Wednesday 29 September 2021

The Art of Slowing Down


Autumn is the season when nature slows down. Flowers set seed and leaves turn brown. Our bodies also react to the seasonal rhythms of shorter days and longer nights (even if our minds often don't). So, slow down with Ishbel, Jack the Navigator Hound, and I, as we take a leisurely trip along the Lancaster Canal. Drifting along at a sedate four miles per hour, a family of Mute Swans, like the Moorhens, Mallards and a young Grey Heron, are totally undisturbed by our presence. Peter and Ian take it in turns to pilot The Waterwitch and tell us the story of the canal which, at one time, was used to transport gunpowder from the nearby mills.

After an hour's pleasant meanderings, we disembark and a local guide, David, takes us on a walk along the next part of the canal to be restored. As David details the massive obstacles to be overcome, I get sidetracked by the plethora of insect life in the rampant undergrowth. A Noon Fly sunbathing on a leaf, a pair of Nettle-tap moths (their caterpillars feed on nettles) pollinating an Ox-eye Daisy and a Common Darter Dragonfly patrolling one of the larger pools.

Minibeasts tend to get scarcer as the season wears on but you don't have to look very far for them. I have quite a collection of aphids and midges in odd corners of the mill, which are kept in check by spiders such as this Lace-web. The only trouble is, as their name suggests, they make lacy webs, which are pretty unsightly, especially when dotted with odd bits of insect such as wings, legs and other items of exoskeleton. Not wishing to rename the Old Corn Mill 'Cobweb Cottage' I gave them all the old heave-ho a few days ago and removed the webs and spiders. I now have more happy midges than I can shake a stick at. Come back spiders, all is forgiven!

The Good, The Bad and the Edible

Walking back along the towpath for the return journey, the ivy is coming into flower. This is a plant of immense importance to our declining insect population (so please don't cut it back while it's flowering). Because it flowers so late in the year, it provides a lifeline of nectar.  It is, however, mildly poisonous and comes under the inedible category. That having been said, our ancestors used to chew the leaves as an expectorant.  They obviously knew a thing or two as nowadays extracts of Ivy are incorporated into modern cough medicines. 

On a definitely consumable note, Elderberries are now in season and, here at the Old Corn Mill, I shall be spending a pleasant afternoon in the kitchen making elderberry wine.

Until next week

All the best,


Steve's Books

Chubby's Crematorium & Burger Bar

A book of humorous poems to cheer, amuse and entertain your friends with.

The Quick Guide to Creepy-Crawlies

All you need to know to identify any type of insect, spider, worm or snail very simply and find out more about it.

Yvonne: This was a gift for a family so that the children can understand what they see on days out. The second was for me. Logical and easy to use. If you know anyone who likes nature you can be confident that gifting this book will give years of pleasure.

The Eggs of Saramova

A science fiction novella for those who don't like science fiction. A fast-paced thriller that is, literally, out of this world (and it starts right here in Crete).

Too new for reviews yet!

Not Just For Twisted Women by Steve Daniels 

A light-hearted look at life through the eyes of the fairer sex.

Janet: If you are short on time but enjoy reading and are maybe not into long extended novels then Not Just For... Twisted Women provides readers with concise stories that stand alone and most certainly entertain with their ultimate twists. Loved it.

Helen: A very good read! Well written and entertaining!

Margaret: Each quick tale gives a glimpse into a character's life and has an often humorous twist at the end. I would love to read more.

Yvonne: These days many people find it hard to find the time to read a novel, so this book of short stories is ideal to dip into. It is also makes a good gift.


  1. I love that you are so busy and the blog is back, especially as your happiness shines through. X

  2. Thank you, Yvonne. Life has been good to me, once again.


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