Tag Archives: Thistle

The Crest of A Scottish Clan, A Peel of Bells, Lord Peter Winsey and The Art of Cation Writting.

Walking in the Cambridgeshire fens along the Ouse Washes between The Bedford Rivers is always a comfort to a weary soul and evocative of The Nine Taylors by Dorothy L Sayers especially when the washes are in full flood.

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With camera in hand it is always tempting to capture the wide open space, the large sky, reflections in the flood plain or Fortrey’s pumping station standing on Engine Bank against a cloudy sky.

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There are endless possibilities in the detail of the landscape like the bee seeking substance from the thistle on the bank of the hundred foot drain. The problem arises when trying to find a caption appropriate for the composition.

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Now as mentioned this is the land where Lord Peter Wimsey applies his analytic mind to discovering the location of the Wilbraham emeralds and the murderer of the butler Deacon but try as I may I can find no correlation to the thistle and the bee but if we take a leaf out of Lord Peter’s book and apply some meticulous reasoning, like the landscape itself there are endless possibilities.

Shakespeare’s Midsommer Nights Dream could be applied where Bottom states

Mounsieur Cobweb, good mounsieur, get you your

weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hipped

humble-bee on the top of a thistle; and, good

mounsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret

yourself too much in the action, mounsieur; and,

good mounsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not;

I would be loath to have you overflown with a

honey-bag, signior. Where’s Mounsieur Mustardseed?

or we could turn to the poet Ted Hughes for The Thistle

Against the rubber tongues of cows and the hoeing hands of men

Thistles spike the summer air

And crackle open under a blue-black pressure.

Not to mention Sylvia Plath for the bee or perhaps Emily Dickinson

and her poem entitled There is a Flower that Bees Prefer

There is a flower that Bees prefer —

And Butterflies — desire —

To gain the Purple Democrat

The Humming Bird — aspire —

And Whatsoever Insect pass —

A Honey bear away

Proportioned to his several dearth

And her — capacity —

Her face be rounder than the Moon

And ruddier than the Gown

Or Orchis in the Pasture —

Or Rhododendron — worn —

We could even use a quote or two from A A Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh due to his love of honey and his friend Eeyore’s passion for thistles.

If we were looking for a more modern example then A Single Thistle by Raymond A. Foss could be appropriate but as he reminds us, if we need reminding that the thistle is the flower of Scotland

therefore it has to be the motto and the crest of The Clan Fergusson as this uses both the bee and the thistle and also appeals to my Scottish roots.

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Title: dulcius ex asperis

Caption: A Bee on a Thistle

The crest of The Clan Fergusson

Their Motto: dulcius ex asperis (sweeter after difficulties).

Found living on The Ouse Washes, The Fens, Mepal, Cambridgeshire


Independence Day, Robert Burns, Iron Bru and A Scot as Long as I Breathe.

I confess that I have been watching with interest the manoeuvres for an independent Scottish Nation.

I am intrigued that it is being reported that it is the Scottish people who will be given the vote, that is to say that if you live in Scotland you can partake in the most important decision that has been placed before the Scottish Nation in 300 years.

As a Scot living and breathing English air, for more than 25 years I still feel as patriotic today as the day I left so there is one half of me that cannot understand why the vote is not open to all who were born in Scotland.

The other half knows It would throw up the dilemma which way would you vote in the circumstances, do you adopt a political approach, take a romantic stance or as a displaced enthusiast for Scott, Burns and Iron Bru with no current commitment to return to my place of birth perhaps would it not be a difficult to impossible discussion?

Perhaps it is a blessing that Dear Mr Salmond will not be seeking my opinion and I can take comfort no matter what the outcome that there will always be Scot’s Novels, Burns poems, haggis and single malt not to mention that they are building a factory to produce Iron Bru in this part of the British Isles that they call England.

But most importantly of all it will not change the reality that as long as I live and breathe, I will always be a Scot.

A Scots Emblem in a English Setting Mepal Cambridgeshire