Subscribe & Follow

  • RSS Feed for Posts
  • Subscribe via Email
  • Twitter
appreciate the honours but cannot commit to subscibe


Perennials are the ones that grow like weeds, biennials are the ones that die this year instead of next, and hardy annuals are the ones that never come up at all.
-Katherine Whitehorn

Blowing hot, blowing cold

King's Cross/St Pancras Development

King's Cross/St Pancras Development

Behind 56 acres of King’s Cross development, the Camley Street nature reserve observes  a maniacal cacophony of crane, drill and truck with relative impunity. The social stigma of wasteland wilderness that has blighted both King and Saint  is its salvation, for this is the London Wildlife Trust’s flagship site, which, by virtue of environmental status, has stood its ground against bulldozing levellers.

Nothing is sacrosanct however, and a new canal bridge entrance has planning approval, enabling  pedestrian and cycle traffic to traverse from side to side. Rare and biodiverse wildlife thrives here probably because Camley Street only has a single, offbeat access which by its very nature, controls frequency of footfall. Thus there is resistance to the proposals but the pay-off is a new Visitor Centre and time will tell, too late perhaps, what effects a thoroughfare will have here.

camley street wildlife park


Meanwhile, amongst the tapestry of  woodland, reedbed, pond and meadow, adults and children come to learn about ecosystems, identifying wildlife species and basic bushcraft whilst creatures and passers-by alike, enjoy all the amenities of a 2 acre rural habitat in the metropolis.

ice textures on ponds

icy grip in the waterways

Some days though are deserted…Frozen in time and February, holding aquatic plants in a cryogenic grip, when gloved fingers stiffen and waterfowl swim half-heartedly beyond the shallows

ice textures on ponds

ice textures on the meadow pond

when pond life lies locked beneath ice layers, rippled and textured like a cooled lava flow

fire and ice on wood

wood consumed by ice and fire

And when it is even too cold to coppice the Hazel trees for fencing and dead hedging, then it’s ideal for collecting unusable wood, broken nest boxes and diseased hive combs for a cleansing conflagration. In a fire pit hollow, a spark of life is lit and bellowed with cold air, the smouldering tempted with tinder until a burning appetite roars for dead limb and timber stumps.

burning wood in a fire pit

blowing hot and cold

Time for a fireside lunch of soup and some Aesop as one fable rises from the wayward smoke:-

One bitter winter, a man lost his way in a woodland.  As he roamed about, he met a Satyr who offered him food and hospitality and a guided  way out of the forest in the morning. So the two went along to the Satyr’s den. As they did so, the Man would raise both his hands to his mouth and  blow on them. “What do you do that for?” said the Satyr. “My hands are numb with the cold,” said the Man, “and my breath warms them.”
Once they’d  arrived at the den, the Satyr put a smoking dish of soup before him. But when the Man raised his spoon to his mouth he began blowing upon it. “And what do you do that for?” said the Satyr. “The soup is too hot, and my breath will cool it.”
“Out you go,” said the Satyr. “I will have nought to do with a man who can blow hot and cold with the same breath.” 1

And the moral is obvious but…those seeking consistency could be missing out on adaptability!

Coming up this week is a newer, replacement computer which means I shall be off the airways for a while but I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day and hope that Love blows your way,  neither too hot nor too cold.

Fire and Ice Valentine's Day themed print“What more miraculous thing may be told
that fire, which all thing melts, should harden ice:
and ice which is congealed with senseless cold,
should kindle fire by wonderful device?

Such is the pow’r of love in gentle mind
that it can alter all the course of kind” 2

Invest in a Love Nest! It’s estimated that each year around two million birds fledge from nest boxes – and Valentine’s day is the start of National Nest Box Week.
1. Aesop Fables: The Satyr & The Traveller
2. Sonnet 30 (Fire And Ice) by Edmund Spenser
Useful Links:
LWT: Camley Street
King’s Cross development - site map
©Copyright 2011 Laura Thomas.
All rights reserved. Content created by Laura Thomas @PatioPatch

22 comments to Blowing hot, blowing cold