The Carnation Cow .

It is one of the many wonders of the night sky, to gaze upon it freezes time itself, the World stands still and waits for you to catch up, you feel no cold, you are in trance.
I am of course talking about Coma Berenices, the lock of golden hair placed in the heavens by Aphrodite herself. A wonderful story, there for us all to enjoy.
At the moment she is just behind Leo in the Southern sky, you don’t need a big powerful telescope to see her, just a simple pair of binoculars will reveal her beauty to you.
Back to the real World now, the reason why I’m writing this… Christmas. OK, it’s gone, done and dusted for another year, but this one ( my 58th), has left me with such a feeling of completeness, weird. Is it an age thing or what?
In the past, Christmases just used to happen, as if by magic. The build up, the expectancy, tension bubbling away inside, it’s presence was inescapable, it occupied every nook and cranny of our childhood lives. It was the Daddy.
The morning of the 25th December was like a starters gun going off, like Greyhounds bursting from their traps, invisible walls of restraint, control and discipline shattered, unable to hold us back .
We had presents, love, warmth and food. We had snow by the bucket full, we had time, we had youth, we had Moms and Dads.
Christmas, like Coma Berenices, is a wonder of the Universe, all those good and wonderful things brought together for just one special day before being fragmented once more, and scattered, like the Stars across our Heaven.
As a New Year approaches and the cycle of life starts afresh, don’t go through it like a Bull in a China shop, take time to grab some of those fragments, and save them for next Christmas.

Golden Oriole

A summer visitor to much of central Europe, the Golden Oriole is one of our 3 exotics, the other two being Hoopoe and Roller.

This is not a bird that you’ll see just anywhere in England, you’ll have to visit a recognized breeding site, such as Lakenheath, and even then you are not guaranteed a sighting. What you are guaranteed is a memorable day out.
Everything about the Golden Oriole is enchanting, it’s song, straight from Paradise. It’s plumage, fresh and vibrant that screams Summer’s here, and it’s choice of habitat

You have to plan and do your home-work to see this bird, like a puzzle, all the pieces must come together, if there’s a piece missing it means do it again, and again, and when that final piece clicks into place, it will rate as one of your most memorable life moments.


Despite the bold color of it’s plumage, the Golden Oriole can be extremely difficult to spot, and don’t be surprised if it takes several attempts to get to see it, but when you do drop lucky, the experience will take you to that wonderful place that you call your own.
Come the month of May, leave Winter behind, and take a walk out into the blossom filled spring, see the returning Swallow and listen for the cooing of Turtle Dove, and just when you think that your senses are fully stretched and you can’t handle anymore, along comes the Golden Oriole, the cherry on the cake.

Turning point

I stood at the bar, my left foot on the brass rail and both hands loosely clenched on the smooth wood, the reason for this stance was two fold. Firstly, it made me look cool and hard. (I think it did anyway). Secondly, and the more important of the two, it was a safe, stable position.
Whilst waiting for my pint, I looked round the smoke filled bar, the clientele were straight out of movie set, coal miners, drug addicts and social dossers. On the grapevine, this was the place to be if you fancied yourself as a drinker. Yes, The Swan, down town Cannock’s very own den of antiquity was the place to be.
I turned round adopting a James Dean (look at me Ladies) pose, and observed the goings on.
Someone had set the pile of empty crisp and scratching packets on fire, acrid smoke bellowed forth whilst the lads took on the roll of firefighters, and started spitting jets of flat lager at the ashtray inferno.
In order to stay dry, one man ‘s sudden movement caused another to spill his ale. A fight broke out, not the violent, glass in the face type, but a cowboy saloon type, tables, chairs, bodies, the lot went up.
I drank my freshly pulled pint, placed the empty glass back on the bar with a determined thud, and walked out into the busy market place.
“I’ve had enough of this shit” I said to myself, and stomped off to the Army Recruiting Office and signed up.

Missing Apus

I walked across the frosted lawn, the cold attacked me, wanting my inner warmth. My eyes watered.
Wood smoke snaked from the chimney scenting the air, silently calling me back.
Ducks and Geese bickered and squabbled on the fringe of gossamer ice.
Wood Pigeons erupted from sentinel oak, the explosion distracting.
I stumbled and fell, the cold earth greeted me, offering no cushion.
My error was rewarded with a cocoon of thought, as brief as it was, I saw the future.( Or  was it the past?)
A warm blue sky played host to screaming Swifts, their dark forms glinting in the Summer light as they playfully chased.
Winter had melted.
A Robin bobbed and ticked aloft it’s frozen perch, Winter has returned.