Stella’s May

Button to chin till May be in,
Cast not a clout till May be out.
[Best wait!]

If you change in June you change too soon,
Change in July? You’ll catch cold bye and bye.
Change in August if you must,
But be sure to remember, change back in September!

The ancient sages were nothing if not pessimistic, and who can blame them, the weather lately has change from one hour to another!

One saying I have found, as I said earlier, very reliable So many fogs in March, so many frosts in May. So watch out, for March has had many mists and fogs, some in the first weeks when Buchan has a cold spell: 9 – 14th May.

On a cheerful note – When Mulberry tree begins to shoot, the last frost has gone. Have you a mulberry tree?
(There are Mulberry trees in the gardens of Grimsthorpe Castle – Ed)

May, the month of flowers – yellow buttercups, cowslips, dandelions, laburnum, blue speedwell, ground ivy, bluebells, dog violets. The horse chestnut pyramids of bloom, may blossom, apple and cherry blossom, mountain ash, lilac all scent the air.

The second Sunday was Chestnut Sunday when the horse chestnut trees were in bloom. This was celebrated by the Quakers in memory of the Pilgrim Fathers. In Lincolnshire, we have Tulip Sunday and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is 24th – 28th May.

I miss my walks in the woods and fields but it is amazing what you can see from the kitchen window. My long garden is full of wild life occasionally disturbed by cats or my dog, but the birds seem to understand the dog will not hurt them and ignore her completely, feeding within feet of her.

I have a flock of sparrows – about twenty which swoop in twice a day for food, they love sunflower hearts. This morning, I watched a tiny mouse which came to feed under the feeder.

Later, what I thought was a mouse turned out to be a wren amidst the snowdrops in the border. I am sure we have far more wrens in our gardens than we ever see.

If I am late feeding the birds, a robin comes to the window to remind me! It sits on the dustbin under the window looking in!

I have a pair of robins although I cannot tell the male from the female as their plumage is the same. Sometimes they come together to feed. One morning she fluffed out her feathers whilst he serenaded her. His head was held back, all his feathers were flattened and his tail elevated so that the tip pointed forward.

He sang and sang, swaying to and fro. His audience stood motionless and watched. Then he fed her with some mealworms from the feeder.

Robins do nest each year in my garden. The maximum recorded lifespan of the robin in the wild is eleven years, so although few achieve anything like that, I hope “my” robins will be around for a few more years.

Blackbirds also nest in my garden only yards away from my window in a jasmine shrub on a wall.

What a dull world it would be without our birds and their songs.

This is the weather the cuckoo likes,
And so do I!
When showers betumble the chestnut spikes
And nestlings fly
Thomas Hardy

May 2nd and 30th are the two Bank Holidays this month, so I hope the weather is kind especially then.

We have a new moon on the 6th and a full moon on the 21st May. May 5th is Ascension Day and May 15th is Whit Sunday or Pentecost. Trinity Sunday follows on May 22nd.

Gardens now demand our time and lawns require regular mowing. How good it is to be out and active, but also to find time to sit in the peaceful surroundings of nature and relax.

When did you first see this year swallows, swifts, house martins or butterflies or hear the cuckoo??

Stella’s April

April with its sunshine and showers
Gives us rainbows and many wild flowers.

This morning early the house was lit up by the beautiful red eastern sky, but not a good sign, for rain was sure to follow – and it did.

Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight,
Red sky at morning, shepherd’s warning.

The Bible version, St. Matthew chapter sixteen – When it is evening, you say “it will be fine weather, for the sky is red.” And in the morning “it will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.

‘Rain before seven, stop before eleven.’
‘April weather, rain and sunshine together.’

Sometimes a prolonged winter seems to turn into summer overnight – ‘When winter meets summer it foretells a hot, dry summer.’ ‘The weather in the second half of April foretells the summer.’

Flowers on some trees often go unnoticed, but the flowers on the blackthorn which dominates April, tiny white flowers, cover the hedges like snow. Later they are scattered like confetti in the grass below.

If it blossoms before the leaves appear it will be bitterly cold, possibly with snow – Yes, SNOW! But whenever it flowers expect a cold spell – Blackthorn Winter.

Alexander Buchan forecasts a cold spell
11th – 14th April.

Bluebells are at their peak by the end of April in most regions. A member of the lily family, they are sometimes called wild hyacinths. Enjoy them while you can and reflect on the fact that the sight is unique to the British Isles.

Nowhere else do they form such bold swathes of misty blue, the long dangling bells are a bright, shiny blue.

When they are all in bloom, the trees will look for a few weeks as if they are growing out of blue lakes. Bluebells are found on railway embankments, under hedges and on patches of waste ground – usually where these places were once woodland.

