Archive | April 2016

Fifth pril Blog

Fifth April Blog. (Again, just under the wire).

Wing-free Dreams.

On a hilltop, bravely,
He stands so statuesque,
Leaning into a forceful wind,
Viewing a distant arabesque,

A murder of crows in a meadow,
A swirl of swifts, blowing the breeze,
A cluster of pigeons, barn-sitting,
When a hawk passes over, they freeze.

Some starlings in a murmuration
By seaside, they dip and they dive,
In patterns, they swirl in great numbers,
I suppose just to show they’re alive.

His thoughts go soaring up with them,
Those birds that are flying aloft.
He wonders at where they are going,
Then heads back to farm or to croft.

For his is a land-hugged existence,
No wings does he sprout from his spine,
Nor feathers to flip in the current,
He strolls home, alongside the chine.

Copyright. Evelyn J. Steward. April, 2016.
Birds are curious creatures. How often has man or woman, gazed up at a bird flying free, catching a breeze, lifting with a thermal? Seen them diving, wheeling, wings outspread, flapping or soaring in the atmosphere, a seemlingly alien environment that all other creatures save insects, bees, butterflies etc. have to shun? Seemingly, flying developed way back in Jurassic days, though there are some people who do not believe modern thinking on this theory. However, creatures took to the skies then, and they sure have mastered the art since.

I think the largest and heaviest fliers are the condors. I may be wrong, but I think so. ( remember folks, these are just my opinions based on information gleaned by various televisual programmes and book reading, and as such, are also often second hand opinions before I even get to them.)

Of course, some avuans cannot fly, for one reason or another. Ostriches, emus and their ilk ( including the long seceased Dodo) are in fact far too heavy to lift off, but in any case, their wings are more rudimentary and could not support flight. They may have flown aeons ago but over time, it came to pass they had no need to fly, or perhaps they were never able to fly, nit destined to fly in the first place. I have no answer here.

Some can lift off for short spans, like a few of the storks, though some storks fly thousands of miles to Africa and back to places like Germany in late spring. Though a fairly heavy bird by its looks, it certainly is a good flier, making such journeys for many years.

A few birds are night fliers. Owls are such. Some have silent flight, their wings make no sound. All the better for catching prey. There is one particular hawk in the UK that is clever enough to fly between trees for its prey, giving it more options than others who have to fly at treetop level or above open ground.

Often birds of orey are referred to as raptors, harking back to our thoughts of their origins. But I feel that any bird must have come from that original source, and that tine and food, perhaps weather changes, terrain etc. would make the difference we now see between birds of prey still eating meat and fish, and insect and seed eaters around now.

Whatever made the change, we still marvel at these aerial acrobats, their command of something as ethereal as air.

Take good care in this strange world.



Fourth April Blog.

Fourth April Blog

Poppy Harvest.

The fields lie fallow, with brown bare earth,
Seed of the corn has been sown.
With April droplets and bright sunshine,
New shoots will show, wind-blown.

Green tops sprout above the dark soil
To greet the bright spring blue sky,
And in amongst the corn and wheat,
The poppy shoots grow, by and by.

Their tender stems, reach willowy,
And climb up with the ripening corn,
And long before the harvester comes,
Red buds open to greet each dawn.

Their frondy leaves curl through the day,
And papery flowerheads spread,
And breezes catch them unawares,
Each bright red silken head.

The sunlight glistens brightly
On petals blown by wind, all around.
They dance among the ripening wheat,
Like a Spaniard’s flamenco gown.

Its centre, like an ebony anenome,
Calling insects and bees to pollinate,
Then swiftly, as if they cannot stay,
Their petals fall limp, and abate.

For the swathe of blood, seen from afar
Has died, as summer has waned,
Their seeds have grown fat and soon will disperse,
Like swallows above church weather vanes.

