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" One touch of nature

makes all the world kin "

William Shakespeare

Opal The Movie

January 26th, 2012


Opal Whiteley

God’s bells are ringing a call to prayer in the woods today — in the shadows of the woodland I found Mission Bell blooming by the pathway — all its beauty blending with the shadows round about. Bronze Bells and Rice-Root both describe it — flowers of various modest shades, all mottled and checkered over — roots like little pearls or tiny grains of rice. Fritillaria is the name the scientists know it by; but to wee children’s hearts the name Mission Bell is most dear – God’s little prayer flowers, calling us to think of Him and all His goodness. 

Opal Whiteley – The Fairyland Around Us


I have written in previous posts about the extraordinary story of the nature writer Opal Whiteley. Her childhood nature diary was published when Opal was an adult but later became the subject of controversy, its authenticity  brought into question by many who believed that Opal had forged the diary as an adult.

Whatever the truth behind Opal’s writings, her work is deeply touching and does indeed possess a child-like, mystical and magical engagement with the natural world.

There is now a film about her life; an independently made and beautifully shot movie that deserves wider interest. For a short time the film will be available to buy at the movie’s website www.opalthemovie.com and it is also available via the Tribecca Film Institute’s Reframe Collection at http://reframecollection.org/films/film?Id=2282 .

Here is a poem from her 1923 collection The Flower of Stars:

The Little Room

In Man’s heart is a little room.

He has named it


And things are arranged along its wall

That he does not wish

To think about.

Every time he pushes something in there

He closes the door very tightly

But in hours when he is weary,

In the hours that walk around some midnights,

When high fires have burned

To a low flicker,

Then the little door swings on its hinges.

And no thing

Will make it stay closed

All of the time.


When he is near death

All the velvet-footed wanderers in there

Join the throng around his bed,

“We will not die,” they whisper

To one another

While Beauty waits with drawn lips and dry eyes.

But there is heard

The patter of a little sad rain

In her heart’s garden

Where some little flower buds

That were once thinking of the sun

Will never open

Because man keeps a little room

Of oblivion in his soul.

A still from 'Opal'

The Bradshaw Foundation British Isles Prehistory Archive

January 26th, 2012

The Bradshaw Foundation’s website offers an amazing treasure-trove of information: Films on cave art all over the world, an informative interactive section on genetics and ancestry and much more. Their latest Newsletter announces their British Isles Prehistory Archive:

Winter 2012
British Isles Prehistory Archive

The British Isles Prehistory Archive presents a rich array of monuments, art and tools found throughout the British Isles.

The island was first inhabited by people who crossed over the land bridge from the European mainland. Traces of modern humans – Homo sapiens – date from about 30,000 years ago. Until about 10,000 years ago, Great Britain was joined to Ireland, and as recently as 8,000 years ago it was joined to the continent by a strip of low marsh to what is now Denmark and the Netherlands. Great Britain became an island at the end of the Pleistocene ice age when sea levels rose due to isostatic depression of the crust and the melting of glaciers.

Introduction to the British Isles Prehistory Archive