Friday, 19 May 2017

A Laburnum of Bees, Eskdale Green



Eskdale Green

Took Roydog out for a short stroll last night, 9.15 pm and a cuckoo still calling from Muncaster Fell... a week of walks on the Screes, Illgill Head, Whin Fell, Mitredale Forest, Eskdale Green to Penny Hill Farm (and back), few miles around Ennerdale, another river walk and Muncaster Fell, couple of quick dips in the Esk ...



the scent of May blossom, bluebells and pine in the woods along the Esk, cuckoos calling up and down the valley and across the fells - maybe three or four - a woodpecker drill drill drilling away as we came off the fell side,

any amount of pipits and stonechats, larks calling, a pair of goldfinches, exotic in the strong wind blowing in from the west across Ennerdale water....

and a sheep gather off the fells near Penny Hill Farm, "away away! come come come! ayeayeayeayeaye!!! whistles to the sheepdogs, yows beh-ing, their black lambs bleating an answer,



all this in deep sunshine and blue raced cloudscape over the pink sparkling stone of Eskdale granite ... back to the cottage and the yellow hum of laburnum'd bees


Geraldine Green

19.5.2017
copyright of both words and photos: Geraldine Green

Monday, 8 May 2017

Time and Tide, North Walney Nature Reserve, 4.5.2017



... so, yesterday got onto the path that runs alongside the fence at Walney airport, heard the rustle of a largish animal the other side of the fence. Not a dog, not a fox, it sounded too big for that. Maybe a Roe deer? I've no idea! After that it was onto the salt marshes for the second bird counting day, into a strong north easterly. 




I've got a map of the salt marsh reserve and am learning the initials to put on it when a bird is spotted, L for Lapwing, WW for Willow Warbler, MP Meadow Pipit, ET Little Egret. A circle round the initial means song, underlined means it's calling... it's like learning a new language, almost a found poem... arrows for direction the birds are flying, a kind of starburst round an R indicates an aggressive encounter between two Robins. Saw a fair few Meadow Pipits, pair of Goldfinches,a Lapwing displaying, a Curlew (CU) hunkered down in a mud gully




Couldn't believe it that the Fox we spotted sniffing, quartering here and there near a large willow last week was again seen yesterday, same place, same behaviour, same sudden scenting us. It paused in its actions. Turned and eyeballed us. Its fox-mask-face glowing richredbrown against the newly freshening green of the salt marshed edge lands.



In the distance the A590 a subdued roar. Walney airport. Quiet of planes. Barrow Town Hall and St. Mary's church spire, way way in the distance to the south. To the north the hefty hump of Black Combe, right of that the Scafells, Coniston Old Man, Fairfield.




Walked into the wind right down to the very end of the salt marched reserve, to the gate that leads to the dunes. The sand a dazzling sable, windblown into giant waves. On the way back saw a clock face, lying on the marsh, it'd stopped at 3.55pm. Time and Tide etc. Other oddities that appealed to me: an old wheelie bin, lying on its side, barnacled. Gorse and Heart's Ease sang brightly.








In the field where my niece looks after five horses a Lapwing, Crow and small birds mobbed and dived at a male Sparrowhawk, SH.

Then it was home to tea and flapjacks, to bird-bathing blackbirds, and a walk on Aldingham’s windswept, salt dried sand, "salt road into the bay".

from North to South on the map:
weather: hot, sunny, strong north easterly, not a good day for bird counting

1 x MP
1 x SL (arrow pointing south east) heading south east, blown by the fierce north easterly
1 x L
1 x MP
2 x MP
1 x S
1 x MP
1 x S
1 x ET
1 x S
1 x MP (arrow pointing west)
1 x S (arrow pinting west)
1 x SL
1 x ET
1 x MP
2 x B (arrow pointing west)
1 x WP
1 x Fox by large willow (spotted on last survey, 27.4.2017)
1 x MP arrow pointing north east
1 x CU arrow pointing east
1 x CA arrow pointing south east
1 x RW (circled)
1 x WW
2 x HG
1 x ET
2 x BH

various gulls

Off the reserve:
1 x L displaying
1 x SH hunting, mobbed by Crow, Lapwing, small birds
1 x CH 2 x GO's, underlined (calling)
1 SW singing


Geraldine Green, 5.5.2017

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Bird Survey, North Walney Nature Reserve, 27.4.2017

Black Combe in the distance

The air was full of warblers, or so it seemed to me.Not that I could tell one warbler from another and relied on Jenny of Wilde Ecology and my co-volunteer Phil, to identify what was what in the warbler world. In a day gorse-filled and yellow, in a blustery wind that always seems to blow in from the west on Walney, we made our way through dune paths to salt marshes in the north of the island.


