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Tuesday, 9 September 2014


Near where I live there's a castle. Well, more than one. There's Corfe Castle (which I've written about) and there's Portland Castle (which I haven't).
The definition of a castle is oblique. Maiden Castle (also not far away) is a series of grass covered ramparts where Celts held out against Romans (and lost). There's a mini version too - where I came across a thistle. And there's Sandsfoot - a little ruin of a castle built first as part of Henry VIII's coastal defences. It's mostly fallen into the sea but a couple of year's ago it was stuck together a bit and made safe and a wooden bridge built so you can pretend you are crossing the moat that isn't there on a drawbridge . . . and a two-person balcony where you can stand with a friend and look out at the sea and hope the cliff won't crumble until you've gone home.

And that's where I went to look at plants.

Now, if I owned a castle, I wouldn't want flowers growing out from the stones. Heavens! The fuss people make about a little ivy on a grotty garden wall. And this is history!

How about Red Valerian growing on your roof?

Or leaves peeping over the lintel? (Sometimes I think this is buddleia - then I don't.)

This fleshy little plant may appear to be growing at the foot of a wall but no. It's nestling in the unevenness between the large stones from which the castle is built.

If the walls of my house were rickety with age, so rickety the upper floor had already given way, I wouldn't put sacks of earth along them and try to grow grass there.

But that's what happened when the castle was 'done up'. The grass died.

Other plants have taken their place.

It's getting late in the summer so they're dying too. Turning without moving (in a stuck foot kind of way) I look back under the arch of the balcony to see them.

There's a hole up the middle of the castle; a square, empty space. You can look down into the remains of the basement and up at the sky through the non-existent roof. And you can admire flowers growing in high, broken corners and window spaces.

(I unstuck my foot so see these.)

Plantain. Clover. And a bramble.

(Note to myself. Go back to the foot of the cliff before winter storms crack more of it away - and look up.)

(And down into rock pools.)

(We've been there before. We found a dead goose lying on a bed of seaweed. And I've been observing the castle as the seasons have come and gone.)

For more about 'Stuck Foot' posts - and an invitation to join in.
For the September Tree Following Link Box

Sunday, 7 September 2014


Sycamore keys. September 2nd 2014

I didn't dare remind anyone that it's time for the tree following link box until I'd written my own post. Phew! Just made it in time for the 7th. (See below.)

But here it is.

Looking forward to reading about your trees.

(Do you think those who use Twitter are becoming a bit telegrammatic?)

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As usual, put the link to your post rather than your blog and your blog name as well as your own.

The box will stay open till 7pm on the 14th September. (UK time.)