Sunday, 26 June 2016

Not Our Finest Hour

Southern Hawker Dragonfly

Eclosing from the nymph case

Tree Bee On Astrantia with rather full pollen basket

Hummingbird Hawk Moth!

Salvia Hot Lips

Clover, with Small Magpie moth hiding under its leaf :o)

Part of our garden

Pop, Cat Watching

Flowers from the garden in a vase


Canterbury Bell

Soggy Starling in the rain

The New Bed :o)

Brand New Cygnet

Reed Warbler

Home grown broad beans

Black Forest Gateau. Comfort Food.

It's not been a great few days. Our referendum on EU membership has split the country. Whatever Boris and co say, it is not a ringing endorsement for the out vote. Over 48% of us wanted to stay in and now over 3 million of us have signed a petition demanding a second referendum because the result was so close. 

I've written before about what Europe does for our wildlife and the environment so I won't repeat myself too much. Suffice to say successive UK Govts have displayed a complete lack of interest and concern for both in the 35 years since the last piece of home-grown wildlife legislation (1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act, hard fought for by wildlife lobbyists in the face of strong opposition from both the NFU and the Govt of the time), and have instead demonstrated an eagerness to shove wildlife off the agenda altogether in the ruthless pursuit of power and money. Think Boris Johnson stating that you can cut down an ancient woodland and plant a new one in its place, replacing like for like with no problems, or Eric Pickles giving the go ahead to houses being built on a piece of protected woodland where nightingales nested, stating that the birds could just be moved elsewhere. Conservationists will tell you that relocations do not have a high success rate and the animals concerned often die or disperse.

Perhaps the most alarming aspect of all of this is that, without the protection the EU gave to our wild places and wild creatures, there will be no deterrent to people who don't care about them not to misuse them. Protection under law means law breakers face criminal proceedings. If that disappears from the statute books (and what's to stop Boris and friends repealing the European Habitats Directive, or the Birds Directive, or even our own 1981 Act now?) then there will be nothing left in law to prevent them chopping up woods and building on sites that are home to rare and endangered species, or to species that aren't yet rare or endangered, but who soon could be.

I find this so unbearable and so frustratingly short-sighted, because we are completely reliant on our wildlife for the provision of the soil we grow our food in, the water we drink, the air we breath, the food we eat, the regulation of temperature we rely on not to boil or freeze to death. Simply put, if we keep losing habitats and species at the rate we're going we won't survive ourselves. 

Where was information about what the EU does for our wildlife in all the campaigning? One reason the Conservatives didn't champion it was because it would have thrown their own shameful lack of legislation in that area into sharp relief.

Beside wildlife, we've also lost all the EU funding that has gone into our universities and scientific and medical research projects in recent years, the free movement of people, including scientists, medics and academics and all their expertise (reported in the papers as one-way immigration when in reality we have all had free movement to 27 countries which we will now lose), human rights, climate change legislation, farming subsidies, trading rights. The list goes on.

I know our association with the EU wasn't perfect and there were things that needed changing, but this total severance feels like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Our young people feel utterly betrayed by the older generation; the country has no leadership and the squabbling over who steps into the vacuum left by David Cameron's resignation will tear us further apart; the shadow cabinet is in tatters, with Hilary Benn being sacked this morning and half the shadow cabinet expected to resign today, and now it looks like Scotland will seek independence too, and quite frankly who can blame them?

It would be easy to despair, but we won't. We'll keep fighting :o)

The garden and the land hereabouts has been keeping me going in the face of this needless mess. The Southern Hawker in the top pic took all day to get out of its nymph case; a Stag Beetle dropped (out of the sky?) at my feet on the path and required moving onto the log pile; crickets have been jumping onto my fingers and showing little inclination to move off; honey bees have detached themselves from the swarm which we think is living in the chimney pot and found their way into the house so have required rescuing, as did the Tree Bee in the photo. And then, cause of much excitement a Hummingbird Hawk Moth turned up on the small Daphne. 

I took Ma for a walk along the river and we saw a baby Little Grebe sitting in his nest, a vole which ran over to my feet and seemed totally unconcerned to find us on his path, and the Reed Warbler in the pic. Hard to photograph because they are usually seen and not heard so we were thrilled. No watervoles sadly, but we did hear a Cettis Warbler :o)

Anyway, dark days here at present, but hopefully things will settle. I'm not a pessimist by nature and I refuse to be beaten by politicians who have no principles. 

I hope everyone is well and recovering from the shock a little?



  1. I always look forward to your posts, your photos are always amazing, as is that gateau, yum xx

  2. It was the environment that I was thinking of with concern.
    Then I read about how much food Britain imports ... going to be an interesting ripple effect.

  3. I totally agree with you everything you have written. I have gone from sadness, to anger and desparir - your cake looks fantastic comfort food and must have given you all some solace. Within a few hours on the result Friends of the Earth were already asking for donations so they can step up their campaigns to safeguard the environment in our changing circumstances. Sarah x

  4. You have some admirable photos on display, I especially like the Black Forest gateau, I am tempted to have a slice but my conscience says No!
    Completely agree with you about the EU.

