Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings: Personal observations on a wide variety of subjects. Photographs of creatures and things that are taken on seeing the unusual as well as everyday things.

MI Spy

Magnificent insect spied in the garden. It is the very first hover-fly that I have seen this year. It is to be seen throughout April and on until the end of October and so is a useful pollinator to late Spring and Summer crops.

Helophilus pendulus hover-fly 12mm April - October

Hover-fly Helophilus pendulus

Helophilus pendulus hover-fly - 12mm

Water wake

It’s Easter holiday Monday, unexpectedly warm, dry and sunny. A blue, blue sky and a soft, ticklish breeze – unbelievably perfect – like a day in a dream. The frogspawn had hatched several days ago and so the ever curious tadpoles endlessly wriggle eager for their legs to grow. Along the sides of the pond the algae clung thickly and somewhere near the middle floated a pale, golden fish, motionless. Scooping it out with a net it was apparent that one of the Golden Orfe had suddenly died … there was no movement of the gills, the mouth, the eyes … it was simply stiff. The underbelly was slightly red but apart from that there was not one mark on the body. No indication of disease or ill health. Such a sad end for a perfect, pale fish.

Golden Orf

Golden Orfe alive and swimming

Land of Hope and Glory

Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still, and wider, shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet!
Truth and Right and Freedom, each a holy gem,
Stars of solemn brightness, weave thy diadem.
Tho' thy way be darkened, still in splendour drest,
As the star that trembles o'er the liquid West.
Throned amid the billows, throned inviolate,
Thou hast reigned victorious, thou has smiled at fate.
Land of Hope and Glory, fortress of the Free,
How may we extol thee, praise thee, honour thee?
Hark, a mighty nation maketh glad reply;
Lo, our lips are thankful, lo, our hearts are high!
Hearts in hope uplifted, loyal lips that sing;
Strong in faith and freedom, we have crowned our King!

Music by Sir Edward Elgar and known as the Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 written in 1902. Although Elgar preferred his work without being accompanied by words, it is usually sung nowadays though often only the chorus is sung. There are two versions the one above and the original words which were written by Arthur Christopher Benson in the form of a poem. The original poem was as follows:

Dear Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned.
God make thee mightier yet!
On Sov'ran brows, beloved, renowned,
Once more thy crown is set.
Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained,
Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained,
By Freedom gained, by Truth maintained,
Thine Empire shall be strong.

Land of Hope and Glory,
Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee,
Who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider
Shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty,
Make thee mightier yet.

Thy fame is ancient as the days,
As Ocean large and wide:
A pride that dares, and heeds not praise,
A stern and silent pride:
Not that false joy that dreams content
With what our sires have won;
The blood a hero sire hath spent
Still nerves a hero son.

Today is St George’s Day – 23rd April (a day to be patriotic and think of one’s home and country) and many people in England are longing for an English National Anthem. Some prefer Elgar’s ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ the words above. Some would welcome ‘Jerusalem,’ as below:


And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my Bow of burning gold!
Bring me my Arrows of desire!
Bring me my Spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

The Jerusalem tune was written by Charles Hubert Hastings Parry with words by William Blake. This was a hymn that was originally used in the movement of ‘votes for women’ and is still the official song sung by the Women’s Institute today.

Whilst the final choice is ‘I vow to thee my Country’ which is probably the most beautiful with wonderful words:

I Vow To Thee, My Country

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love:
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul, and silently, her shining bounds increase;
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.

The words to ‘I Vow To Thee, My Country’ were originally written in 1918 by Sir Cecil Spring Rice. The words were later put to music by Gustav Holst.

Which should be the National Anthem of England … I do hope that it is the last of the three choices, don’t you?

St George flag - the flag of England

The flag of England – St George’s flag

Strong nails

Years ago a lovely lady told me that the one thing a woman should never run out of was brewer’s yeast tablets. I confess I was intrigued by her statement … she went on to tell me that a little while before she had been to see a specialist. I was too young to enquire what sort of a specialist or why she had felt the need to see one. She told me that brewer’s yeast had brought back her nails from broken, ragged, jagged, weak and split to – beautiful, long, strong, smooth and bright white. Amazingly, not only does brewers’ yeast make finger and toe nails grow extremely quickly – the results are visible after a few short days.

