CloudsThe first and most important decision to be made when setting up a blog (especially if you don’t have much else to do), is to choose an image for the banner at the top.

It should be an excerpt from one of my own photographs of course (my reader would expect nothing less).

Clouds, perhaps? After all, clouds hold an honourable place in the symbolism of hope. They can represent freedom, aspiration and new ideas (although after 30 years in English local government, I rather incline to the view that “blue skies thinking” is senior management speak for “we haven’t actually got any ideas”).

OK, maybe not clouds. Too ethereal. I need something earthier; something more rooted.

One of my favourite images is of seedheads – the bit that’s left over when a flower is supposedly past its prime. “Gone to seed” is a pejorative term, but should it be? A seedhead may have lost thSunflower head gone to seed - RHS Harlow Carr Gardens, Yorkshiree delicate beauty or garish colours of its first bloom, but it has other qualities. Most obviously, it has survived: it’s survived early frosts and full sun; it hasn’t been eaten or trodden on or been cut to provide a temporary decoration.

It’s absorbed sunlight and turned it into food for growth. It’s engaged with wind and insects to network with its fellow flowers. It’s become rooted in its environment and drawn water and nutrients from the soil. It’s recorded its knowledge and experience in the seeds that will provide the means of continuity and change.

“Mature, experienced survivor with potential for growth”. Yes: that will do nicely.