Tuesday, 27 January 2009

For Blanche

It was Blanche's funeral at St Peter's today. The Rev. Gerald Harrison, in his usual gentle way, reminded us of Blanche's four-legged family - the dogs, cats and rabbits. They were family to Blanche, who used to refer to individual animals, like my dog, as this or that "little person".

I thought it was apt that, while the congregation sang "All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small", a very determined creature, almost certainly a rabbit, was trying to dig its way into or under the church; the scrabbling noises were quite loud.

It was also apt that, unbeknown to the congregation, one of the bearers who carried Blanche into the church was Ron, a retired RSPCA inspector. I think he may have met Blanche, years ago. The collection was for the RSPCA, in Blanche's memory. If you'd like to contribute, and didn't get a chance to do so at the funeral, you can send cheques to The Co-operative Funeral Service, 47 St Helen's Street, Ipswich, IP4 2JL, saying it's in memory of Blanche Seager, for the RSPCA. Otherwise, you can donate online.

Blanche will become part of St Peter's churchyard, where the rabbits, owls and other creatures will keep her company, year in, year out. The West Country poet Thomas Hardy wrote about such a place in his poem "Transformations":
Portion of this yew
Is a man my grandsire knew,
Bosomed here at its foot:
This branch may be his wife,
A ruddy human life
Now turned into a green shoot.

These grasses must be made
Of her who often prayed,
Last century, for repose;
And the fair girl long ago
Whom I often tried to know
May be entering this rose.

So, they are not underground,
But as nerves and veins abound
In the growths of upper air,
And they feel the sun and rain,
And the energy again
That made them what they were!
Our thoughts are with David, and his four-legged friends, at this sad time.

Illustration: 19th century copyright-free wood engraving

Monday, 26 January 2009

Buckle's Wood in January

It might not look like it, but this will all spring into life soon.

Click on the picture to see it large.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


We were all saddened to learn that one of the original members of our woodland group, Blanche Seager, had died suddenly, just after Christmas.

She was a much-valued member of our Steering Group, who was determined that our plans for new community woodland would become a reality. Always reliable, she pursued this aim with a cheerful enthusiasm, whether it was organising the refreshments or manning our EGGS stall in inclement weather. We know that she was looking forward to spending her retirement years watching the trees grow.

Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time. We shall miss her.