A day in the garden, celebrating the sun. 

Another entry in my #001-#100 project, further explained on the first of the posts over here.



BLOG - Goldfinch

Having relocated my daytime workspace here at Weir HQ to the eastern wing, I now have a better view of the garden and it’s many very welcome visitors.

My favourite of these are the goldfinches that stop off (with increasingly regularity) at the haphazardly filled bird-feeders we have dotted about – quite how such an exotically coloured bird goes so relatively unnoticed by most is always a puzzle.

In this house they are very highly regarded.

So much so I dug around a bit to find out more about them, and found this on the symbolism of the goldfinch on the website of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum.

“The goldfinch that Christ holds in his left hand in Luca di Tommè’s altarpiece can be interpreted in a number of different ways
that both humanise the child and emphasise his divinity.

“More specifically, and relevant to Luca di Tommè’s times,
the goldfinch was seen as a protector against the plague. Since classical times superstition had credited a mythical bird – the charadrius – with the ability to take on the disease of any man who looked it in the eye.
A page from an early 13th century English Bestiary, shows this bird perched upon a sick man’s bed, staring directly at him. The charadrius was sometimes represented as a goldfinch. Along with his coral amulet, perhaps Christ’s finch offers the worshiper protection against the seemingly unstoppable contagion.”

So given this scientifically proven* assertion that the goldfinch is “a protector against the plague” I feel entirely justified in my deification of them.

*Yes I know, but work with me on this?

Another entry in my #001-#100 project, further explained on the first of the posts over here.



Although I’ve never been a particularly successful reader of fiction, I was desperately sad when Iain Banks died back in 2013. Partly because I was fond of his fiction, and partly because he seemed like such a decent human being – and of all the fiction of his that I have read it’s Espedair Street, his fourth novel published in 1987, that I am especially fond of.

I don’t think many aficionados of Banks’ work consider it his best, in fact it didn’t even get a mention in his obituary over in The Guardian, however it’s been a constant companion to me over the years since I first read it.

I picked up my copy of the book a few days ago in an attempt to remind myself that there are ways to divert the mind from events happening elsewhere, and was presented by these two familiar opening paragraphs, which although bleakly framed do suggest that there is always hope. 

So here’s to hope.

Another entry in my #001-#100 project, further explained on the first of the posts over here.



Train guy, one of the most joyful things on the internet. 

Another entry in my #001-#100 project, further explained on the first of the posts over here.



As mentioned yesterday I’ve been struggling to listen to music since the beginning of the happening. Thankfully there have been some exceptions to the rule.

Principal among these is Ollust, an album by Broads and Milly Hirst which was released earlier this month on the independent Humm label. As a proud citizen of Norfolk any art produced in and of the county receives a welcome here at Weir HQ, especially when it is as exceptionally good as this record.

If you need convincing start with the album’s opening track Happisburgh*, which you can listen to in full here alongside a handsome video recorded at the self-same point on the slowly eroding Norfolk coast that the the tune in question celebrates.

Properly brilliant stuff.

“One thing I can tell you about the bleak, the flat, the squally cirrus like a mind dragged above your head, is that silence doesn’t need to try too hard out here.”

*and once you have convinced yourself go and buy a copy the album here.

Another entry in my #001-#100 project, further explained on the first of the posts over here.



A quick one today, and another return to radio.

Since the beginning of the happening I’ve struggled to listen to music (not entirely sure why – I think I need the reassuring sound of voices), however radio has filled the gap left admirably.

One of radio programmes that has provided a greater deal of comfort than most (and in addition some much needed laughter) is Tom Wrigglesworth’s Hang-Ups, written by Tom, James Kettle and Miles Jupp.

It’s a piece of warm and gentle radio detailing the idiosyncrasies of Tom and his (somewhat?) fictional family, and it comes very highly recommended.

Tom Wrigglesworth’s Hang-UpsSeries #1 Episode #1 – Time to Celebrate
Tom Wrigglewsorth’s Hang-Ups / Series #2 Episode #1 – Lost and Found
Tom Wrigglewsorth’s Hang-Ups / Series #3 Episode #1 – Broadband on the Run
Tom Wrigglewsorth’s Hang-Ups / Series #4 Episode #1 – Strangers on a Train
Tom Wrigglewsorth’s Hang-Ups / Series #5 Episode #1 – Back on the Chain Gang

Another entry in my #001-#100 project, further explained on the first of the posts over here.



I’ve mentioned it before now but for those of you who don’t make a special effort to keep up to date with each and every post I publish (don’t worry I’ve got broad shoulders), I am a collector of Ladybird Books – one thousand seven hundred and thirty eight books and counting to be specific (plus a considerable amount of associated ephemera).

Of the many Ladybird books that I own one of my favourite sets (and it’s safe to say I’m probably not alone in this) is the four What to Look for titles written by E L Grant Watson and illustrated by Charles Tunnicliffe, originally published back in the early 1960s.

It’s difficult to imagine how the What to Look for series could be bettered given the pedigree of the original writer and illustrator (both of whom already got a mention in post number #006), however Ladybird are about to try by publishing a new set with a new writer and illustrator and they look really great.

I’ve no idea what the purists will think, and to be honest I haven’t seen any of the texts (by Elizabeth Jenner) yet but the illustrations by Natasha Durley are mighty handsome.

The set of four, namely What to Look for in Spring, What to Look for in Summer, What to Look for in Autumn and What to Look for in Winter were due to be published by Ladybird in May, but are definitely something to look forward to whenever they finally emerge.

Another entry in my #001-#100 project, further explained on the first of the posts over here.