Blackthorn Time

We woke this morning to frost on the kitchen extension roof and ice on the water features. The day continued cold and overcast with a top temperature of 7C.

The quotation from Christina Rossetti’s ‘Spring’ given by Libre Paley in

sent me to reread the work in

my copy of her poems illustrated by Florence Harrison, published by Blackie and Son 1n 1910, with an introduction by Alice Meynell. Many of the entries are illustrated with full page tipped in colour plates protected by tissue sheets. Others, like ‘Spring’ are topped and tailed by line drawing vignettes.

This gave me the idea of intermittently adding an example to my normal posts, beginning with this one. Thank you for the inspiration, Libre.

A little later, Francesca, from Kitchen Makers, visited to measure and advise on our potential next house refurbishment projects.

After lunch we visited the Pharmacy at Milford on Sea, and went on for a drive.

Pennington Church has a bright crocheted banner along its front hedge.

A fallen tree lies in the stream that reflects branches still intact overhead and is crossed by the Boldre end of Church Lane. I stood on the bridge and photographed some of the

creamy blackthorn froth that currently lathers the spring hedgerows.

A pair of bay ponies slaked their thirst and satisfied their hunger on the edge of the lake on Jordan’s Lane, adding their reflections to those of the surrounding trees and the nearby buildings. The dominant member of the partnership tossed her head and sprayed water in the direction of her companion, as if to say “keep off my gazpacho”.

This evening we dined on oven battered haddock and chips, garden peas, pickled onions, and gherkins, with which we both drank Conch y Toro Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc 2020.


  1. Thank you for the reference to such a beautiful poem, Derrick… So apt, and magically written – I will also have to look up Christina Rossetti’s work!
    Your header image of the Blackthorn froth is equally lovely.
    Where does time go?! Oh, to be a beautiful New Forest pony, splashing in the puddles, quickly checking ones reflection, then posing for photos, posted to the many admirers, all around the world!

  2. The poem reminded me of a line from Samuel Beckett. I would not have associated the two. I think I have been seeing blackthorn blossom here but am not confident to identify them. I have really wished I knew more about hedgerow trees (and trees in general) during lockdown when they have been almost like companions and am determined to learn more this year.

  3. What a beautiful array of photographs. The blackthorn blossoms look very pretty indeed and I enjoyed Christina Rossetti’s poem very much.

  4. So many beautiful lines in Christina Rossetti’s work, and this poem in particular. Thanks for sharing. Such beautiful photos, too. That “blackthorn froth” is lovely, and I love the reflections and the ponies with their gazpacho.

  5. The blackthorn is looking good this year. Ours is finally getting into full swing and it really does cheer the place up. Poetry too – yuo spoil us! πŸ™‚

  6. Good to see you communing with nature and nature communing back.
    Ha, on the last photo! That pony is saying, “Not sharing today!” πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€
    I’ve always enjoyed Christina Rossetti’s writings! A joy to reread her Spring here today!
    Your photos from the bridge are beautiful! And your reflection photos always bring great joy! πŸ™‚
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚
    PS…for us tonight ’twas a pot of pinto beans, ham, green chilis, onion, and spices! πŸ™‚

  7. These crochet people never stop working.

    A very good selection of pictures today. The gazpacho remark gets ten out of ten for effort. πŸ™‚

  8. The blackthorn in your header is so beautiful! You’re so fortunate to have a 1910 edition of Christina Rosetti’s poetry. In addition to the poetry, the Art Nouveau illustrations must be a delight. (I’m very partial to Art Nouveau.)

      1. I’m reading Walt Whitman’s poetry book β€œLeaves of Grass” at the moment, no illustrations but truly some fascinating writings. .. I think I’ll do an article soon, ?

  9. Derrick, what a gorgeous poetry book! So lovely. FROST?! Good grief. That does not sound good, but it does sound like my memories of Michigan :).

      1. So true! Even with climate change, Maine gets very cold in the winter. I have a question about Jackie’s owls. Does she bring them in for the winter? Or do they stay outside?

  10. I love the illustrations of Florence Harrison. That mural at the church looks like it took considerable work. The ponies at the lake seemed to enjoy the water – must be something especially good in there.

  11. the blackthorn blossoms are beautiful! i saved the poem (cut and paste) as it is late my time. i will read it tomorrow which i’m sure i will enjoy. thanks for sharing, Derrick πŸ™‚

  12. I had never heard of blackthorn, and don’t really care to make its aquaintance after reading this ” A piece of blackthorn burying itself under the skin might cause severe infection, blood poisoning, swelling and pain. If left too long before treatment, amputation might be the result. Blackthorns are covered in unpleasant bacteria.”

    Sorry, but my mind works in mysterious ways some days. Who was the one who battered that poor innocent fish? πŸ™‚

    1. That will make me rather more careful with blackthorn. I hoped someone might run with ‘battered’ – thanks for not disappointing, Yvonne. πŸ™‚

  13. I do hope that the church will keep their knitted Jesus safe on his donkey for ever and ever. It deserves to be resurrected every spring and put in place on the evergreen hedge. Two wonderful creations!!

  14. Christina Rossetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter” may be my favorite poem-turned-hymn, but I’ve not explored her work much beyond that. This is a clear invitation to do so — many thanks!

  15. Your pony shots at the lake are magnificent – number three is another that deserves the honour of a replication in oils.

  16. What a beautiful book. The illustrations go so well with the images of spring, even the light rain – and especially the delicate blossom.

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