Spanish bluebells, which are a different species, have been introduced in this country and in many places now grow wild. They have more violet-coloured flowers and a straight stalk.

They also cross easily with our native bluebells and gardeners are being discouraged from planting Spanish bluebells. We want to keep our own distinct flower.

There is so much to see and hear in April.

Look out for the first swallow – it is said to be good news if you see one before April 16th. Aristotle said “One swallow does not make a spring, nor does one fine day” but both are very welcome.

The house martin too returns to our villages, the nightingale to woodlands and the cuckoo to fields and woods. More colour is added to our gardens by the butterflies – the orange tip is a common April butterfly.

The bumble bees are also very active collecting nectar and pollen from spring flowers. They are all queens at this time of the year and rear their first broods in their nests underground.

We have a New Moon 7th April and a Full Moon 22nd April.

April 23rd is St. George’s Day and William Shakespeare’s birthday. St. George is the patron saint of England – so often forgotten unlike St. Andrew, St. Patrick and St. David, patron saints of Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

April 21st is the 90th birthday of our Queen;
April 21st – 24th is the Harrogate Spring Flower Show and April 24th is the London Marathon.

Peter Harrison R.I.P. once sent me this poem he called ‘Spring’ to cheer us up:

An April sky o’er violets blue,
Bright kingcups of a golden hue,
Shining beside a shady brook,
That murmurs through a mossy nook.

A hedge pale green with budding may,
A willow wren, who at his play
Takes music from the joyful stream
To put to song a fairy’s dream.

A curlew’s cry at early dawn,

A blackbird on a dewy lawn,
The speckled jewels in a thrush’s nest,
The fresh spring breeze that blows from the west,
Oh the beauty and joy of the world at its best.

Brazil and Other Stories

Willoughby Memorial Trust Gallery

23rd March to 20th April

‘Brazil and other Stories’
Paintings by Keith Andreetti

Keith’s Artist Statement

“I started painting five years ago just before I retired, but I have always had pictures in my head. I tend to think in stories and the paintings are really scenes from those films running in my brain.

I often wish that the world could be a bit more brightly coloured so I try to help it along. When I was a boy ‘Brazil’ always conjured up the technicolour jungles of my dreams.

Since I met Teresa I have visited her country several times and it is not all quite like that! Still my Brazil is full of macaws and jaguars and even in England the animals can mostly talk.”

From Easter to November, the gallery is open every day (except Mondays) from 12-5 p.m., but will be open on Easter Monday and Bank Holiday Mondays.

Stella’s March

March Many Weathers

January brings the snow – well it did!
February brings the rain – will it?
March brings breezes loud and shrill,
Shakes the dancing daffodil.

When March comes in like a lion,
it goes out like a lamb.

This is probably the most well-known weather saying, and when March does arrive with roaring winds, how we look forward to a mild departure!

March is still Winter until the 20th, the Spring Equinox which is also Palm Sunday, reminding us that Easter Sunday is only one week away on March 27th. The weather in March does influence the coming months as many sayings tell.

March winds and April showers
Bring forth the May flowers.

Fogs in March – Frosts in May.

The fogs and mists in March come with the east wind blowing off the North Sea. Once the wind gets easterly in March it often stays there until May when it brings frosts. This saying is very reliable I have found.

Summer Time, when we put our clocks forward one hour, is also on Easter Sunday, 27th.

In our mild autumn last year we saw daffodils, daisies, snowdrops and other flowers including geraniums and various garden flowers.

March really does welcome the flowers – pansies, snowdrops, aconites, crocus, daffodils, primroses, violets and wood anemones or ‘wind flowers’ – delicate white flowers hanging from dainty stalks, closing their petals at sunset.

On the hedgerows the white flowers of blackthorn look like snow, but the gardens are bright with yellow forsythia, mahonia and purple-red daphne.

The birds are searching for nesting sites, and while the redwings, fieldfares, and snipe begin their journeys northwards, the wheatear and chiffchaff return to our downs and woodlands.

Our faithful friends are getting their bright spring plumage. Once extinct in England, red kite were released in the Midlands in 1995.


Now they are a common sight over our villages. As they feed on carrion they are not a threat to game birds. These beautiful birds with red forked tails are easily recognised as they hover over the countryside.

Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed
The speculating rooks at their nests cawed.
And from the elm-tops, delicate as flower of grass,
What we below could not see, Winter pass.
Edward Thomas

If you want a short-term weather forecaster look for the mole. When it starts to be active and you see fresh molehills, then you can expect a week or so of warmer weather.

Field mice scurrying about, on the other hand, are a sign of bad weather to come; they are storing food.

