I’m sure that 99% of people reading this are too young to remember the musical “The King and I”, which was definitely a popular one when I was young. It has a delightful song called ‘Getting to know you’ and so I’m using that as a link to the content of this blog.

A number of new people have signed up to my website and newsletter and so to benefit them I’m going to write about myself (Shock Horror!). I can hear my mother’s voice haunting me – as she promised to, every time I looked as though I might do something she would disapprove of.

I was brought up at a time when children were expected to ‘be seen and not heard’ and her mantra was always, “don’t show off, don’t talk about yourself, don’t demonstrate.”

(This is me aged about 2 – I wish my hair was naturally wavy like that still!)

I’m sure all that was entirely appropriate at the time and in keeping with her social aspirations (more on that another time). But as a deep seated belief for someone with their own business, and a need to notify potential clients about products, it’s a total, crippling disaster. In spite of which, I shall divulge some personal information which you possibly may not know.


I’ve been thinking particularly about schooling and education, as the ‘parents of Covid times’ are stuck with home schooling, some of with little or no support from the schools that their children would normally attend.

I still remember my first school, with a mix of affection and sadness. The sadness was because I had to be a ‘weekly border’, staying at school overnight for the whole week from Sunday through to Friday, then 2 nights at home before going back on Sunday afternoon. This might not seem like ‘a big deal’, but I was only 5 years old and I have to confess that I still have a bit of a ‘pit of the stomach feeling’ on Sunday afternoon, even so many decades later!

The happiness though, was because of the head teacher. She was called Miss Wortley, and the main thing I recall, for which I have been forever grateful, is that on Friday we were each given a list of ten wild flowers which we had to find over the weekend (at that time, it wasn’t illegal to pick wild flowers) and bring them back to school on our return.

This means I still know the names of a few wild flowers, and can bore for England on the subject of shepherds purse versus shepherds needle. Each week, at least one of the wild flowers was difficult to find at that particular season, so it did involve a bit of ‘work’ and definitely needed outdoor activity. If only there were more ‘Miss Wortley’s around now to help parents, and to inspire children about nature and the great outdoors.

So here’s a lovely illustration of Shepherd’s purse that I was able to pick from the web – not nearly as much fun as going out into the fields, but needs must.The Latin name being Capsella bursa pastoris.

To complete the story, I should have given you a similar illustration of Shepherd’s needle, but I couldn’t find one royalty free, and thought the price was a bit high. You can possibly imagine the shape of the seed pods though – like a needle!

So I was a fortunate little girl who had a great start in ‘Nature studies’ and to this day I still enjoy going outside into the natural world and these days I take pictures of the things that inspire me.

Here are a couple from Friday’s walk. The strange object in the sky is so rare these days I thought I must capture it. It’s a lesser spotted ‘planus upsibus’ – almost certainly carrying freight, not people.

From the ridiculous to the footpath …..I also liked this mossy tree stump.

The walk was almost 17Km, and took all morning. I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t manage a couple more Km, but it is still very muddy in parts, which makes it slow going as you slip and slide in the muddy patches.

When it’s translated into miles, I always feel a bit disappointed. It seems so much less than I was hoping when it’s ‘possibly about 10 miles’ (according to my other half), rather than 17Km. I’m easily fooled by numbers you can tell!

Monday update

Of course after the heavy snowfall Sunday, the landscape looks totally different today. Here’s a snowy stump. I couldn’t even find the mossy one from Friday!

The snow helped in some areas which were very muddy and wet on Friday. Frozen mud is much easier to walk on, but absolutely no Hippos in sight!

Well, I hope you are enjoying the great outdoors in these strange and frosty times. Toodle Pip for now…