I'm Kristen and I'm living in Crawley, Sussex (hoping to return to my beloved Brighton 'n' Hove when my ME/CFS allows). I drink a lot of tea, ride a lot of buses, go in a lot of charity shops, draw, sew and knit (and attempt to crochet), take a lot of photos, spend a lot of time sleeping, read a lot of history books and follow Jesus Christ. <3
Email: busstopgirl (at) googlemail (dot) com
Charitable art project Art Everywhere has transformed 22,000 billboards and poster sites across the UK into great British masterpieces. For two weeks, each of these sites will feature one of the 57 works of art chosen by the public.
I can't afford to buy flowers at the moment but I spotted a huge swathe of germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys) growing in a shady spot at the side of the road, so I helped myself to a few (I only ever pick if there are plenty more left behind). They are so pretty, a beautiful purpley-blue. Not sure Cath Kidston would approve of the commemorative France 98 'vase' though.
Today I stopped off at the hospice shop's cafe for a brew. Sat by myself, I was gazing round the room when I suddenly noticed my own reflection in my steel teapot! I don't usually like taking my own picture but here I am almost unrecognisable... and I love that my teacup is in the shot. I *am* a pretty dedicated tea drinker :)
All images: Orange Hawkweed (c) Kristen Bailey 2012
In the next of an ongoing series where I educate myself (a total townie) about wild stuff I spot on my walks round my suburban neighbourhood, we have this vibrant orange beauty.
It was growing on a grass verge by a busy road, in amongst buttercups and ox-eye daisies. I hadn't seen it before - it's tall, with a hairy stem, and has saw-tooth edged petals, rather like the 'lion's tooth' (dent-de-lion) on a dandelion.
A few minutes Googling revealed that it is Orange Hawkweed (Pilosella aurantiaca). Hawkweed gets its name from the belief that hawks would chew on the plant to improve their eyesight.
We went to Horsham just for an afternoon's shopping and, by happy coincidence, we'd chosen the day that more than a dozen different Morris sides were dancing all around the town centre, wearing fantastic costumes. I found a good spot and got snapping:
The snow came a week ago, and we've had no more, but very little has melted yet. I pulled on my new wellies (new to me - they're a 'hand-me-down' from a nine-year old who has grown out of them - I'm a UK 4 and she's now a 6!) and took my camera out for a slow shuffle.
First I looked for bird footprints in the snow. These are probably from crows - we have loads of them in Crawley and that's how it got its name (Crow Lea - the place of crows).
I think these are the webbed footprints of a seagull. We're 20 miles inland, but still have plenty of gulls. They fight with the crows for the contents of our rubbish bags on bin day.
This strange, beautiful print (below, above the human boot print) had me puzzled for a while, but I decided it must have been made by a magpie standing in the snow with its wings and tail feathers extended - there is a pair of magpies which live in this road.
Lots of dogs had been running about in the snow...
...and loads of human beans too! I got a bit obsessed with the intricate patterns left by the soles of people's shoes:
After all that icy geekery, I decided to go home... before I turned into a snowman.
It was an unpleasantly windy day today, so my walk was fairly short, but just as I was heading home I spotted this amazing orangey-yellow jelly fungus - Dacrymyces palmatus - on a fallen branch lying on a grass verge.
Initially I got dead excited, cos the striking colour made my untrained eye think I'd found a slime mould (which I first heard of just a few days ago when I watched BBC Four's After Life: The Strange Science of Decay) but now I've correctly identified it (thanks to the fantastic Rogers Mushrooms website) I'm still pretty pleased with it!
'The Martlets Tree' is a piece of public sculpture which stands in Queens Square in Crawley town centre. It's covered in metal cut-outs of birds (the mythical 'martlet') loosely held onto the branches so that they move and shimmer with the breeze. Last week I caught it looking at its best - in brilliant sunshine under a blue sky - casting wonderful shadows and bouncing bird-shaped light off the pavement in the shade.
A lovely charity shop find - this time in the Relate shop in Broadfield, Crawley - the December 1963 edition of Patons 'Stitchcraft' magazine for 10p! I going to buy it anyway so the pattern for a felt applique of Royal Pavilion in Brighton (my 'home' town) was a bonus!
Today I just want to pay my respects to Mary MacDonald Mallinson. Few of you will have ever heard of her, but those who knew her will never forget her. Mrs Mallinson was my teacher for less than a year, when I was eight. She died a few days ago, and my mum sent me the clipping from the newspaper.
She was one of those teachers who you were slightly scared of, but who treated an eight-year-old just as she would an adult. She was part Canadian Indian, and I still have this coloured pencil drawing of a Blackfoot chief I did in one of her classes - I remember doing the best I could, so she'd be pleased. She had a dry wit, a gift for storytelling, and I'm sure she had no idea about how admired she was, and what an impression she made on all her pupils. I'm just grateful our paths crossed.