  5. It all looks beautiful. I had hoped that the reasoning for Brexit was well thought out, but from what I am reading, it wasn't at all, which is disturbing. Old saying about be careful what you wish for comes to mind. In the US, a satirist said about the vote, "Pride And Prejudice won out over Sense And Sensibility".

  6. You have expressed it all so well. As you know, I completely agree with what you say and I'm completely devastated about the result.

    Your photos are outstanding today, you have outdone yourself. I saw 10 shelduck ducklings in a big sleepy huddle earlier. CJ xx

  7. What a wonderful photo blog today but also a sad post.
    I think people are just angry and just want to throw everything out.
    Look at America, no one in their right mind would vote for Trump but he said things that a lot of people wanted to hear. Although very badly. And Hillary she has lied, cheated, stole and acted like a dictator just like Bill. But the PC crowd loves her.
    I am very upset at my government who can't even be bothered to lie people of my age while pandering to the PC crowd. They just want me to keep paying my taxes to support their terrible laws and money giveaways. People are tired of government just doesn't care to listen.
    Not so sure this applies to you but I know lots of people are mad that no one is listening to them. So we get Trump and Hillary and you get Brexit.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

  8. I thought you might have a pertinent post today CT. I'm too upset by the result for any analysis except to say this is damaging on so many levels, socially, environmentally and politically. Still, your photography is a gorgeous perk-me-up so thanks!!! :) x

  9. It depressed me unutterably. Especially when I've got University educated friends who voted leave for some absurd reasons.

  10. You just never know what is around the corner do you. Let's hope things turn out to be better than we think at the moment. x

  11. you've summed it up beautifully -- the utter bollocks can only be dealt with by remembering what's at stake and fighting for it. tooth and nail.

    gorgeous, gorgeous photos....sheer loveliness.


  12. Beautiful photos - that dragonfly is amazing. I agree that it is a rather unsettling time, but the wildlife seems to be doing its best to comfort you. If that doesn't work, you can always have an extra slice of that cake! xx

  13. Hallo CT, a heartfelt post from the wild life perspective. From a UK citizen living in Australia, this whole thing is a shameful debacle. A protest vote by far.
    It is shameful that the UK government, like many governments, are not in touch with the 'everyday' man to the extent that they arrogantly thought the Brits would 'do the right thing' - many did the right thing for what they 'personally' believed in. Only saw it as how it affected them, their beliefs, their difficulties, their family.
    Suffice it to say politicians tell untruths to get into power, dont follow through on their obligations and manifestos and 'the people' have become disenchanted with the whole blooming fiasco.
    They dont see the good that the EU has provided, but didnt anyone bother to lay it out in 'laymens' terms to them. Indivuduals just voted based on their personal feelings and circumstances. A head vs the heart vote.
    Sad sad day for the UK.
    Brilliant and up lifting photos which to me is what the UK is...a land full of beauty governed by idiots.
    Lovely post CT. Thank you xx

  14. I totally agree with everything you say CT. The alarm clock radio woke me with the dreadful news and I was so shocked/appalled/upset/angry that I forgot to wish OH a Happy Birthday :( It was a special birthday too! As you say we must fight on to ensure our wildlife, habitats and environment receive the protection they need and deserve.

    On a happier note well done on the Hummingbird Hawkmoth :) and your astrantia is way in advance of mine!

  15. So well put CT. I am angry, upset, ashamed and so so sad. I fear for what will be left for our children and grandchildren. We all need to keep fighting for a kinder, caring, inclusive world,

  16. A sad state of affairs CT and the fall out will affect us all for a long time. Thank you for you uplifting post, I'm sure we will all fight on together soon x

  17. Hey CT,
    Obviously I agree with all you have written here. I am sat with my Dad (voted leave) and have debated myself hoarse. I am depressed with the whole bloody thing tbh.
    Love the hummingbird moth.
    Leanne x

  18. I agree with you absolutely CT. Your beautiful wildlife and garden photos illustrate everything we should be caring for and fighting for.
    You are not alone.x

  19. First of all, outstanding photos CT. Really, they're wonderful. Thank you for cheering me up. Am in complete agreement with you. I am very cross, frustrated, shocked, etc, etc. Worse still is that my parents vote leave and I am Very Disappointed in them. No amount of debating could persuade them otherwise. It has caused a seismic shift in our relationship. I had to rise above it yesterday and make a birthday cake for my mum yesterday but that took all my diplomatic skills. I am so upset with them both. I kept wanting to say 'do you know what you've done??!!' But I didn't... Here's hoping that the government will Sort Itself Out and that sense will prevail. At the moment, though, it's not looking likely. Sam xx

  20. Like you, I so want our wildlife and natural environment to be protected and know that the current lot in power just see it in financial terms. I do really fear for its future.
    Your photos are all lovely, though, and so cheering. I love the hawker dragonfly and of course the hummingbird hawk moth.

  21. One day we will awaken to a barren land and many will simply die of starvation, because the environment and land, plants and animals, etc can only take so much being ignored. Mankind will destroy mankind and we are well in the making of this????? How can one be so stupid. I love your posts, and everything you write and how you write it. I have been away for a while and am popping in today to say hi and howdy do. lol
    p.s. cut me a piece of that cake, wouldja :)


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x