THE BLOG

Our Wonderful World, Carpe Pisces and Birdsong at Dusk

27/09/2013 10:51 | Updated 26 November 2013

What a wonderful world...
...we are fortunate in the UK to live in a very green and pleasant land. Much of our natural landscape is untouched, untamed and so old that I get entranced just looking at it. What a shame that school kids don't get taught to respect and love this ancient country of ours where the Romans marched on purposefully built 'ways' and Pilgrims went in search of spiritual sustenance on foot, walking for days on end the length and breadth of the land. When I'm in the woods I find the atmosphere so peaceful that I can hear the breathing of a deer hidden from view and waiting patiently for me to pass by. I know when the crows are attacking a nest and can hear the plaintive cries of the mother dove incapable of protecting her chicks. I can tell when the squirrels are mating as they play a game of 'clack, clack' a type of calling game as they chase each other across treetops. I know when the blue tits have eaten enough because they literally sing a shrill ''trrr, tweet, tweet, 'trrr, 'trrr", when their tummies are full. And I know it's the Autumn now because I can smell the damp from the rotting leaves that are beginning to carpet the ground in the woods.

My connection with the natural world has heightened my own intuition and understanding. There is such abundance in nature that it is hard to imagine why anyone still goes hungry in the UK. There was a time when peasants collected and ate what was available and just enough. Today we gorge ourselves on processed 'food' wrapped in wasteful packaging. The supermarkets extort money though organised racketeering when in fact, a handful of cobnuts, a few wild mushrooms and blackberries which are all plentiful at this time of year, would have sufficed hundreds of years ago.

The natural world is more exceptional that we can imagine or fathom. Like this spider's web. I took this shot early this morning as I stepped out into the unusually warm garden. On the clothes line a spider had been busy overnight. The rising sun was in front of me as I took the shot...I'll not say more and let you decide. (I think I can see where the spider began his web. Can you?) That's another thing nature taught me: don't ever think you've figured it all out and be prepared to be amazed.

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Photo copyright S. van Dalen.

Carpe pisces
Mackerel is a delightfully meaty, robust- tasting fish although the smell may be a bit gamey for some. I made up this recipe greatly inspired by my learning Latin. Romans were fond of serving fish with a vinegar dressing which works well to temper the strong smell. I've used both vinegar and wine in the preparation of this dish - which was delicious by the way. Eaten with chips, of course, as we have a tradition to uphold in the UK of eating chips with everything.

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Photo copyright S. van Dalen.

Birdsong at dusk
This is a video I made of birdsong in the woods near my home as I was walking the hound. It was the height of summer with all that implies: a time of abundance, warm sunny days and happy, carefree moments. I was captivated by the songs the birds were singing to each other as another perfect day came to a close. (I can recognise the blackbirds but not the others. Be sure to turn up the sound on your computer. Enjoy!)
href="http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo4OW1udn7k" target="_hplink"> target="_hplink">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo4OW1udn7k
All rights reserved S. van Dalen.