"Tell you what I like the best --
'Long about knee-deep in June,
'Bout the time strawberries melts
On the vine, -- some afternoon
Like to jes' git out and rest,
And not work at nothin' else!"
- James Witcomb Riley, Knee Deep in June~
With balmy temperatures reaching 20C and intermittent rain, everything in the garden just went whoosh. Everything was so green and lush and overgrown. Bright colours bloomed and sprouted from every nook and cranny, nature seeking a toehold in every opportunity which presents itself. I’d to keep up with the mowing, hoeing, weeding, dead-heading, watering. I’ve already harvested the rewards of my labour. For the past 2 weeks, I’ve picked spinach, chard, lettuce, chives and rocket daily to put in my sandwiches and salads. Nothing taste as delicious as something which you have grown yourself. I’m still waiting for the artichokes, tomatoes, sweet corn, curly kale, courgettes, figs, blueberries, leeks, broad and dwarf beans. I have never eaten artichokes before and looking forward to try them out.
“He who plants a garden plants happiness “
June was the month of the red rose. The red rose was the symbol of love. The roses in the garden have begun to unfold their tender velvet hearted blossoms. They were looking very lush at the moment … with beautiful big blooms and lots of buds filled with promises to come. They lifted their pretty heads and entwined the arch. By next year, it might cover the structure. I couldn’t wait. Oh how wonderful it will be when they cover the whole arch and we can walk through a golden tunnel, very pretty and fragrant. And the aroma???
“Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.”
~Richard Brinsley Sheridan~
We started the week with the Warwick Students Art Festival, one of the largest student run arts festival in Europe. An exciting assortment of events was laid out during the 4 days extravanga where spectators were entertained, enthralled and amazed by what they could experience. The festival aimed to showcase the depth and breadth of talent within the arts here in Warwick University. From Street-dance to Symphonies and Salsa to Sonnets, there was something for everyone to enjoy. It was a coup that the first day of the festival coincided with the Undergraduate Open Day. A wonderful way to show prospective parents and students about extra-curricular activities the University offers.
During my lunch break, I joined the hundreds in the Piazza for a mind-blowing performance from the Warwick World Music Group, a unique fusion music group. I am a great fan of world music which was a musical category encompassing many different styles of music from around the world, including traditional music, quasi-traditional music, and music where more than one cultural tradition intermingle. On the Big Screen, Andy Murray was on centre court playing against Benjamin Becker of Germany. There was so much to see and the weather was just fantastic. The next day, SLA joined me at the Piazza for another performance from the Drumming Society. It was much cooler than yesterday but we still had a wonderful time being entertained by 2 wonderful drummers while having our lunch. On the Big Screen, Novak Djokovic was on centre court playing against Frederick Mayer of Germany. It was tough to drag our feet back to work. In the evening, as I waited for the bus, the Wind Orchestra Small Bands took their turn on stage. Staff and students were slowly gathering around the Piazza, bathed in the glorious evening sun. What a lovely way to unwind after a hard day at work.
This week was Nisfu Sya’ban or the Ides of Sya’ban, the 15th day of the 8th month (Sha’ban) of the Islamic lunar calendar. It was a clear indicator that the blessed month of Ramadan was around the corner and we should start preparing for it. During this month, Muslims were encouraged to perform special prayers in the hopes of obtaining blessings and forgiveness from Allah (SWT) and to fast. On the evening, it was a common practice to recite the Surah Yassin after the Maghrib prayers, followed by special doa or prayers. One of the historical event during this month was the event in which the ‘kiblat’ was moved from Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to the Ka’abah in Mecca. May the coming days witness a positive change in our community, and ourselves. Amen.
Our resident hedgehog had been coming regularly into the garden. I always leave the porch door open until it was time for me to go to bed. I could hear him scultering and shuffling around the garden, sometimes snorting as it foraged about. A ‘gardener’s friend’, he eats slugs, beetles, caterpillars etc and he was just adorable to have around. He was free to roam about and he has a huge stack of leaves and branches at the bottom of the garden to call home.
Hedgehogs were in serious decline. Their numbers had been freefalling for some time and the latest reports painted a very depressing picture for our iconic and only native spiny mammal. Please don’t let the hedgehog go the way of other wildlife, animals and birds that were once common and now a rare sighting. It wasn’t going to be the government or large organisation initiatives. It was going to be up to us, the ‘little people’, the thousands of garden ‘land owners’ that by making small changes, we can made a difference for this truly lovely mammal.