March tends to be one of our driest months and we remember

A peck of dust in March is worth a king’s ransom.

March has several special days starting with St. David’s Day, March 1st, celebrated by the Welsh. March 6th is Mother’s Day, a day that certainly should not be forgotten. March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day, said to bring warmer weather and many Irishmen wear a bunch of shamrock in their buttonholes in honour of their patron saint, Patrick.

If March comes in all stormy and black
She carries the winter away on her back.

Well, we must wait and see, for this is not always true!

Frogs and toads have made their journeys to the ponds of their choice, to leave their jelly coated egg-spawn. The bats, hedgehogs and the rare dormice are still fast asleep and will not wake until the end of the month, or the beginning of April.

And the spring arose in the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

                                                P.S. Shelley

Stella’s 2016: February

February Filldyke, be it black or be it white;
But if it be white, ’tis better to like.

Writing this in December, I keep thinking ‘Where is Winter?’ Record temperatures over December and Christmas have extended Autumn. Winter officially starts 22 December.

February was the time when farmers cleaned out ditches and dykes ready for the inevitable rain – or snow. Many people in the north of England have been flooded so many times this Christmas, suffering greatly from the terrible damage – we feel for them.

Continue reading “Stella’s 2016: February”

Corby Glen Youth Club: January 2016

It was lovely to see so many young people back after the Christmas break. We are busier than ever with 15-20 children attending each session.

We are open 7-9 pm Friday evenings at the Church Street Rooms, for children aged 10 years and above. (We are closed the last Friday of each month.) Entry £2, refreshments available.

Can you help us?

Do you have a games console or a computer that you would like to donate or sell to this very worthwhile cause? Also, any unwanted games for the Wii (age appropriate), please?

If you have any ideas for fund raising, we would love to hear from you. We are also looking for local businesses to sponsor t-shirts and a banner for the Youth Club. Please get in touch if you are interested.

If you can help, please contact Sam on 07967 098019.

Sam, Lou and Ann

An Evening of Music from Smuggler Jack

To help raise funds for the Mangochi Community Initiative for Self Reliance (see below), on Saturday 27th February in Swayfield Village Hall at 7.30pm we have an evening of great music from Smuggler Jack (Father Andy Hawes’ group), a raffle, refreshments and a cash bar.

Tickets priced £10 are available from Jenny Geeson on Swayfield 0371.

Continue reading “An Evening of Music from Smuggler Jack”

Corby Glen Christmas Tree Fund: January News

We would like to thank everyone who has supported the Christmas Tree Fund in 2015. We had a great year of fundraising events, and The Big Lunch, Sheep Fair, Christmas Fair, Christmas Party, Rounders Day, Wrapping and Packing Night and Christmas Eve. We were lucky enough to have fantastic support from local businesses and residents who’ve helped us raise an amazing £3,000 this year.

Without the great work of the committee, local businesses and volunteers, which is growing into a fantastic team, we wouldn’t have been able to put on such a magical Christmas Eve and Christmas Party for all the children, so Thank You. This year we had an incredible 140 presents to hand out and 50 hampers to deliver. Great achievements for the volunteers that made this happen.

Thank you for the lovely letters we’ve had about the hampers; thanks to the playgroup, kidz club and parents – the children did a fantastic job of decorating the boxes this year.

Let’s hope 2016 is just as successful for the Christmas Tree Fund. If you would like to join us, have any ideas or feedback then we would love to hear from you.

Once again thank you for all your support in 2015 – let’s see what 2016 has in stall for us! Watch out on all the boards, facebook, the Link and posters around the village for the events in 2016. We will keep you as up to date as possible.

We’ve been supporting the Parish Council in getting the funding application for the new and revamped Play Park. Both applications have been handed in – now it’s just a waiting game so fingers crossed!

If we get the funding, then we have to try to raise £2,000 as part of the project in getting the WREN funding. If you can help or know of any way in helping us raise this money then we would love to hear from you. This is only if we get the funding we have to raise this money and it needs to be before June 2016 in hope to have the new play park in 2016.

Please contact us about anything on Corby Glen 0690

Corby Glen Playgroup: January 2016

This term at Playgroup is quite a short one, but it does not stop the staff and children from packing in lots of learning and developing opportunities and doing fun things.

The children are practising movements and singing for the end of term production where they will be entertaining their families with the songs and rhymes that they are learning. We are looking at and learning both new and traditional songs and rhymes. The Playgroup will also be holding a cake raffle on the day of the production.

We have welcomed in some new children to Playgroup and they are starting to settle in, make friends and have fun, and it’s lovely to have the new children in this setting.

If you would like any information about the Playgroup, please don’t hesitate to come up and see us.

Also if you would like to join the committee please drop us an email on