The corn grows golden and smothers the seed
Of summer’s bright friend of the field.
The combine will come and the corn will be cut,
Together both seeds, they will yeild.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. Aoril, 2016.
(My apologies. If this picture comes through, then I fear, it us not yet quite complete as my reds are far darker than I want for the poppies. Also I know that the foreground poppies are much too large for reality. This is deliberate. I wantef to make them a sratement, I also want this picture for this blog. I may make them smaller later, when new colours arruve, and if I am able. So once again I apologise and give you all these reasons.)


There used to be lots more fields sown with corn, wheat, oats and barley. But sadly, many of these crops have delclined. We buy wheat and corn from Europe and other lplaces more often than we used to do, to fill in the gaps of what we need, what we use and do nit now produce. Partly because I think our weather for ripening such crops is never as dry and warm as is needed. But personally speaking I feel that many fields have now been put over to yellow rape. You see fields and fields of the stuff. Drive down to the coast ( if only) and you can see them from afar. Bright yellow from miles away.

Now I know that farming is a tough life these days. I do understand that possibly the old crops are hard to harvest and may not bring in the ‘bucks’ so they have to plant crops like rape that are more cash worthy. But my point is that we are fast losing all our heritage. Not only in farming, but in other ways.

I suppose we have to move with the times. You only have to look how we have all embraced the Internet. Global! But what are we losing? Conversation, for one. Anyway, that notwithstanding, our young are losing the power of speech! They have transferred that power to fingers. The same as I am doing, only mostly on phones.

Perhaps I am standing too far back? Perhaps I was born too long ago, when the world was a torally different time. Maybe, I am thoight of as a Dodo? In my case, almost extinct. And I will be, some time in the future.

Being an urban person, the countryside was a passing sight when going on a charabang ride to the seaside ( back in the day). Fields of ripening corn went on forever then. Not the garish yellow of rape, but a mellow golden wheaty colour. ( like in ‘Frasier’s carpet – a whole new colour’). With a soughing breeze rippling across, giving the impression of a corn-coloured ocean, a wonderful sight. Now barely seen. I know the rape crop is good, it has to be or there would not be so many fields of .it across this land of England. And how any poppies set seed in these bright fields? They would clash so badly.

So, I mourn for the past and regret the future in some ways.

Be safe out in this world my friends. Be happy where you can.


Third April Blog

Third April Blog

Natural News.

Had I but heard
The songbird a’singing.
Had I listened to a robin’s chirp
In field and hedgerow nest,
Too early, the swallow to
Come flying on the wing,
I am at peace watching
The chicks of robin redbreast.

Down by the stream
Sits a warbler in tall reed,
Gathering soft linings
To cushion her eggs,
Blue and green kingfisher,
Watching for minnows,
On branches o’er streams,
With rings on his legs.

Reed Buntings sit
By ponds and ditches,
Waiting for Mayflies
Who rise in their need,
Near where the horse tail
Flails and flitches
Picking up chickweed,
And stray wind-blown seed.

Had I watched starlings,
And shared in their chatter,
Learning the gossip,
Oh then would I find,
Daily news passed
From bird, mouse and Natterjack,
All Nature’s secrets
Would fill my empty mind.

Copyright. Evelyn J. Steward. April, 2016.

Spring, at last, is beginning to burgeon. Taken its time, that is for sure, this year.

But, at long last, some trees have a misty pale green halo about them. It was hard to tell, at first. But now, even my poor eyesight can seen the shimmer, the luminescence, if you like, an aura of the palest kind, suffusing each stark-limbed shape, like a gossamer veil casually launched into the air to fall, haphazardly over branch tips, cloaking the browns of winter limbs.

This is a time to treasure. It stays such a short few weeks. Soon, it will vanish, to become totally verdant. A veil no longer, but a shimmering gown of choicest greens. All different shades of richness. Some trees have yet to throw out buds and remain stark, bare. But not for much longer.

The Forsythia, by my dooor, so wantonly razed last summer, put out three yellow blooms. What a joy. But, a few days later, the whole bush ( or what was left of it) has become a riot of bell-shaped blossoms. My heart is filled with joy at such a return from the (almost) dead. I doubt my lilac will follow suit. They take a long time to recover from such assaults. Also the buddlea, which may recover sooner than the lilac to quell the bareness in the front.

