Message In A Bottle?


This morning I tidied up the Head Gardener’s Walk. It was becoming a little overgrown.

This was the result.

Apart from a brief spell of sunshine when I was carrying out this task, today was very dull and overcast. It was not the afternoon to go in search of a field of bluebells – especially as we didn’t find it.

Ballard Water Meadow 1

We understood that it was part of Ballard Water Meadow and Woodland.

So dry has been our month of April, that the streams that cross the area are all but dried up.

Conservation has been in progress for some years. A footpath, logging, and cutting back of undergrowth beside the main ditch provide evidence of industry.

A handful of small black cattle sat around chewing the cud as I left Jackie sitting on a bench and went off on a bluebell hunt. The beasts contributed plentiful pats as their contribution to the ecology.

Cow 1

The cows quietly tolerated the flies crawling around their eyes.

Dog walker, buggy, cattle

Many dog walkers availed themselves of the pet-emptying facility.


I continued in search of the elusive bluebell field, and settled for the odd clump of the English variety – not the Spanish Armada.

Reflections in lake

I reached a man-made lake with its share of water fowl and reflections of nearby buildings.

Oasis wrapper

Unfortunately there was a smattering of litter in the surrounding woodland,

Maltesers in lake

and in the lake itself.

The Maltesers container lay at the edge. A couple of bottles stood up in the water. Was there a message in this?

On my return the cattle had risen to their feet and started foraging.

This evening we dined at The Crown Inn at Everton. I chose well-filled steak and kidney pudding with carrots and swede wrapped in a cabbage leaf, chips and gravy. Jackie chose duck with noodles, stir-fry vegetables and hoisin sauce. Desserts were respectively bread and butter pudding with pomegranate seeds floating in creme Anglaise, and sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. Jackie drank draught Becks, and I began with a glass of Brown Brothers Everton Red, which was accurately described as having the flavours of the hedgerow. My second glass was the well-tried Mendoza Argentinian Malbec.


  1. I remember many years ago hiking high up into the Ureweras through virgin forest to a hidden lake. There was a coca-cola bottle floating in it. What can you say – some people are just slobs! I just read a blog post from another English blogger showing beautifully abundant bluebell carpeting – so they are out there somewhere!

  2. It is SO important to have a well-filled pie. I do believe that is a metaphor for life, too. There’s nothing worse than a concave pastry shell flopped into a thin filling.

  3. I like all the paths in your garden, Derrick. It’s nice that the Head Gardener has one named for her.
    It’s sad about the litter. We have it here, too, and of course, there is a message.
    It’s good you were aware of the cow’s contribution to the environment. 🙂

  4. Litter in Maine, too. People are messy. Sigh. But those bluebells! And dinner sounds delicious.

  5. Pollution and littering are so upsetting!
    I like malbec and Shiraz wines, but tend to like prosecco even though it is usually golden white. Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream sound scrumptious!
    I think your English clump of bluebells is just as pretty as a field of them, Derrick.

      1. It usually may be a bother for others but I feel it is only fair since many of you are such faithful commenters. It makes it a reciprocal pleasure.

  6. Ahhhhhhhhh Steak and kidney pud. The only thing my mother could cook with any success.
    My first day in London in 2005 (on my one and only visit to the old dart) was to a pub near Trafalgar Square, and what did I eat 😀
    I’d add a photo that my daughter took of me tucking in to my S&k pud, but I have no idea how to. Is that a sigh of relief?
    A message at the bottom of a bottle is something I’ve been searching for for years. I have emptied many a bottle, but so far without success, I shall keep trying however
    I much prefer pictures of the cows to the garbage!

        1. I scan the pictures, and drag them onto the desktop. On WordPress go to Media. Select ‘Add New’. Drag from desktop into the space at top of page. When it’s done you can see it below the box. Then go to ‘Library’ where you can name it. When you write the text. click the cursor on where you want the picture; click ‘Add media’. The library comes up. Click on your pic, then on insert (bottom right). Good luck

          1. That’s exactly what I do when I put pictures into my own blogs, but I don’t know how to add it into a comment on someone else’s site.
            I really don’t want to post a blog with just a picture of me stuffing steak & kidney pud, can’t think of anything worse 👿

          2. file:///C:/Users/DerrickJohn/Desktop/13237724_10207741777134482_4965733088743929339_n%20(2).jpg I cut and pasted this from my desktop. Does it work?

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