    • For best results take two brewer’s yeast tablets three times each day after meals …

Brewer's yeast tablets

Brewer’s yeast

Weekend flights

I am doing a little bit of detective work at the moment … not the usual kind that you see glorified at the cinema or on the television. I am simply trying to establish where my bird containers are going to. This mystery began a few short weeks ago and I am determined to crack the case! So with a bit of help and a motion sensor I am hoping to find which little rascal is carrying off bird containers full of food. Apparently, so strong that not one so far has either been dropped or discarded. I have not yet discovered either which animal or bird is the culprit but I have obtained some rather nice pictures whilst waiting …

Perfect poise pigeon

Perfect poise pigeon

Crow and pigeon race

Crow and pigeon

Pigeon - rear view

Pigeon from the rear

Perfect pigeon

Pigeon about to land

King of the magpies

King of the magpies

Magical magpie

Magical magpie

Marvellous magpie

Marvellous magpie

Magpie mischief

Magpie mischief

Pigeon pause

Pigeon … forwards landing



So far these are the contenders of the bird container thief …… I think I can at least rule out the sparrow!


The sun was shining and the sky embroidered with fluffy white clouds. Directly above in the blue, blue, sky was a watery moon. Although it seemed almost pointless I took a couple of photographs but when I looked at them more closely I am pleased that I did. Who would have thought that so much would be visible of a satellite that looked as though it had been painted in a watery pale poster paint?


Moon a little closer

The Moon on a warm Worcestershire day, in April

Moon Facts: Sadly, every site that you may visit will show quite large variations in any measurement concerning the Moon. So, having looked through several books and visiting countless sites the measurements that I have here appear to be a best guess. The Moon is approximately 238,897 miles (384,467 kilometres) distance from the Earth but is gradually pulling away from Earth’s gravity. Every year it succeeds in becoming a little further away and eventually, it will tug itself free. The Moon has an approximate diameter of 2,159 miles (3,476 kilometres). It is made up of a large outer crust which covers a hard mantle then a partially melted inner mantle and lastly an outer iron core which is fluid and finally a hard inner core.

April eventually brings forth her showers

After a parched March and a weekend of temperatures which have rivalled many of the more sunny climes we now have thirst quenching showers. How beautiful and refreshed everything looks …

April showers

April showers showing Muscari which are also known as Grape hyacinths

It bloats and fattens …

We have all read current reports on the main food items that are causing obesity, addiction, and depression in recent times: namely sugars, refined carbohydrates and processed foods. What is astonishing though, is what appears never to be mentioned. Allegedly, one of the most fattening things that can ever pass your lips is caffeine! Surprisingly, it is not the coffee with the lashings of full-fat milk or cream, but the caffeine it contains that tricks the body into manufacturing high amounts of insulin. A very simplistic explanation of why we make insulin and what it does is: insulin is a hormone that is made in the body to help convert sugars and carbohydrates and store them as fat. So if we eat or drink foods that create insulin then we will get fatter. So perhaps it’s time to avoid such caffeine stacked drinks as: coffee, cola, ‘innocuous sounding – high energy drinks,' and lastly with not quite so much caffeine is tea.

Coffee, cola, tea

Wet look

March was probably the driest we have ever had, at least on record. April nudged its way in with the ground parched. For once it was easy to mow the lawn and even that hadn’t grown with its usual burst of Springtime urgence. We need the April showers … the pepper shaker sprinkles of water to ensure the wellbeing of the remainder of plants that made it through the razor cold frosts of last Winter.

Spring mix

Spring mix of Muscari, fondly known as Grape hyacinths, Bluebell leaves, Foxglove leaves, bright lime-green Feverfew leaves and one odd stray Dandelion leaves – not spotted until now!

Muscari - or - Grape hyacinth

Muscari – Grape hyacinth

Lesser celandine and the leaves of wild garlic

Lesser celandine and the leaves of wild garlic