Salt Marsh, looking towards the Scafells

Willow warbler, sedge warbler, reed buntings, bullfinches, grasshopper warbler, larks, couple of oyster catchers, pair of greylags, goldfinches, one curlew, one lapwing displaying, toss in a robin, seven little egrets and there you have it... I was enchanted, listening to the warblers among the gorse. 


Gorse

Down on the salt marshes, with views up and out to the Duddon estuary, Kirkby Moors, Scafell range and Black Combe. Closer to hand, slag banks, remains of the old iron ore industry that put Barrow and its shipbuilding on the map.

It's that odd, uneasy (to me) juxtaposition of wildlife, in and out flow of tides, mud banks, quicksands, slag banks, the long industrial road into Barrow on the A590, and close to, a healthy looking dog fox quartering the edge of the salt marshes for voles, frogs, mice...

... it was hunting in and around the goat willows and brambles that separate/join dunes and marsh. We could see it easily with the naked eye. With binocs it was magnificent! Its rich red brown fur stood out against the fresh green.




Grey willow

The high pee-wit of lapwing called us to attention, in its display flight, swoops and dives. Acrobatting air. Perhaps the Arctic wind and chill has delayed the displaying and egg-laying of birds... so we'll go again to the wild reserve that sits between channel, slag banks and the Irish Sea.



Geraldine Green, 28.4.2017

Bird survey for the Morecambe Bay Partnership, 27.4.2017
Photos: copyright Geraldine Green

Birds noted on map of the Salt Marshes, north to south, north is L x 1, with BTO initialling:

L x 1
GO x 1
WW
LB x 2
CH underlined and circled
R
ET x 7, at rest, when disturbed arrow pointing northeastwards
WW circled
CU on marsh to right
R circled
MP
WW circled
GO x 2 circled, arrow pointing westwards
RW circled
W circled
L circled



pair of Greylags on quarry pond

2017: MIDSUMMER POETRY COURSE, BRANTWOOD THURSDAY 15th-SATURDAY 17th JUNE 2017




MIDSUMMER POETRY at BRANTWOOD CONISTON
THURSDAY 15th-SATURDAY 17TH JUNE 2017 with PIPPA LITTLE 
and GERALDINE GREEN

Join us at Brantwood Coniston, former home of John Ruskin, for a weekend of poetry, good food, views and company. The course will run from 2pm Thursday 15th June to 2pm Saturday June 17th 2017. 

Using a variety of writing prompts and stimuli new writing will be produced. There will be an opportunity for group feedback at the end of each session and one-to-one tutorials with the tutors on Saturday morning. 


The gardens and grounds of Brantwood, with views across the Lake to Coniston Old Man Dow Crag and Coppermines Valley, are an ideal setting for a weekend writing course. Course participants are also welcome to look around the house free of charge during the weekend. 

Course fee: £240
This includes evening meals on Thursday and Friday and lunch on Friday and Saturday.

Residential and non-residential options are available. The Lodge at Brantwood accommodates nine people in four double or twin-bedded rooms and one single. There are also local farmhouse Bed and Breakfasts, Guest Houses and the YHA in and around Coniston village.


Accommodation:
Bed and Breakfast accommodation is available for those participating in Brantwood's courses. Staying at Brantwood is one of the delights of studying here, spending time in good company and immersing yourself in the whole experience. Brantwood Lodge has been newly refurbished and will sleep up to 9 people, with 2 twin rooms, 2 double rooms and a single room. 

The Lodge enjoys wonderful views across Coniston Water. There is a communal kitchen/diner/living room with a wood burning stove. You can bathe in Ruskin's bath! 

The BandB rate is £50 per person per room/£35 per person shared occupancy/£35 per night single room. Breakfast is provided in the kitchen for guests to help themselves to cereal, toast, fruit, yogurt. Accommodation can also be booked for partners in double/twin rooms at the same BandB rate. 

Breakfast is provided in the kitchen for guests to help themselves to cereal, toast, fruit, yogurt. Accommodation can also be booked for partners in double/twin rooms at the same BandB rate. 

The Coachman's Quarters, situated above the cafe, can also be booked, if required.

