Blackbird In The Medlar Tree

You know those times when you see something and it seems to represent far more than what you are looking at? What I am getting at are those times when your feelings just feel all that is right and good about the world.

The way the branch on the medlar tree looked almost like a swing seat with the blackbird on it made me think that way.

I couldn’t remember the word that represents what I meant, so I googled ‘what is the word that means something described by a part of it‘ and Google found it straight away. Clever Google.


A synecdoche comes from the Greek meaning ‘simultaneous understanding’.

Google voice pronounces it ‘suh·nek·duh·kee’ – with the stress on ‘nek’.

It is a figure of speech in which a part of something refers to the whole of something or vice versa.

The website Literary Devices gives the example of “all hands on deck” which means that all of the crew should come and help, and not just their hands.


Metonymy (which is pronounced pretty much as you would expect) is a freer association between the part and the whole. Literary Devices gives the example of ‘the crown’ to refer to royalty. ‘The crown’ cannot be an example of synecdoche because crowns are not part of the royal person except in a symbolic sense.

The Blackbird in the Medlar Tree

Was it synecdoche or metonymy that described what I was feeling? I was thinking how fitting it was that the medlar grew that way and the blackbird discovered it and liked it as a place to sing. I was thinking about Nature (with a capital N) and how it just all gels together. And I was thinking about the precious feeling of all that is in balance and radiant.


Trying The New Posts Carousel Block

WordPress dot com have just introduced a new block that lets you display a carousel of posts. It’s called the Post Carousel block. The post that introduced it says that ‘by default, the block will display your most recent posts’.

I wonder whether that means that there is (or will be) a way to get the Post Carousel block to display older posts if one wants? I can’t see a way at the moment. Maybe I am missing something.

Actually, I can see one way to show older posts and that is to take advantage of the options to specify author, categories, and tags of the posts.

I could tag certain posts with something that is unique – such as ‘top-charlie’ and that would force those posts to show. But that workaround is isn’t a good use of tags.

A better idea might be if WP was to introduce an option to specify a date range for the posts.

Carousels For Self-Hosted Sites

It just so happens that over the best day or two I have been looking at carousels or sliders for a self-hosted site. I settled on one using a plugin named MetaSlider.

The pro version allows you to overlay text. And even better with the theme I use (GeneratePress pro version) it is simple to integrate the slider right into the header element.

Now having worked out how to do it, I am not 100% sure whether to do it.

On the one hand I know I myself am magnetically attracted to anything that moves. If I walk into a shop and there is TV with an advertisement for a headband to wear when out hiking, I stare at it.

On the other hand, developers say they hate sliders/carousels and that people hate them.

‘Sliders’ implies sliding, but the option I like in MetaSlider are where one image (with a text overlay) fades out and another replaces it.

In other words, nothing slides and nothing moves – left to right or whatever.

Imagine a slider at the top of a web site, with an image fading out and being replaced by another, and then another. That’s what I am thinking about. Do you love or hate them?


Horse Chestnuts: White v Red

White horse chestnut leaves
Red Horse chestnut leaves

In the comments on my post about White horse chestnut trees and Red horse chestnut trees, Deb Weyrich-Cody helpfully posted a link to the Morton Arboretum in Illinois.

It explains that the red horse chestnut is a cross between the White horse chestnut and a red buckeye.

And it says the Red horse chestnut is non-native. Is that a reference to the buckeye or to the white horse-chestnut?

Well the Morton Arboretum says that red buckeyes are native to the southern United States, up into the southern tip of Illinois.

So that makes sense and ties up nicely with the information that White horse-chestnuts originally comes from the Caucasus in south-Eastern Europe.

According to the Morton Arboretum, red buckeyes grow to 15-25 feet, and that perhaps explains why Red horse chestnuts are smaller than the white, at least in all the ones I have seen.

Another Look At The Trees

One thing I have learned is that it is easy to look and hard to see. But armed with that bit of tree architecture I went out to look at the trees again.

Now I see what I had seen before but brushed under the carpet of my brain – that the leaves on the red and the white are not the same. You can see that in the photos above.

Of Chestnuts and Conkers

Another thing I know from last year is that unlike the familiar spherical shape of the conker on the White horse chestnut, the Red is more oval in shape – a bit ‘walnut’ in shape.

Let’s see what the Latin names say;

White horse-chestnut: Aesculus hippocastanum
Red buckeye: Aesculus pavia
Red horse-chestnut: Aesculus carnea

The name “hippocastanum” means, literally, “horse chestnut” from the use of the seed to treat coughs and broken wind in horses and to distinguish it from the chestnuts that people eat (Spanish chestnuts).

Here are the young conkers forming on a White horse chestnut.

Conkers In The Making

When I can, I will go searching for the conkers of the Red. Although, it is a question as to whether they can properly be called conkers at all. Nuts, yes. But conkers?

Would any self-respecting conqueror / conker-er use a nut from a Red to battle his or her opponent?