Friday, March 29, 2013


This morning I watched a Blackbird gathering nesting material. Clearly he is unaware of the problem with the Jet Stream. Let me explain. Cassell's Italian dictionary contains the splendid word "bracalone", defined as "a careless untidy fellow whose trousers keep slipping down".
I am sure you can see where this is going.
The Blackbird doesn't know that this horrible cold weather we are enduring is a result of the Jet Stream, which like the bracalone's britches, has slipped down the hemisphere. We get normal weather when the JS is to the north of the British Isles, which it mostly is; but horrid weather when it it south of us, which it currently is.
Now, I wish that Blackbird all the best, but the way things are going, or rather not going, I don't think he'll be a dad any time soon; and I am sure I will have snow on my boots on my birthday.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Breaking news from Mrs T

All is gristle that comes to Mrs Trellis's mill.

Dear Mrs Scrote, she writes, I heard on the wireless this morning that they have found Mr Higgs's Bosom in the Hardon Collider. You being a Person of the World might know what this means, but I'm blessed if I do. Still, as long as it makes someone happy, I say.
Yours etc
Blodwen Trellis, Mrs, widow, retd.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

St. Margaret Clitherow

Here's a saint worth saying hello to:

St. Margaret Clitherow was born in Middleton, England, in 1555, of protestant parents. Possessed of good looks and full of wit and merriment, she was a charming personality. In 1571, she married John Clitherow, a well-to-do grazier and butcher (to whom she bore two children), and a few years later entered the Catholic Church. Her zeal led her to harbour fugitive priests, for which she was arrested and imprisoned by hostile authorities. Recourse was had to every means in an attempt to make her deny her Faith, but the holy woman stood firm. Finally, she was condemned to be pressed to death on March 25, 1586. She was stretched out on the ground with a sharp rock on her back and crushed under a door over laden with unbearable weights. Her bones were broken and she died within fifteen minutes. The humanity and holiness of this servant of God can be readily glimpsed in her words to a friend when she learned of her condemnation: "The sheriffs have said that I am going to die this coming Friday; and I feel the weakness of my flesh which is troubled at this news, but my spirit rejoices greatly. For the love of God, pray for me and ask allgood people to do likewise." Her feast day is March 26th.

March 26th was also my father's birthday, but I can make nothing of the coincidence.

En bref

Don't laugh, I have joined Twitter. I have a good reason to do so, and I promise I will not be posting any tweets or twits or whatever they're called. 
One thing I have immediately realised:- my mother tongue, my beloved mamaloshen, is not the language of the new generation. I suppose it is a generation in a hurry, because their Newspeak has dispensed with vowels almost entirely, or, as they might say "dspnsd w vwls lmst ntrly", And I use the verb "say" advisedly, because they not only write this way, they also SPEAK this way. No wonder I  need subtitles. And to think that a year ago, I was worried that I was going deaf!
There appears to be a middle generation between mine and the new lot, consisting mainly of birders who are equally in too much of a hurry to give the names of birds in full. A recent example from Twitter is this one: "Thurs Club brecks: targets missed am, 9 Stoneys 2gether good, Med, Caspo & 2 YLG".  What? Recently on a bird group, someone wrote about "Sarnies",  which by a process of deduction I - and some other readers - managed to decode as "Sandwich terns".
Well, there it is. I am not really complaining, just lamenting whatever it is that is causing people to abbreviate so much. But, in compensation, I am very glad that I am not going deaf, I just nd t gt usd 2 ppl tlkng n cnsnts.
PS My garden feeders are doing very well: every day now I get lots of goldies, greenies, treespugs, reedies and lesserpolls, and, of course stockies, woodies, blackies and robbos feeding underneath them. Still waiting for my first sisky or brambly to turn up, though.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Man and wildlife

The following is a quote from a Mary Colwell article on the occasion of the election of Pope Francis. Please don't switch off. The highlighted quote from St Francis of Assisi is a mantra for all of us who care about wildlife and the environment. 

 St Francis is known for both his compassion for, and action on behalf of, the poor and for his love of nature. The legends that surround him are many, preaching to birds, talking to wolves, contemplating the stars, rescuing fish, calling an insect his sister and so on. He obviously had a deep passion for nature and one of his famous sayings is: "If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men." Now that is worth hearing time and again in our world today. When we see the cruelty, the disrespect and the utilitarian way much of the world treats not just animals but the whole of the natural world, then I wonder if we are just a few steps away from terrible atrocities everywhere. We are so good at de-sensitising ourselves to suffering.

End of preachy bit.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A useful tip from Mrs Trellis

As ever, my North Wales correspondent is quick to extract the pith out of the news.

Dear Holiness, she writes, I don't normally talk to popes, archimandrakes and suchlike, but I wanted to tell you that I approve of the name Francis, like that one from Assissi who was always covered in bird poo. I just hope people don't start calling you Frank. I hate people who abbreviate. Anyone called me Blod, I'd belt them with my handbag. Maybe you should carry a handbag too, just in case. Or a crozier.
Respectively yours
Blodwen Trellis, Mrs, widow, retd.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Fat as a pancake

It being Monday (nothing to do with it, actually, but a sentence has to start somehow) and the sun shining (irrelevant, but I want you to know it's not all gales and snow here), I decided, after getting back from Ely, to do the second batch of pancakes.
The pancakes my mother made were light, delicate, crispy at the edges. She sprinkled sugar and squeezed lemon juice on the open pancake and then folded it and cut it into bit-sized mouthfuls. They were melt-in-the-mouth delicious.
I managed to eat two of the pancakes I made this morning, but it was a struggle. They had the thickness and consistency of the soles on a pair of army boots.
I followed the recipe, Mother, honestly I did. Well, moreorless. I guessed the amount of plain flour, but it looked about right. I thought the amount of butter was a bit measly, so I added a bit more than the recommended 50gm. Yes, Mother, two eggs. Beaten? Oh, did I need to beat them? And yes, Mother, 200ml of milk. Well, it seemed a lot so I didn't use it every last drop. In fact I used just half of it.
Anyway, all is not lost: the unused mix will come in handy for filling some cracks in the mortar on the back wall.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

What's in a name?

When my children were quite young, about seven years old at a guess, we bought them each a white rabbit. The children were invited to give their rabbit a name. "Mine is called Snowy", says Sarah. "Mine is called Jaguar Jungle", says Jeremy.
We didn't have the bunnies long enough to see if their names reflected their characters; they both escaped within a week.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Trellis triumphant!

I can only guess that Mrs T's note is connected with the fact that today is the first of March. She writes:

Heddiw yw Dydd Gŵyl Dewi, Tyddewi yw nawddsant Cymru. Beth mae Lloegr i gymharu? Dim byd! 

The only words I recognise are Cymru, meaning Wales, and Lloegri, meaning England. What on earth does the word Lloegri relate to? The Scots word for the English, Sassenachs, is clearly a corruption of Saxons. I suspect Lloegri has something to do with a bodily function...

The second mouse?

According to my friend, Peter, it's the second mouse that gets the cheese. He didn't know about this cunning fellow!
I seem to have got rid of the rats that were plaguing my garden while I have been feeding the birds so heavily during the cold snap. I just hope this photograph doesn't get out into the rodent world...