Further information and booking is available through Brantwood
Tel: 015394 41396 
early booking is advisable!

Information on the tutors can be found here:

Pippa Little

You can hear Geraldine read her 'Gondola' poem here A Day on the Gondola written as part of the project she was involved in, with the National Trust SY Gondola Poetry Project Summer 2016:




COURSE OUTLINE: June 15th-17th 2017

THURSDAY 15TH JUNE - 1pm at The Lodge: Welcome to Brantwood!

1pm – Geraldine, Pippa and Rachel to meet participants at The Lodge for refreshments. Anyone arriving before 1pm is welcome to look round Brantwood, its house and gardens. Maps of the grounds are available, please ask at Reception.

1.45pm – Meet in The Schoolroom, Brantwood, situated next to The Studio (signposted) for Welcome and Introduction to the Course. Pippa and Geraldine to explain the timetable for the weekend.

Fire exits shown by green arrows. Toilets can be found next to the Schoolroom and also by the Linton Room, situated between the Lodge and Main House.

2-3.15pm – Introduction and Welcome followed by writing prompts

3.15 – 3.30pm: Break for coffee/tea

3.30-5pm – Writing prompts continued

5-6.30pm – Free time to enjoy the grounds and/or rest

6.30pm - Gather at The Lodge 

7pm – Dinner in Brantwood Cafe situated close to the Lodge

FRIDAY 16TH JUNE – Meet in The Schoolroom

9.30-11am – writing exercises using a variety of stimuli to produce new writing

11-11.15am – Break

11.15am – 12.30pm – writing exercises continued

12.30-1.30pm – LUNCH at Brantwood Cafe. 

1.30-3.15pm - Outdoor writing session/reflective walk.

3.15-3.30pm – Break, tea/coffee in The Schoolroom

3.30-4.30pm - Time to write up a poem produced from the writing exercises 

4.30-6pm – Free time

6pm - meet back at The Lodge

6.30pm - Evening meal in Brantwood Cafe

8-9pm – Evening Reading by Pippa, Geraldine and the Group in Brantwood Cafe 

SATURDAY 17TH JUNE - Meet in The Schoolroom

10-11.30am – Writing exercises, plus one to one tutorials 

11.30-11.45am – Break

11.45-1pm - Writing exercises plus one to one tutorials 

1pm-2pm  – light lunch at Brantwood Cafe and Depart

Please note: the Group is welcome to look round the House and Grounds over the weekend. Thank you and welcome!



photos by Geraldine Green (copyright)


Saturday, 6 May 2017

2017: OCTOBER WRITERS' RETREAT: with Graham Mort and Geraldine Green, 2nd-5th October 2017, Brantwood Coniston Cumbria


View from Monk Coniston, photo by Geraldine Green (copyright)

October Writers' Retreat with Co-tutors Graham Mort and Geraldine Green, Brantwood Coniston, Cumbria, Monday-Thursday October 2nd-5th 2017

Brantwood, Coniston, Cumbria, former home of John Ruskin is the perfect place whether you have a writing project you’re working on or just need time and space away from the busyness of life to step back and gain some inspiration and quietly reflect.  

The tranquil grounds and gardens of Brantwood, stunning views across Coniston Water to the Old Man and Dow Crag, log fires, wonderful food all provide the ideal writers retreat. There will be time for solitude and also the company and conversation of other writers. 

Co-tutor Graham Mort will give a reading with Geraldine on Tuesday evening. You’re all welcome to share a poem or two, as well on Wednesday evening when the Group give a reading to the tutors.

Mentoring - The Retreat also gives you an opportunity for one-to-one mentoring plus informal discussions with the tutors. 

Course fee: £270 
This includes evening meals on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and lunch on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.



Residential and non-residential options are available. The Lodge at Brantwood accommodates nine people in four double or twin-bedded rooms and one single. There are also local farmhouse Bed and Breakfasts, Guest Houses and the YHA in 
and around Coniston village.

Residential option:
The Lodge at Brantwood has been newly refurbished to provide accommodation for those attending our courses. It sleeps up to 9 people in 2 double rooms, 2 twin rooms and a single room, located on the ground and upper floors, with a shared kitchen/diner and living room, 1 bathroom, 2 shower rooms and a separate toilet. The Lodge enjoys wonderful views across Coniston Water to the fells. A self-service breakfast is provided in the Lodge as part of the rate.