“I am in luv wid a hedgehog
I've never felt this way before
I have luv fe dis hedgehog
An everyday I luv her more an more,
She lives by de shed
Where weeds and roses bed
An I just want de world to know
She makes me glow.
I am in luv wid a hedgehog
She's making me hair stand on edge,
So in luv wid dis hedgehog
An her friends
Who all live in de hedge
She visits me late
An eats off Danny's plate
But Danny's a cool tabby cat
He leaves it at dat.
I am in luv wid a hedgehog,
She's gone away so I must wait
But I do miss my hedgehog
Everytime she goes to hibernate.”
~Benjamin Zephaniah, Luv Song~
My colleagues and I sat down for another departmental meeting. AM baked brownies and CC made florentines to wake us through the afternoon. It was greatly appreciated. ST was invited to talk about the redesign of the library website which received a lot of queries from GLW regarding the ‘Search’ button. Thanks ST for keeping us informed on what was going on. SH then updated us on the Competency Framework, Service Review, Digital Preservation Officer post, Reclassification project and the coming CIG-RDA pop-up show. Then the other team members turn. SLA on ResearchMatch, GLW on WorldShare, JG on ContentDM and CC on Get Started and Go Further. Well done to the team for working on such an impressive projects.
We’d another party this week. This time to say goodbye and good luck to LF who was retiring after 24 years of service. Wow…We were going to miss her very much. I got to know her very well because we were members of the Library Working Group for International Students. The party room was decorated with balloons, banners and streamers. And the table, not one but 2 groaning with scrumptious food, mostly home-baked. It was yummy. We’d a lovely time polishing them. We wish you the best LF.
The bird-feeder was busy as usual. Our feathered birds reward us with songs and photographic opportunities. We loved to watch them as they flit back and forth from the hedges to the feeders. The Starlings were cheeky, bossy and bold while the House Sparrows simply hang back. The Wood Pigeons and Collared Doves would wait patiently by the fence. The Magpies would look on from the top of the Elderflower tree. Dunnocks, Robins and Blackbirds would be on the ground, waiting for fallen scraps. The Blue and Great Tits would fly in and out, snatching bits here and there. Just like humans, they come in different shapes, sizes and personalities.
“Hear how the bids, on ev’ry blooming spray
With joyous musick wake the dawning day”
We ended glorious June with a trip to our favourite playground on the hottest day of the year so far. Britain basked in the warmest day of the year with temperatures reaching 27C. It was so hot that the natives were taking cover in the shade. They must think that we were loco to be out and about. A handsome, bright Bullfinch was feeding at the bird-feeder beside the visitor centre. Common Spotted Orchids were sprouting along the swampy areas by the entrance. We spotted this Swallow taking a breather from the heat under the eaves. We walked through the woods to keep cool. The footpath was covered with nettles because quite a few trees had been cut down. Sunshine had reached the undergrowth. It was very quiet as we made our way through the thick undergrowth. We went straight to Steely Hide because the Kingfishers had been seen flying in and fishing here. We stayed for about 2 hours but they forgot to turn up.We were still entertained by a Coot ferrying reeds for nesting. It must be for a 2nd or perhaps 3rd brood because we’d seen another parent chasing off a juvenile away. A pair of Whitethroat was flirting about hunting for food. A tern came flying in and out, fishing furiously. We saw plenty of fishes swimming lazily in the pool. A Blue Dragonfly was busy patrolling the pool. A Sparrow-hawk flew onto a nearby tree but didn’t stay long. We left as the hide became a heated tin can. The hide, too, was beginning to fill up. Along the path, Yellow irises were beginning to bloom, adding colour to the green and lush surroundings. We spotted Chris trying to photograph a Comma and joined him. He told us about his trip to Pembrokeshire, especially to Skomer. I’m soo jealous. We didn’t stay long as the midges were beginning to eat us alive!! When we left the reserve, a Pied wagtail flew onto the visitor centre’s roof and chirped good-bye.
“Sweetest daughter of the year
Smiling June, I hail thee here.
hail thee with thy skies of blue,
Days of sunshine, nights of dew.
Hail thee with thy songs and flowers,
Balmy air, and leafy bowers,
Bright and fragrant, fresh and clear,
Smiling June, I hail thee here”
~Henry Francis Lyte~