Friday 17 July 2015

Reconnecting with Plants: inspiration for Cynefin

It's taken me a few days to recover from my  field course in Shropshire on 'Using A Flora' - enjoyable though it was, it was very intensive and  the bunk bed was not conducive to a good nights sleep. 

 I travelled up a day  early , staying overnight at the Premier Inn to avoid having to travel across London during the tube strike  so  I had a free day in Shrewsbury to  wander around and take a very leisurely boat cruise  on the River Severn( even the joggers went faster!)
 As I'd been in a bit of a rush leaving, I'd  had no time to  pick up my current stitching project - perfect excuse to visit Watson and Thornton, an absolute gem of a fabric shop.  Besides some muslin for my  'eco dyeing' course at FoQ in a few weeks, I got some lovely cream boiled wool fabric perfect for hand stitching a journal quilt  inspired by CQ Summer School - they even cut  a piece to size  off  the metre I'd bought.   Although I didn't get a chance to do any sewing until the train journey home.
 The course  was a mixture of classroom  tuition and exercises , putting it all into practice in 3 trips out to various   nature reserves in the area. Some of it was revision but a lot of it was new to me   ( like the differences in structures  between daisies, dandelions and thistles, below) and I feel far more confident using  the 'Stace' I  received as a leaving present, thanks to tutor Mark.
 The first site  at Colemere, I was very hot and bothered despite retreating to the woods  but it was pleasanter at Snailbeach  ( below) before  it started to drizzle and we headed back for cake.
This photo I have in mind  as the basis for my first Cwilt Cymru  ' Cynefin' piece  on being back in my habitat among grasslands - it was awash with the white of  ox-eye daisies and the purple of knapweed ( the photo at the top of  this post  with burnet moth was taken there)
But  my favourite by far was the final site on Sunday at Llanymynech. Half in Shropshire, half in Montgomeryshire, Wales, apart from the spectacular cliff faces, the variety of limestone plants  was just magic.

 I wonder about incorporating the shapes of these metal figures of miners  into my Cynefin piece?

There were large stands of Pyramidal, Common spotted and Fragrant orchids as well as the odd bee orchid in the longer grass and then spent a couple of  hours on the bench overlooking the panoramic view , keying out milkwort (a favourite from my survey days and one I spotted on Portland) ) and rockrose. 

 However  when it  came to the 2 hour test , part of the assessment  to gain credits for  University Certificate, I had a panic attack, not allowing enough time to  complete it properly. I also realised when I got home that I would be very hard pushed to  complete the 2nd assignment  in time ( collecting and identifying 10 plants and constructing dichotomous  key).
The combination of selling  our house, coming to terms with redundancy from Kew and  flare-up of arthritis  is taking its toll  in terms of stress levels  and being unable to give the time  and commitment  needed to complete assignments, I made the difficult decision to withdraw from the UCert  course.  Everyone concerned was very understanding.
Next year  once we've moved  I still intend to do some more field courses to add to my botanical knowledge/experience but without the  stress of exams and assignments.

1 comment:

Maggi said...

Some of those places look idyllic. I'm glad that you've made the decision to reduce the stress that you are under at the moment. There will be time later.