Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Notes from the Sticks: Attracted to tractors


LAST week I mentioned that there was to be a vintage tractor rally that day. I duly went along and found a delightful crowd of enthusiasts admiring the old things. There must have been 50 or more tractors and I took a few pictures.

The rally began at 10 and was led out by the organiser, Michael Fox. Here is a video:

After a circular tour they arrived back for a picnic lunch at 1pm.


Our bee orchid correspondent, Quartus, who lives on the Kent coast, has been collecting seeds from his plants, and sent me these pictures of the results of his efforts. For scale, the stems are lying on three sheets of A4.

He writes:

‘A typical orchid seed is merely the size of a speck of dust. 

To give an impression of the dimensions involved: a single capsule of the tropical American orchid Cycnoches chlorochilon produces almost four million seeds, and one gram of seeds of the southeast Asian species Aerides odorata contains 3.4million seeds. According to the literature there are orchids with even smaller seeds. Those of the New Caledonian species Anoectochilus imitans are said to be the smallest of all, measuring just 0.05 mm. At a ‘gigantic’ 6mm, the seeds of the lopsided star orchid (Epidendrum secundum) are allegedly the longest of any orchid.’

Quartus says the seeds pods divide into furled segments as they dry, and the wind carries the seeds away. Thanks to him as ever.


It’s August 1, and already the signs of autumn are there. Here are some pictures I took this week.

Rose hips:





In previous years I have seen people collecting sloes from the masses of blackthorn bushes round here but this week I could not find a single berry, so those hoping to make sloe gin may be disappointed this year. They flower very early so they may have been caught by the late frosts.


Finally, they don’t grow cereals in this area, and I haven’t seen straw bales for ages. Travelling on the train this week near Stafford I thought this was a very English scene. (Shame about the reflection but I don’t know how to avoid it.)

During this journey I spent some time at Warrington Bank Quay station where I was caused to snort by a repeated announcement asking passengers to wear a mask ‘out of respect for others’.

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Margaret Ashworth
Margaret Ashworth
Margaret Ashworth is a retired national newspaper journalist. She runs the Subbing Clinic in a hopeless attempt to keep up standards, and co-runs A & M Records where she indulges her passion for 60s pop.

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