Bed and Breakfast Accommodation in the Lodge at Brantwood:
BandB accommodation is available for those participating in Brantwood's courses. Staying at Brantwood is one of the delights of studying here, spending time in good company and immersing yourself in the whole experience. Brantwood Lodge has been newly refurbished and will sleep up to 9 people, with 2 twin rooms, 2 double rooms and a single room. 

The Lodge enjoys wonderful views across Coniston Water. There is a communal kitchen/diner/living room with a wood burning stove. 

The BandB rate is £50 per person per room/£35 per person shared occupancy/£35 per night single room. Breakfast is provided in the kitchen for guests to help themselves to cereal, toast, fruit, yogurt. Accommodation can also be booked for partners in double/twin rooms at the same BandB rate. The Coachman's Quarters, situated above the cafe, is also available if required.

Booking through Brantwood
Pre-booking is essential. Tel: 015394 41396 

Information on the tutors can be found here:

Graham Mort
and on wikipedia


Some sessions take place outdoors - please bring suitable footwear and clothing



Writers' Retreat: The Lodge, Brantwood, October Course 2015

October Writers' Retreat with Graham Mort and Geraldine Green, 2nd-5th October 2017 Brantwood Coniston Cumbria

Course Outline:

Monday 2nd October 2017

1pm - Gather at The Lodge for refreshments, Geraldine, Graham and Rachel will be there to meet you and show you your rooms.

1.45pm - Meet in The Schoolroom in the Main House where writing workshops will take place. 

This is accessed by steps close the front door of the main house, through the Studio and into the Schoolroom. Please ask at Reception, staff will be available to give you directions.

2pm - The Schoolroom: Welcome and Introduction with Graham and Geraldine. Ask names and also which genres they write in.

2.15pm - 3pm – In the Schoolroom: Graham to lead with writing stimuli

3pm-3.15pm - Break

3.15pm-4pm In the Schoolroom: Geraldine to continue with further writing stimuli 

4pm-5pm – in the Schoolroom: quiet writing time, followed by readback/feedback on ONE piece of writing produced during this session.

5pm-6pm - Free time. 

6.15pm Meet in The Lodge, evening meal in Brantwood Cafe

Tuesday 3rd October

9.30am – 10.45am - writing stimuli in The Schoolroom provided by Geraldine

10.45am-11am - Break

11am -12.15pm - writing stimuli in The Schoolroom provided by Graham

12.15pm-1pm – Readback and feedback of ONE piece of work written during the morning

1-2pm – Lunch in Brantwood Café 

2pm-3.30pm – Meet in The Schoolroom, followed by Outdoor Reflective Walk, writing stimuli given by Graham and Geraldine

3.30pm- 4.15pm  Quiet writing time

4.15pm-5pm – feedback/readback of one piece of writing

5pm-6pm – Free time

6.15pm – Meet in The Lodge, evening meal in Brantwood cafe followed by reading given by Graham and Geraldine

Wednesday 4th October
9.30am-11am – Meet in The Schoolroom, writing stimuli provided by Graham

11am-11.15am - Break

11.15am-12.30pm – writing stimuli provided by  Geraldine

12.30pm-1.30 pm - Lunch

1.30pm-5pm - Free writing and reflective time. Participants are welcome to explore the house and gardens (Free to participants). One to one tutorials will be available between 2pm and 4pm.

2pm-4pm – Parallel one to one tutorials with Geraldine and Graham in The Schoolroom, 15 minutes slots. Please put your name down on the sheet provided. This will be left for you in the Schoolroom kitchen. Further one to ones available during Thursday morning session.

4pm-5pm – Quiet writing time

5pm-6pm – Free time

6.15pm – Meet in the Schoolroom, followed by evening meal in Brantwood cafe followed by Group reading (up to 5 minutes each)

 Thursday 5th October
10am-11.30am - One to one tutorials with Graham and Geraldine, 15 minute slots: Graham 10am-10.45am; Geraldine 11am-11.45am
Additionally, there will be time for close readings of writing produced during the course.

Break 10.45am-11am

11.45am-12.45pm - Group readback and feedback, complete Feedback Forms.

1pm-2pm Lunch in Brantwood Café and depart.

Note; Course participants are welcome to explore the House and Grounds during their free time. Brantwood Main House closes at 5pm. The grounds are open 24 hours.



View from Brantwood October Writers Retreat 2015, photo by Geraldine Green