A sceptic's take on being human – or should that be virtuous?
Below this, at the bottom there are three photos of orchids we found today at Whitefield and one of them is in the wider view above. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, as we approach the summer solstice we’re often awake really early, and so we do as much as we can on the allotment before breakfast and the we have the rest of the day to walk and look for wildflowers. We had spotted the Pyramidal Orchids and another one that I misidentified as Early Purple – they were Common Spotted – for which correction I’m indebted to an impulse buy on Monday when I saw the Wild Guide to orchids and decided I couldn’t live without it. It’s a brilliant guide and it’s already slapped me on the wrist a couple of times. So with those two species under our belts we went back today to see if we could find a third Orchid that we knew was there but which we’d never found. Thanks to the book I now know that they don’t flower every year which may help to explain why we haven’t found it until today. So as Madame scanned the field with binoculars and I looked at the path edges she gave a whoop and pointed to a group of Bee Orchids. Three Orchid species in a field within 100 metres of one another makes for a good morning’s plant hunting; and that’s apart from the multitude of other goodies. So without further ado .. from left to right the Pyramidal Orchid, the Bee Orchid, and the common Spotted Orchid. But which one is it in the picture at the top? Go find!
I've spent my life doing a lot of things, all of them interesting and many of them great fun.
When most people see my CV they probably think I'm making things up because it includes being a rather bad welder and engineering dogsbody, a potter, a groundsman and bus driver. I taught in a prison and in one of those ghastly old mental institutions as an art therapist and I spent ten years as a community artist. I was one of the founding members of Spike Island, which began life as Artspace Bristol. ! wrote a column for Bristol Evening Post (I got sacked three times, in which I take some pride) and I worked in local and network radio and then finally became an Anglican parish priest for 25 years, retiring at 68 when I realised that the institutional church and me were on different paths.
What interests me? It would be easier to list what doesn't, but I love cooking and baking with our home grown ingredients. I'm fascinated by botany and wildlife in general, and botanical illustration. We have a camper van that takes us to the wild places, we love walking, especially in the hills, and we take too many photographs.
But what really animates me is the question "what does it mean to be human?". I've spent my life exploring it in every possible way and the answer is ..... well, today it's sitting in the van in the rain and looking across Ramsey Sound towards Ramsey Island. But it might as easily be digging potatoes or making pickle, singing or finding an orchid or just sitting. But it sure as hell doesn't mean getting a promotion, beasting your co-workers or being obsequious to power, which ensured that my rise to greatness in the Church of England flatlined 30 years ago after about 2 days. But I'm still here and still searching for that elusive sweet spot, and I don't have to please anyone any more.
Over the last 50 or so years we've had a succession of gardens, some more like wildernesses when we were both working full-time, but now we're back in the game with our two allotments in Bath.
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