Monday, 10 September 2012


Some time ago now, Tim wrote a post called by the same name, detailing what had influenced his love of Nature.

In a knock-on-effect sort of way he has influenced me to look back at what started my interest in all things flora and fauna.

The answer is that several factors combined to create a perfect breeding ground for this interest. My mother was a keen gardener and involved me from an early age.

Then there was Auntie Elsie and Uncle Hedley who had a wonderful garden at their house on Bowgreave, Garstang. It was fully of poppies - the yellow and orange Welsh variety - and running up the front drive was a rockery made of limestone. I was fascinated by the aubretia and other alpines which tumbled over the rocks - and by the rocks themselves. Every crevice held some delight for me to explore. I have just viewed the house on Google Streetview and sadly the rockery is no more; it has given way to the ubiquitous block paving.

And now for a success story. When I was about four years old, mum, Auntie Elsie, my sister Catherine and I spent some time down in Fairbourne on the Mawddach Estuary. Mum's older sister, Hilda and her husband Ernest had run a general store there until their deaths and we were there in order to sell the business and house. This opened up a whole new world to me; one which encompassed both the seashore and the mountains. The house was called the Gunyah, which I was told meant 'song of the birds'. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong on this one but it was over 50 years ago!!

Whilst there, an elderly lady called Miss Martin gave me a poetry book called "Rainbow Houses" by A. Vine Hall, which was full of colour plates of insects and birds by E.J. Detmoldand and I loved it. Somehow, somewhere along the way it disappeared. My searches have been in vain. However, such are the wonders of the internet that I now have on order my very own copy of the book. 

How I look forward to pouring over the colour plates which inspired and influenced me all those years ago! And thank you to mum and Auntie Elsie for the part you played in a life long love affair with plants and beasties. It's been amazing!


Diane said...

Enjoyed this post and learning more about you. I have just found a copy of the book for sale in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa :-) Have a good week Diane

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Thanks, Diane. The book arrived this afternoon. It was a real trip down memory lane and very indulgent of me!

Tim said...

That is very interesting... the illustrations in my Fabre book are by Detmold too! And what on earth is wrong with being a bit self indulgent from time to time!!? Enjoy it!

Lady Justine said...

I love old colour plates of flora and fauna... it must be great to find a copy of a book that was such a treasure too. I'd love to see some photographs!

GaynorB said...

Hi Elizabeth,

These experiences and influences are important to us, and make us the person/people we are today. I have some of your artwork to admire. Enjoy your trip down memory lane.