Down the street, trees have also been de-limbed a certain amount. One right at the end becomes engorged with dark pink/red blossoms. They do not hang on long, and when they are blown from the tree or dropped, as blosoms are soon dropped, it is like red wine poured into the gutter. A spring shower will take these dyng blooms, then spill them along the street. The tree then brings forth dark wine-red leaves and that it how it enhances the ares, a different colour from all the greens. I have no idea what the tree is. It could be a Fagus Sylvatica, but really, that is me trying to locate it through Google. It does not mention blooms. So, the type of tree shall remain unknown for now.

Another tree ( of many) I like during springtime ( all year really) is the weeping willow. None nearby, but there is one close to my GPs surgery.

About three miles away, a large plot of land has been given over to a shady walk with all kinds of trees and shrubs, small ponds with waterloving plants around and in. A place to photograph and enjoy. It runs from church to theatre, in a roundabout route. Now, at this time of year, all the trees and shrubs will begin to cloak themselves ready, in a few weeks, to show off their finery. It is in an urban environment so all the more blessed for that.

This is my spring eulogy. Nothing earth-shattering. Just thoughts on what I aee around me. How I feel about a sunny spring day. Please enjoy.

Take care out in the common world.  Enjoy your family and friends.


This entry was posted on April 14, 2016. 2 Comments

Happy To Announce . . .

Have bern waiting for this to appear since I knew about the illustrations. Wonderful art work, and I am certain the story will be great fir children. All her grownup books are terrific. Evelyn

Just Life - Jennie Orbell

Well, it’s taken a little while to get to this stage (announcing the new book) because basically I messed-up the ordering of the proof and was waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting for something that didn’t arrive and was never going to. Initially I blamed it on Easter – you know – being held up for the holidays.

I won’t bore you with the details but if you know me, and many of you do now, you will know that messing-up an order is pretty normal for me. And why shouldn’t it be I cry in my own defence. A few years ago I was a total ‘newbie’ cautiously dipping my big toe in waters new. I’d just about worked my way around Word and how to ‘double space’ and ‘find and replace’ and then I had to apply myself to ‘uploads’ and ‘downloads’ and…

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Second April Blog

Second April Blog.

April’s Twinkling Eyes.

Daffodyl and Hyacinth,
Early almond trees,
Forsythia, Magnolia,
Spread their blooms with ease.
Crocuses, Narcissus,
Heralding the cherry,
Pollen for the early bees,
Making earth feel merry.
Wild flowers in the woodlands,
Prepare to show their best,
Dandelions and hawthorn,
Bluebells, dewy nests
For insects rising slowly
To prance the burgeoning bough,
Beetles stirring, larvae wake,
To join the hum of now.
For sunshine warmth brings daylight
Within the forest glade,
And yellow, blue and lilac hues
Bring brightness ready made.
These blossoms climb up from the earth
To fill our hearts with joy,
And April garners springtime sun,
To welcome girl and boy.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. April, 2016

I have posted this poem on FB, but I feel it worth a second go.

Some get April showers, others get autumnal breezes but whatever comes your way, a certain time of year that is special to you, will always bring gladness when it comes around. For many of us in the UK, spring IS that time of year because winter is a season most of us detest. Yes, I know some people like to go skiing, and that is their prerogative, but most of us love to see the sun and feel its warmth coursing though our bodies. Many suffer with aches and pains in their joints which are alleviated by warm sunshine, and the sooner that comes, the better.

Many are gardeners, wanting to plant seeds and plants that need the soil warmef up to get growth started. We often have a shortened spring and summer, so, the earlier seeds are planted, the faster they will grow away. This has been a mild but long, long winter. We are fed up with it, like many places in Canada, USA, Northern Europe and so on, where snow and cold weather conditions have hung on interminably.

If you think back, only a relatively short period of time, winters were even colder. I can remember delicate swirls of frost patterns on the upstairs windows. I once drew them in pencil and the same patterns in colour. That was before central heating. ( which I still do not have).

