Tag Archives: Bees and butterflies

One word photo challenge: Lavender.

The flower.  Of course.  It had to be, didn’t it? I actually thought it seemed a bit of a poor year for lavender whilst I was back in England.  Maybe I’d missed them at their best, but the flowers just didn’t seem as profuse and vibrant as usual.  Maybe too much hot weather and not enough rain?  The bees didn’t seem to mind though.

bee heaven!

bee heaven!

Aside from the flower, this week’s One Word Photo Challenge also made me think of the old fashioned little rhyme. Maybe you know it?

Lavender’s blue, dilly, dilly, lavender’s green,

When I am king, dilly, dilly, you shall be queen.

Who told you so, dilly, dilly, who told you so?’

Twas my own heart, dilly, dilly, that told me so.

I’ve always thought of it as a children’s nursery rhyme.  And by the Victorian era onwards it was, so I was sort of right.  But it was actually born as a ‘broadside ballad’. Broadsides were really common in England during the 16th and 17th Centuries and were cheap, widely affordable one-sided prints, providing popular news, illustrations, rhymes, or in this case, ballads to the masses.

Ballads are part of Britain’s traditional musical heritage, with broadsheet ballads often showing a much bawdier side of British humour and behaviour than some might expect.  Favourite subjects varied, but often included love, sex, drinking, and legends.  No different from today really, if you replace the word ‘legends’ for ‘celebrities’!

The other name for ‘Lavender’s Blue’ is ‘The Kind Country Lovers’.  Although there are many different versions, with nearly thirty verses in existence in one combination or another, the crux of the original version was a celebration of drinking and some lyrical persuasion to get a girl to go for a ‘roll in the hay’. So to speak!

So, a catchy, melodic little ditty with a more interesting history than the innocent sing-song nursery rhyme version it eventually morphed into might have you believe.   More than that, as I sit here bursting into occasional song as I type (I did say I thought it was catchy!), the lavender references are a lovely reminder.  Recent summer memories of sitting with a cold glass of something delicious in the late evening sun in my mum’s garden, watching the bees drowsily buzzing around the lavender.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

purple perfume-power perfection!

purple perfume-power perfection!


National Countryside week.

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.'”    ~ (Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar).

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Brimstone butterfly on a naturalised ever lasting sweetpea in the sunshine.

This week is National Countryside Week.  It is a UK-wide initiative by the Prince’s Countryside Fund to (in their words) ‘celebrate the British countryside and the people who live and work in our rural areas’.  And how lucky us British people are to call such a beautiful part of the world home.

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Ox-eye daisies and green wheat in farm country.

The campaign is encouraging people to take the chance at least once between Monday 14th and Sunday 20th July to get out in the fresh air and walk a country mile. That’s really not so far! Although if you’re anything like me, it can take some time, because you keep wanting to stop to take photographs!

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Ducks! An essential part of my mental picture of English countryside.

We touch down on home soil on Saturday morning; a long awaited trip back to see family and friends in England.  The plan is that we will be out for our country mile (and maybe a bit more) walk along the river banks and greenways of rural Warwickshire on Sunday morning.  Hopefully it will blow the cobwebs away and help ease the hideous jet-lag a little!

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Cowparsley mingling with the flowers and seedheads of Honesty. Countryside favourites.

I am so looking forward to my summer of English countryside overload.  We’ve packed raincoats and the pushchair rain cover, as well as clothing to suit every kind of unexpected-yet-expected twist that the glorious British weather can throw at us. We will be out there, come rain or shine.  Shine preferably though…I’d like to get some photographs after all! I can not wait.

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A bee…making honey while the sun shines!