Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


A frog he would a wooing go…

Well, the frogs were all at it this morning. They rather made me think of hippos.  I love the echoes of the reflected eyes and the frogspawn.


I couldn’t remember any more of the frog wooing song than the first line, but found a version here:

“With a roly poly gammon and spinach, hey ho says Anthony Rowley…”  Very strange words indeed. The wikipedia article about the ‘Frog Went A-Courting’ version of this song was intriguing, suggesting various possible origins, such as that it could be (or could have been altered to be) about an unpopular royal marriage. And/or that the roly-poly bit could be a list of “four families of Suffolk notables, Rowley, Poley, Bacon and Green”. I rather like the idea of gammon and spinach being derived from Bacon and Green.

A one-minute film of them is here. You can hear them croaking, and various birds (House Sparrow, Wood Pigeon, Starling) and the church clock ringing ‘quarter past the hour’ in the background. Plus quite a few cars and an aeroplane.

I took this picture of a crocus, while looking for something to fit the them of ‘inside’ for this weekly photo challenge. What a strange stigma the flower has – saffron trumpets. Culinary saffron comes from another species of crocus. What a job to collect them it must be.

Purple crocus

Saffron stigma glowing in the spring sunshine



A wonderful breezy autumn run

A couple more rainbow pictures added from this afternoon, to this morning’s run report.

double rainbow

Double rainbow over Sumach (Rhus typhina)

Rainbow over Rowan

Rainbow over Rowan tree

Well, I was inspired by ‘juicyju’ the panther-runner on c25k, who was doing a half-marathon today. Others c25k-ers on Facebook had pledged to run at the same time, to give her moral support. As I’ve not run at all for four weeks (and then only for twenty minutes) I decided to push myself to get back out and do a bit of a run, even if it was only ten minutes. I went out before breakfast (I suspected I might not do it if I didn’t get going straight away), so a bit before the 10 o’clock start for the others.

The thought of all those other virtual running buddies pushing themselves to run ridiculous distances kept me going and going, and I did 5k! I am soooooo pleased! It’s two months since I last did that, so my joints will probably be reminding me all about it in a couple of days, but they were fine while I kept going. The pace was (of course) slow and steady, but I kept going for 47 minutes.

I just kept thinking that at least I wasn’t doing 10k or a half-marathon. I nearly stopped at 30 minutes, but then noticed it wasn’t quite ten o’clock, and it seemed a pity to have stopped when everyone else was about to begin, so I carried on, and then it seemed silly not to go all the way to 5k – though I can now see that meant I did more than half as much again!  Not sure I’d have done it, if I’d realised that at the time, but it just goes to show that bodies can often do a lot more than we think.

It was lovely out – sunny and blowy, perfect temperature for running.  I have always loved autumn – all the leaf colours and hedgerow fruits really brighten things up.  I must remember to take a hair-tie when I run though, as I kept getting mouthfuls of hair – yuk!

I didn’t take the camera on the run, but here are two pictures from the garden after I got back.

Rough Woodlouse - Porcellio scaber

Rough Woodlouse (Porcellio scaber) on moss (Grimmia pulvinata).  This makes me think of Dr Who monsters.

young frog

Young frog, about 5 cm long. I found him underneath a piece of spare pond-liner that we’ve left out on some bricks and grass, in the hope of attracting snakes. Until now, all we’ve found has been ant nests – black ants and yellow meadow ants. I imagine the frog had been feasting happily.


Ribbit, Ribbit. Admiring the flowers

I was reading Brookend Cottage’s blog about her garden, and her daughter’s sunflowers, and it reminded me of this little story.

We’d been to a ‘pick-your-own’ sunflower field near us.  It was amazing to walk through a whole field of taller-than-me flowers.  We picked a bunch for my mum’s birthday.  As it was quite warm, I left them on the back doorstep overnight.  In the morning, I had a surprise…

frog on sunflower

On our back doorstep – a frog sitting on a sunflower!

Well, that was three years ago, but it seemed a pity not to share the picture.

Today’s flowers are some late sweet-peas – I thought they’d all finished a while ago, but these are still hanging on and smelling divine. Our Gertrude Jekyll rose is having a second flush of flowers too – another good flower for sniffing.

Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas and an aster

Gertrude Jekyll rose

Gertrude Jekyll rose – she has a bit of black spot, but smells wonderful



Sunny afternoon in the garden, and I’ve seen a pair of Large Red Damselflies by our pond.  They kindly sat very still for their photos to be taken.  Despite the name, they are not that big – 4 or 5 cm long.  I was even able to get one to walk onto my finger for a moment or two – they are not nearly as flighty as butterflies.

I was surprised to see two huge tadpoles in the pond too; I haven’t seen them since they’d just hatched out of the frogspawn weeks ago.  I’m glad some of them haven’t been eaten by the newts.

It’s too hot to run. Maybe I’ll go out later on… or maybe not.   🙂

male Large Red Damselfly

A male Large Red Damselfly.

pair of Large Red Damselflies

A pair of Large Red Damselflies. Female, with black and yellow stripes, is below, and male above.


Monster tadpole – about 3 cm long.  Really quite pretty.


Flora group walk

Went out for the day with the county flora group,  surveying a rather lovely meadow.  Walked a bit over 2 miles at a very slow pace.  We found lots of lovely plants, including the very strange fern, Adderstongue.  We also found Pignut, Dropwort, Bugle and lots of all three common buttercups.  Despite the sunshine, I only saw one butterfly – a Small White, but I did see a small frog.

Drybank Meadow

Drybank Meadow near Shipston

DSC04962 Adderstongue Fern

Adderstongue Fern

Goatsbeard - a very pale one

A very pale Goatsbeard flower.


A soldier beetle

A soldier beetle reading the Flower Guide blurb


Cycling along country lanes

Another day of garden bioblitz.  Seven frogs seen in our tiny pond all at once.  Here’s one peeping out under a lily pad.

Frog under water-lily

I decided to cycle today, as my foot still feels a bit bruised from all the jumping in the Jillian Michaels shred!  About 40 minutes along country lanes, seeing hawthorn, cow parsley, buttercups and red campion in flower, and I spotted an Orange-tip and two Brimstone butterflies too.  Lovely.  I didn’t have my camera with me though.  Cycled just over 10 km in 40 minutes.  It was lovely in the sunshine.

This Burnet Rose (Rosa spinosissima or Rosa pimpinellifolia) is in full flower in our garden and is beautifully scented.   Later on it has black hips.

Burnet Rose