Worried

Mimulus

Mimulus

Mimulus – Edward Bach’s flower for those who fear real things – that haven’t actually happened yet.

She found, what seemed at first, to be the ideal spot, now she’s not so sure. She is firmly ensconced on the right bank of the beck on the downstream side of the bridge – a quiet, sunny spot away from the hustle and bustle. The sort of place one could grow and bloom without being over-looked by nosy neighbours.
It seemed to have everything going for it, peace and quiet, security, all you could ask for. The problem is, well, first there are the cows. So inquisitive. Always poking their noses over the fence and rooting around in the riverside vegetation, she’s convinced that one of them is going to knock that fence down, the way they push and shove each other. They have a huge field, for goodness sake, why can’t they mind their own business instead of trampling over everything.
Then there’s the bridge. From where she’s sitting it’s just a black hole, she can’t see through to the other side. Anything could come down the river, ducks, people, floods, even a tsunami. The news is full of it, and the pictures on Facebook – it’s enough to give you nightmares!

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Xanadu

The Secret River

The Secret River

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
   Down to a sunless sea.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote this in 1797 – he didn’t think much of it. He only published it in 1816 at the urging of his friends. It was unenthusiastically received by the poetry reading public – they didn’t think much of it, either.
He wasn’t a well man, and in those far off days, medications were few and far between. As part of his writing process, he often took long country walks. On this occassion, he had taken two grains of opium – the recommended pain medication of the period. Passing an old farmhouse he lay down to wait for the drugs to take effect – and fell asleep.
When he awoke his head was full of strange images, intrigued he took out paper and pencil and wrote as the pictures came to him.
Halfway through, someone came and interrupted him. He dealt with that, and then tried to go back to the dream. But the spell was broken.
Read the whole poem, the strange images it conjures up make you realise just how irritated he must have been with the person who broke his train of thought.
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Boys Will Be Boys

Cows

Cows

‘There he is, again.’
‘Are you sure that’s the same one? He looks just like the other one to me.’
‘No, that’s the one with the black thing in his forelegs. Look, see!’
‘Oh yes, so he has. What’s that, then?’
‘Who knows. The important thing is, he walks on down the road and around the corner, so he’ll know.’
‘Hmm. But are you sure they’re around the corner?’
‘We don’t know what’s around the corner – but he does. We just need to ask him if he’s seen them.’
‘What would you say?’
‘Just go and stand and chat to him for a bit and bring it up casually in the conversation.’
‘No. You do it. I’m not much good at idle chat.’
‘Ask him if he’s enjoying the nice weather we’ve been having.’
‘What if he says he hasn’t?’
‘Oh come on, it’s been glorious, how can he possibly say that? Well, tell him that the best grass is down near the beck, then.’
‘What’s the point of that? I doubt if he cares, he never comes in the field.’
‘Yes but you could ask him what the grass was like in the field around the corner – and then you could ask him.’
‘Ask him yourself if you’re so good at this.’
‘Quick, quick. Aah, look. Now he’s gone. we’ve missed our chance. Why didn’t you just do it?’
‘Why didn’t you just do it?’
‘We’re never going to find out if there are any girls in the other field, now are we?’

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Yes, But No

Green Alkanet

Green Alkanet

You know how it is – you want to collect a little data so you can write a chatty, but informative, narrative. So you give Google a shake and, once he’s finished grumbling, you send him off with explicit instructions, you twiddle your thumbs for 0.0023 seconds, et voila, 10,234,765 results. As usual, he wasn’t listening when you discussed your requirements, and almost all of these results are completely irrelevant. A great many of them are interesting, however, and you waste a good few hours discovering many intriguing facts – totally unrelated to your original concept.

At this point I had already decided to tell you that the flowers in our picture came from the Iberian Peninsular in about 1700, planted by monks in monastery gardens for the red dye produced from their roots. But, just casually checking some spelling, I find that this is Green Alkanet and isn’t related to the plant with the red roots. Still, I felt sure that, if a victim of snake bite chewed some of the leaves and spat them into the serpents mouth, the snake would surely die. Again, no, not this plant.

Green Alkanet isn’t related to real Alkanet at all, and has none of its medicinal or industrial uses – the bees are very fond of it, though.

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Nothing

Bullfinch

Bullfinch

Today is my birthday. I have made it into double figures. In spite of the fact that we use the decimal system it is actually eleven years since the last time my age was indicated by two identical digits. This misalignment began early. I had been alive for a whole year before I reached the age of one. Thinking of this made me wonder about nothing – or zero.

Nothing must have always existed, the concept of not having anything must have been understood even when we ran around in our most primitive state. But, no one really put it to good use until around 500 AD when a guy called Aryabhata, from Northern India, published some really interesting astronomical texts in which he used it in the way we do today. The texts were so interesting that soon everyone who was anyone at that time was talking about them, and zero as a decimal placeholder, soon passed into wider use.

In the photo we have a Bullfinch. At one time they were an agricultural pest. They feed off the flower buds on fruit trees and used to decimate fruit crops.  His numbers are down, too, and it does seem to have improved his social responsibility.

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There Is A Tide

Wild Cherry Blossom

Wild Cherry Blossom

The tree tunnel is closing over again now the new leaves are appearing. Since last autumn it hasn’t been much of a tunnel at all. We didn’t complain. The lack of leaves let through the weak watery stuff that passes for sunlight at that time of year. The sun had no warmth in it, but it did cheer us up whenever it managed to find a small hole in the cloud to peek out from.

On one side of the tree tunnel is a high bank with various mature trees growing on it. On the other, between the road and the beck, we have a row of wild cherry trees interspersed with holly bushes. The cherry trees do look very pretty when they are in bloom. When spring moves in, in order to clear away last year’s cast off leaves, she brings fresh winds with her. These winds shake the blossom from the cherries, leaving bare stalks in place of pale pink flowers.

This is just a temporary measure – soon after, the stalks start to swell and show the first signs of red berries. In a few months we will be able to collect those we can reach. They are small and extremely bitter with a large stone, not very appetising at all. But, they come into their own when they are stored for a few months in brandy. The cherries and the brandy both benefit from the association – I’m pleased to say.

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Crab Apple

Crab Apple Blossom

Crab Apple Blossom

Our cows have returned and the Crab Apple is in flower. A chill wind has sneaked in – it was so warm over the weekend that someone left the Fire Doors open and it took advantage – so there is still no sign of the May Blossom in the hedges. I therefore caution against casting your cloutes just yet – but you could certainly loosen a few buttons.
Daffodil flowers are few and far between – forlorn little patches of fast-fading green stalks are all we have to show for this year’s marvellous display. The Blackthorn flowers have turned a pale ecru, they, too, will soon lose interest and wander off. The considerable promise the Bluebells showed earlier has been slow to materialise – if they don’t hurry up, they may miss out.
The Hedge Garlic is into its stride and the Dandelion’s plan to conquer the universe is already showing positive results. Pale blue mists of Forget-me-not are dappling the shade and the Rose Baywillow Herb has begun its rapid reach for the sky.
Dr Edward Bach felt that, in their positive state, Crab Apple people connected to the emotional states around them – with so much happening in the natural world it’s difficult not to be aware of the buzz.

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