Lie underneath your placid waves,
While breezes kiss them lovingly!

Calm sleepers with sealed eyes lie there;
They see not, neither feel nor care
If over them the grass be green.
And some sleep here who ne’er knew rest,
Until the grass grew o’er their breast,
And stilled the aching pain within.

Not all the sorrow man hath known,
Not all the evil he hath done,
Have ever cast thereon a stain.
It groweth green and fresh and light,
As in the olden garden bright,
Beneath the feet of Eve and Cain.

It flutters, bows, and bends, and quivers,
And creeps through forests and by rivers,
Each blade with dewy brightness wet,
So soft, so quiet, and so fair,
We almost dream of sleeping there,
Without or sorrow or regret.

Emma Lazarus
Grass With Blue Sky
Kissing Gate

The Kissing Gate

A kissing gate is a type of gate that allows people, but not livestock, to pass through. The normal construction is a half-round, rectangular, trapezoidal or V-shaped part-enclosure with the free end of a hinged gate trapped between its arms.

When the gate is touching an arm it must be pulled or pushed to pass through. The gate may need to be pushed to give access to the small enclosure, and when in the enclosure the person pulls the gate past the bulk of the enclosure to exit. Some examples have latches. Most are installed self-closing, to the side away from the pasture (livestock field), by hinge geometry, a spring or weight.

The name comes from the gate merely “kissing” (touching) the inside of the enclosure. It reliably forms a barrier rather than needing to be securely latched on each use. Examples, as with stiles, on footpaths published as accessible are those replaced, improved or supplemented by gates.

Wooden 'V-Shape' Kissing Gate
Wooden ‘V-Shape’ Kissing Gate
Abandoned Farmhouse

Abandoned Farmhouse

For years, I’ve driven past an old farmhouse near the village of Pica in West Cumbria and always thought to myself that I’d love to grab a photograph. Yesterday, I finally achieved that goal.

The old building is currently used for storing silage. It would make a lovely home if someone out there had the money, time and patience. Mind you, the farmer might not sell – I wouldn’t if I had property in such a location.

Farewell To The Farm

The coach is at the door at last;
The eager children, mounting fast
And kissing hands, in chorus sing:
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

To house and garden, field and lawn,
The meadow-gates we swang upon,
To pump and stable, tree and swing,
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

And fare you well for evermore,
O ladder at the hayloft door,
O hayloft where the cobwebs cling,
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

Crack goes the whip, and off we go;
The trees and houses smaller grow;
Last, round the woody turn we sing:
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

Robert Louis Stevenson
Abandoned Farmhouse
Abandoned Farmhouse, Pica
Windswept Wheat Field

Week In Focus #42

This is #42 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of a windswept wheat field, in West Cumbria.

Hulled, beardless
Eating, gritting, flouring
Such feelings of happiness


Windswept Wheat Field
Windswept Wheat Field
Bumble Bee


Most bumblebees are social insects that form colonies with a single queen. The colonies are smaller than those of honey bees, growing to as few as 50 individuals in a nest.

  • The word “bumblebee” is a compound of “bumble” + “bee”—”bumble” meaning to hum, buzz, drone, or move ineptly or flounderingly.

Bees! Bees! Hark to your bees!
“Hide from your neighbours as much as you please,
But all that has happened, to us you must tell,
Or else we will give you no honey to sell!”

A maiden in her glory,
Upon her wedding – day,
Must tell her Bees the story,
Or else they’ll fly away.
Fly away — die away —
Dwindle down and leave you!
But if you don’t deceive your Bees,
Your Bees will not deceive you.

Marriage, birth or buryin’,
News across the seas,
All you’re sad or merry in,
You must tell the Bees.
Tell ’em coming in an’ out,
Where the Fanners fan,
‘Cause the Bees are just about
As curious as a man!

Don’t you wait where the trees are,
When the lightnings play,
Nor don’t you hate where Bees are,
Or else they’ll pine away.
Pine away — dwine away —
Anything to leave you!
But if you never grieve your Bees,
Your Bees’ll never grieve you.