But if you think back to Victorian times, our isands were much colder durung winter months. Not surprising that during the winter, many people died of hyperthemia, not having the price of a few buckets of coal every week. Would we have survived today under such conditions? I doubt it. We are too used to warmer living conditions and more and much better food. Perhaos we are becoming too fragile: too used to modern technology, easy living, to help us survive bitter weather.

So, come on spring, show us what you are made of.
“””Continuing Terrie and Gina ( no title).
With trepidation, Gina followed Terrie out of the small hall and into the large foyer.

“i always start at the main entrance,” Terrie told her. “if that isn’t in fine fetle, than it has to be sorted, fast. Oh, you may not have noticed, but when we were looking through the window, i was actually checking the hedges and lawns. As far as I could see, that is. Robert comes in early and does the round of the grounds. More, the further parts of the estate really, including the stabies and craft shops, the mill, etc. He does have one of the gardeners do a turn with him. But the grounds are extensive, so I just give the front lawns a quick look to see if there is anything glaring that needs attending to immediately.

“Seems a lot to do, Terrie! How will I ever learn all this?” Gina stared at all the peopke gatheted in the hallway, her eyes darting all around at the furniture, nestled safely behind silken ropes, He expresion turned into a worried frown.

” Oh, you’ll soon get the hang of it,” Terrie assured her. “you won’t need to know everythng at once. I grew up here, but it took over two years to understand the running of something as old and historical as this house. The manager, Mrs Landry, took me on. Showed me the ropes, if you will. She was a bit of a stickler for getting things right. She had been housekeeper here, and maid before that, so she knew all the history, passed down by previous housekeepers who knew their stuff. Were hard taskmasters too,” she added.

As she spoke, Terrie ‘fired up’ her intercom and, breaking off her speech to Gina, she called Ranger. He looked after the distant gates and gtounds. It was an extensive estate, more than Gina realised, at present.

“Everything OK Ranger?” Terrie asked into the slighly crackling handset.

“A OK Terrie. I have checked the wall where that car crashed into yesterday. It will need repair though it isn’t going to fall down. You will need to call his insurance company though. Don’t see why we should pay, even though it was not the driver’s fault, exactly. Those foxes have a habit of dashing across the riad near that bend.”

“Wilko,” replied Terrie, turning to Gina and giving a little grin. “I’ll do that this mornng.” She clicked off the handset. “Now, ready to start?”

Gina nodded, not really sure of what she had let herself in for. In her father’s housr, she was queen. Everything turned or revolved around her or her whim. She managed the house, the ser….staff with ease. Nothing escaped her managerial aptitude. But here she was totally out of her depth. Leaving her home was a hard choice. But one that had to be made. Now,with all that Terrie had said, she felt ill at easr, uncertain that she had made the right decision. However, she was her father’s daughter ( just as Terrie was, she realised ). Determination was her middle name. “Yes! Ready to start,”. Gina added verbally.

“A fine day, Miss Terrie,”. The manager of the receptionist, secretary and assistnts offered. “This will bring in more tourists,” she srated wisely, looking througjh the open glassed front doors at the distant stream of vehicles heading towards the car park.

“The more the merrier,” quipped Terrie. “Oh, this is Gina, my sister. Showing her how we do things today!” A chorus of’ good mornings’ greeted Gina as she edged forward further into the hallway. She noted that amongst a sprinkling of older ladies, there were quite a lot of younger wonen.

“Good morning all,” she replied, more that a little shy at meeting so many for the first time. This definitely seemed different to just having two or three people to advise first thing of a morning.

The head gardener popped his head though the door at that point. “Problems, Miss Terrie. Can I have a couple of words? “. He noticed Gina. “Hello Miss. You new here?”

“George, you’re getting cheeky again. This is my sister. She is going to help us here from now on. Treat her as you treat me.” There were a couple of stifled giggles at that point. Terrie looked around at the women, a frown creasing her forhead. The giggling stopped.

“Yes Miss,” replied George, the corners of his mouth creasing up ever so slightly. He always made a play for any new female that came to work at The Hall. He meant nothing by it. Everyone knew, or soon found out, he was totally loyal to his long-standing, long-suffering girlfriend. He was that kind of a man who was always fond of disarming the ladies.
Be careful out in the world. Let the sun shine and visit happiness upon you.


