30 Days of Wildness – Day 28 – A Bright Day with Dark Skies

Day 28 of the 30 Day Challenge has found me up in Bradford. I am here for one night only and I am right in the city centre.

After a quick check on Google Maps I decided to have a mooch around the gardens of Bradford Cathedral. The Cathedral has a garden that is a real oasis of peace and beauty in this very built up area.

Bradford cathedral – An oasis of nature in the city

As soon as I walked up the steps into the garden I spotted some lovely Ivy Leaved Toadflax clinging to the wall. I love this little flower as it will grow in places where other flowers fear to tread.

As I walked to the end of the wall there was a building with this rather spectacular bike in the window. It had been decorated with all things nature – it even had a nest on the handlebars – quite a site.

Natural and man made nature

There were many wild and domestic flowers around the Cathedral but the Red Valerian and the Foxglove got my attention.

The whole area around one side of the Cathedral was paved in gravestones and they made quite a contrast to the vibrant colours of these flowers – Life and death you could say.

Life and Death

As I left the Cathedral I spotted smoke on the horizon so I set off to investigate.

Dark Skies

I came to a bridge over the railway and was confronted with this. The trains were going right through the smoke and by the smell I can only guess that a dump full of tyres had somehow been set alight.

Quite a contrast to the quiet beauty of the Cathedral.

Bright Day – Dark Skies

I did not know what I would find when I went out for my Bradford Bimble but I am glad I did.



30 Days of Wildness – Day 13 – Nature and Silchester Amphitheatre

The thing I really like about this 30 Day Challenge is that it makes me get out of the house when I would normally stay indoors. Monday evening I got off the train from London and instead of flopping in front of the TV or computer I said to my daughter we were going out.

Now this was not taken well as there was the little matter of the iPad in the middle of this. Eventually after much grumbling (from both of us I admit) we were in the car heading up to the Roman amphitheatre in Silchester.

I remembered that there were many wild flowers growing there such as the dog rose flower you can see below. Needless to say Catherine was off climbing as soon as we got there.


Silchester Amphitheatre

I took these two shots of Catherine as she entered the amphitheatre and as you can see all traces of grumpiness had gone – all it took was to actually get out there. 

A Grand Entrance

Looking around the amphitheatre there were a lot of wild flowers and insects still out and about. Coming through lovely were the foxgloves and lots of buttercups.

I spotted a lone mullein growing and got Catherine to feel how soft it was in comparison to other plants. Needless to say the conversation got onto what type of plant leaf would be good for toilet paper and mullein came tops.

Light, Colour and Texture

We climbed up onto the top of the amphitheatre to look at the view and spotted this lovely little thatched cottage at the back. A dream house as far as Catherine was concerned.

Postcard Picturesque

Carrying on around the rim of the amphitheatre we came across a holly tree covered in the larvae burrows of the holly leaf miner (Phytomyza illis). This larvae makes its home in a holly leaf and will burrow about as it eats leaving a space it can develop into an adult fly.

Other animals and insects will predate the miner including the blue tit (triangular scar in the top right picture below) or a parasitic wasp (bottom right). The picture at the bottom left I think shows a slightly larger round hole signifying a successful emergence.

The Holly Leaf Miner (Phytomyza ilicis)

As we left we spotted some more dog roses and some little ducklings in the local pond.

Dog Roses and Ducks

This spot is great to visit due to its historical nature, its quietness much of the time and its wide variety of flora and fauna. Hits all the nature tick points as far as I am concerned.