Bee confusion

Regarding my previous post (18th April) about Mason bees: Having seen a lot of similar-looking bees when I visited a branch library I don’t usually go to yesterday, I now think I may have misidentified them and that they are in fact Hairy Footed Flower bees.

The Wiki entry says:

The females usually lay eggs in a nest equipped with cells excavated by themselves in clay slopes and steep walls of mud.

The bees at the library were making holes in the earth of some raised flower beds which are being left uncultivated for their use. The bee using the hole in my wall could be an adventurous opportunist saving herself a lot of digging by using a pre-made hole!

I suppose it doesn’t really matter what kind of bee they are, the main thing is the pleasure I get from seeing them. And wondering whether and how bees classify non-bee creatures…

Given that my own use English is far from perfect it seems a bit churlish to mention that Hairy Footed Flower bees clearly aren’t “unique” to Goring Library, but it is a shame to see such misuse of words on a notice displayed at a library!


Because I can

Today I climbed over a padlocked five bar gate. I didn’t need to, there was an open gate I could have used a few yards further on. But that meant walking two sides of a triangle to my car and I felt mildly irritated at the thought of diverting my course. I wavered for a moment – do the right thing or climb over the gate? I chose to climb. Because I still can. And one day I won’t be able to.

It’s made me wonder whether there are metaphorical gates in my life that I should climb while I still can. Even if doing so isn’t quite the “right” thing for a middle-aged woman to do…

Pallant Gallery visit

I had my first Artist’s Date of the month yesterday when I visited the Pallant Gallery in Chichester to see the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibition. Although their work isn’t really my cup of tea I wanted to take the opportunity to see it anyway and I’m glad I did. Reproductions don’t convey the detail you can see when you are inches away from the actual work.

I was particularly struck by the lilies in Rivera’s Arum Lily Sellers* which shone like fine silk in the gallery lights. Frida Kahlo’s portrait of Diego Rivera also captured my attention – the delicate blood vessels in his eyeballs, individual hairs, skin flaws and folds all rendered with absolute precision and, I think, affection.

That said, I still don’t warm particularly to either artist’s style and I found the Radev Collection exhibition at the gallery much more to my taste. The best part of the visit for me was the unexpected excitement of seeing the Alfred Wallis paintings on display. I never imagined I’d see any of Alfred Wallis’s work except in reproductions, but now I have, and purely by chance!

I intend go back to have another look at the Radev exhibition before it ends in January. I only had time for a quick skim yesterday and I find that if I look at too many things in one session none of it sinks in properly. Little and often is better.

After the gallery I met a friend I haven’t seen for ages for tea and chat. Catching up with R’s news at the busy, but relaxed Carluccio’s restaurant was a lovely way to round off a very pleasant morning. I’m not sure where my next Artist’s Date will be, but here’s hoping it’s as successful and enjoyable as this one.

*I can’t find an image of this particular painting on the net.

Bearded irises

I absolutely love bearded irises and it was a heart-lifting treat to spot these gorgeous purple beauties in a tiny suburban front garden near my home this morning. There was a border of rich blue irises under one of the the art room windows at school that I loved seeing each year. I used a painting of one of the blooms as the inspiration for one of my A-level art textile designs and irises have remained one of my favourite “brief glory” early summer flowers along with lush paeonies, rambling clematis and sweet scented lilacs.


…is paying the nice Polish man at the supermarket car park a fiver to wash my car! I usually do it myself, but I find it very tiring, especially in hot weather so I outsourced the job this time. I clean my car about three times a year, so I think I can probably afford this particular luxury again.

Where was I?

Oh yes, budgeting… Well I’m still doing OK on the day-to-day household spending front, but over the last few weeks it’s become clear that a certain amount of capital expenditure has become necessary, as various essential items need repairing or replacement.

Making big decisions about major purchases takes time and energy, but I’m getting there slowly, one thing at a time. When I’m not dealing with what must be done (or recovering from my exertions!) I’ve been making the most of the spell of spring sunshine we are currently enjoying here on the south coast.

All around the town there are great clouds of blossom which uplift my spirits wonderfully. I think the suburbs look their best in spring, adorned with pink and white flowers set against a bright blue sky. On a smaller scale, tiny self-sown violets peep over the rim of my rosemary pot and show their faces to the sun.

The obligatory snow picture

Last night I was mesmerised by the snow falling steadily and gently into my garden illuminated by the nearby streetlights. What alchemy turns ugly orange light into beautiful golden pinkness when snow is falling at night?

By day, with no sun to make it sparkle, the scene has a chillier blue-grey hue. But the last golden apples in my neighbour’s apple tree hang like Christmas baubles decorating the tree and provided breakfast for a hungry blackbird.

I walked to the local shops this morning, grateful for my Yaktrax which made me feel a lot more sure-footed than wellies alone. It was refreshing to be outside and enjoying the winter wonderland with other hardy souls. The park was full of happy kids making the most of their freedom with school closed for the day.

I don’t remember it snowing in December before, certainly not the eight inches we have at the moment. It’s beautiful to look at and fun for a day or two, but I hope it will soon be gone so people can get around easily again and the normal flow of goods and services can resume.