Bessie, Mother of the King’s Son

More historical infirmation. The plots thicken!

History... the interesting bits!

article-2083826-0F60095A00000578-732_224x423 Effigy of Elizabeth Blount

Elizabeth Blount was born around 1500 in Kinlet in Shropshire, to John Blount of Kinlet and his wife Katherine, daughter of Sir Hugh Pershall of Knightley. There is some confusion as to whether she was her parent’s first child, but it is likely that she was their eldest daughter. Elizabeth (Bessie) was born at Kinlet Hall, but probably grew up at Bewdley, Worcestershire, where the family had moved to shortly after her birth.

Her family lived close to Ludlow and several relatives were employed in the household of Henry VII’s eldest son, Arthur, Prince of Wales. It may well be through her family’s connection to the Prince of Wales’ household that Elizabeth achieved her position at court. It is also likely that her distant cousin, Lord Mountjoy affected the introduction.

However it was achieved, it is possible that Elizabeth was at court by the time she…

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Thought without words

Thoughts to ponder. Evelyn

The Silent Eye


“Love you!” says my granddaughter, wearing a huge grin and blowing soggy kisses She still can’t pronounce the words quite right, nor does she really know what they mean. She only knows they always bring smiles when she says them. She has learned them from the big people who feed, cuddle and play. The ones with whom she is safe and happy. She knows they mean something to do with that… but can have no real definition of the words at one year old.

Although she is never quiet and babbles away constantly, she has, as yet, no real use of language above the few nouns and verbs with which she navigates her world. She is learning fast, having grasped this concept of verbal communication. Expression and intonation she has already acquired and we have long, involved conversations, that are still communication regardless of the fact that technically, neither of…

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This entry was posted on April 5, 2016. 2 Comments

Book Corner: In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII by Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger

Surely, this is as much a part of English history as the Royals themselves? Evelyn

History... the interesting bits!

51C52QElN8L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_This book provides a fresh perspective on the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives by embarking on a journey through the manors, castles and palaces in which their lives were played out.

Each location is described in a fascinating narrative that unearths the queens’ lives in documents and artefacts, as well as providing practical visitor information based on the authors’ first-hand knowledge of each site. Accompanied by an extensive range of images including timelines, maps, photographs and sketches, this book brings us closer than ever to the women behind the legends, providing a personal and illuminating journey in the footsteps of the six wives of Henry VIII.

In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of HenryVIII, by Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger, is an absolute treasure trove of pictures and information of the many historic locations associated with Henry VIII’s 6 wives. The book is divided into 7…

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This entry was posted on April 3, 2016. 2 Comments

First April Blog

First April Blog.

Empty Pages.

The page is blank,
No words lighten the dark
Though not strictly true,
If I used a pen and paper,
This would oppose.
Even on a computer
Or tablet, it does not quite make sense.
A page here is not white, but light,
And words can be any colour.

This morning, I am in a fog.
My eyes hardly see,
I want to drift off, back to the womb-like
Warmth of bed.
I wish to eradicate me from here,
So that I am persona non grata.
A speck, a piece of dream-like existence
That swirls in the muddy ooze of tranquility.
Never to rise, to break the surface.

Instead, I am inequality,
Shaped to master my physical body.
And when I conquer, then dawn must thrust
Its way through the murk,
Find the words that feed the page.
For that is when I become Me.
Controlling my Destiny,
Manipulating my characters,
Showing them how
To tell their own story.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. March 2016.
AT LAST, you say, a piece of writing!!!

“””April has arrived, at long last.” Terrie’s statement was one of elation as she searched for the ealy blooms.

“I know what you mean, at least now the sun is shining,” replied Gina, Terrie’s half sister, the words forming slowly.

Both women had come to a halt at the mullioned window, borh gazing out at the early spring blossom on the almond trees down the pathway leading to the knot garden.

“Don’t you love the spring?” asked Terrie, turning to face Gina who was almost day-dreaming, her eyes becoming slits.