Rudyard Kipling
Bumble Bee
Bumble Bee
Devoke Water Boathouse

Devoke Water Boathouse

The boathouse at Devoke Water was built around 1772 from stones gathered on the shore of the tarn. It was originally designed to provide shelter, and had a fireplace. Peat was dug from nearby to fuel the fire.

The building was constructed by John Jackson, a farmer from Dalegarth, and John Bowman, a fisherman. Locals would pay 2 shillings a year for the right to fish the tarn.

  • Devoke is pronounce “Duvvock”.
  • A tarn is a mountain lake.

Devoke Water is the largest tarn in the Lake District and is owned by Millom Anglers. It is situated at an altitude of 766ft and has a maximum depth of 46ft. Due to the sparse and low bank side vegetation the tarn lends itself perfectly to the fly fisherman.

Devoke Water Boathouse
Devoke Water Boathouse
Moor Row

Week In Focus #41

This is #41 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of a floral display in the village that I live, in West Cumbria.

Moor Row is a residential community situated between Whitehaven and Egremont on Cumbria’s coastal plain. The history of Moor Row goes back to at least 1762, but it was the 19th century discovery of iron ore in the vicinity that built the ‘row of houses on a moor’. Cornish tin miners moved here to work the mines, and their presence is noted in a number of street names such as Penzance Street. One street, Dalzell, is named after Thomas Henry Dalzell, a mine owner.

Moor Row’s Montreal Mines produced 250,000 tons a year, the largest of any mine in the Whitehaven or Furness district. The mine property covered 1,000 acres (4.0 km2), half of which was ore bearing. Both open pit and shaft mining took place. Between 1000 and 1200 people were employed locally in the industry.

In 2014, the village was rated sixth in a list of the best places to bring up children. Places were rated for schools, crime, amenities and affordable homes in a list which looked at family-friendly hotspots.

  • The report analysed all 2,400 postcodes in England and Wales using 71 different factors to determine the best locations for families. Scotland and Northern Ireland aren’t included in the study as they do not collect or report data in the same way.
Moor Row
Moor Row

300,000 Poppy Seeds Sown

Today, I did something that I’ve thought about doing for quite some time. I hope my undertaking comes to fruition next year and that I haven’t wasted a few hours trying to spread some cheer.

On almost every street corner, wherever you are located, there is a piece of barren land calling out for intervention. I’ve attempted to answer that calling with flower bombing of the wastelands.

Hopefully in 2020, there will be 300,000 bright red Poppies springing forth in the West Cumbria village of Moor Row with enough vigour to bring about a smile to the discerning.

Poppies are wildlife-friendly plants, having abundant, accessible pollen for bees, hoverflies, and other pollen dependant insects, so hopefully these flamboyant beauties will also attract wildlife to the area.

  • The variety of a poppy I’ve sown were Papaver Rhoeas – The Common Poppy. They grow up to 28″ high and produce large showy flowers. Hopefully.

300,000 Poppy Seeds

300,000 Poppy Seeds

Secret Book

Hidden Book Phenomenon

Thousands of books have been hidden across the Cumbrian countryside for children to discover. Clues are given on social media in relation to their locations.

The hidden books scheme was started by a woman from Parton, in West Cumbria, who wanted to give her grandchildren something to do during the summer months.

  • I think this is a fantastic idea. It combines a sense of adventure with the excitement of discovery and will encourage children to read!

Hundreds of people have been participating in the scheme since it began a few weeks ago. Cumbria Police have even been getting in on the act. Several copycat Facebook groups have sprung up, replicating this amazing hidden book phenomenon.

The book I found, hidden beneath a twisted tree at Longlands Lake was left there by Harley and Poppy – a note said, “You are the lucky finder of this book. Keep it as long as you please. When you have finished with it, rehide for someone else to find and enjoy”.

I left the book in situ for eager children to discover.

Well done to all those involved. It’s great to see so many people participating in this rewarding, and innovative scheme. Sometimes the simplest of ideas are the best!

A Hidden Book For Children To Discover
A Hidden Book For Children To Discover