“I suppose so,” said Gina, brushing her new ‘bob’ back out of her eyes, “though summer has to be my favourite, really.”

This was the first time they had met in person. The telephone was hardly a reference point when it came to getting to know your father’s other child.

Terrie turned back to gaze at a robin that had flown up to the lowest bough and perched there, starting to sing loudly. Truly a winter bird. You hardly ever saw them in summer. They disappeared in amongst the foliage, or darted about finding food for their little ones. Occasionally, one would land on the handle of the gardener’s spade, waiting for the earth to be turned and a tasty worm to be exposed. Then it would fly down, grab the worm in its beak and disappear under the hedge. Terrie had spent many hours watching the odd robin about its business, totally transfixed.

Gina shook her head free of the vista. “So…what is the plan for today? I can unpack later.”

“Well, yes, there are plans to go over…. before we do the rounds.”


“Yes! A daily routine check that all is well. That the staff have turned up. All the lawns have been freshly cut and no litter about, of any kind. So many items have to be checked into the gift shop. This is a business. It does not run by itself, Gina. I thought you knew all this? No, never mind. I’ll rake you though it.”

Gina was staring wide-eyed at Terrie. “Am I supposed to help you run this place then?”

“Yes!” She presumed that was why Gina had driven down at the drop of the proverbial straight after the house was sold.

Shrugging her shoulders, Gina turned back to the view through the window. I …I thought it was just…..running a household. I can do that easy enough. Did that for dad. Just tell the servants what to do, make sure the parties go off O.K. A cinch!”

“Well, we sort of have to do that here, exceot that they are not serants but staff. Some are volunteers. You cannot go around bossing these lovely people, who help me so much. They are paid employees and as such, they have rights. Have to be treated kindly, or this place shuts down. We would all suffer if there was a fracais and they all walked out.”

“i’m sorry,” Gina answered softly. “I never realised how important this was to you. I suppose, it never was a part of my life so I just did not think of the consequences of getting rid of a servant, sorry, staff person.”

“Well, now perhaps you do. Yes, occasionlly you get one that…doe not quite fit and I have to let them go. It dies not happen often. Most if the people here have woked here firn years. Love the place lmist a if it were thei own. if you want to be a part of it all……..?” Terrie left the question hanging, watching her strp sister’s mind going over what they had just spoken about.

Gina’s mind was in a mini turmoil. She had said she would help without realising what it involved. But, with her father gone, the money all eaten up with taxes that had to be paid, lawyers fees and everything else, and with no job that she could do on the horizon, this was about all she seemed fit for. She made her mind up. “Yes, Terrie, I would like to try. I really would.” Moisture formed in the corners of her eyes. Trying to blink it back, she turned her head away. The robin landed on the branch again. Such a bright little bird.

Terrie saw the tears forming, moved close to Gina and put her arms around this waif of a woman. It would be hard for Gina to adapt, she knew it, but having dealt with many a new young employee often enough, she had the strength and the kindness to help her though this harrowing time. After all, it might be Gina’s father, but it was her father too, though he had left her and her mother a long time ago. In fact, she barely remembered what he looked like, so there was no way of telling if Gina looked anything like him, or whether he took after her mother. And Terrie had never even seen a picture of her mother.

After the divorce, her own mother kept clear of anything to do with her father, to the extent of checking newsoapers and magazines. If there were pictures, she cut them out before Terrie was allowed to look at them. This was how acrimonious the whole divorce turned out. Her father’s name was never mentioned in the house again. It was only after her mother died that Terrie began to see stories about her father, his lifestyle, his family. She had felt cut off from her heritage which is why, when she heard of hus demise, she tried making contact. And here was his offspring, in the flesh and obviously, in need of support. Out of her depth and into Terrie’s pond. **********


‘Oh to be in England, now that April’s there’. Famous quote, I make no bones about using it, for April should be the start of spring. Enjoy your spring or autumn, if it is that for you (or anything inbetween). Be happy and be safe.


This entry was posted on April 1, 2016. 1 Comment