There is pressure and stress in every walk of life. This is especially true if you are of an entrepreneurial turn of mind. The urge to respond to the need to be first to market is an almost unbearable driver – unfortunately it doesn’t always result in products that are a good fit for the niche our developer envisaged. This leads to products or services that can’t be sold until the promotion has created a market for them.
If you’re going to invent a better mouse trap – you are going to need five star reviews from a goodly number of mice before you can build the buzz you have to have for your promotional campaign.
The risks are high. Say you don’t get the testimonials, your whole campaign flops, and sales fail to materialise? Your Angels start to turn red, grow horns and a tail. Your own investment in time and labour, the sweat of your brow, late nights and strong coffee. All, soul destroyingly, for nothing.
Wouldn’t it be better then, to wait until there are, at least some, bees around before coming into flower?
Well 2017 has really decided to get things rolling. To ‘Hit’ em up, and move ’em out’ – to quote the cowboy movies of my youth. I don’t know if cowboys still have to comply with these instructions in today’s enlightened age. It is quite possible that Bovine Care and Guidance Operatives have been down-sized, computerised, and replaced by robots by now.
But, back to 2017. The very dark green carpet with the small purple design that is Self Heal has spread out along the roadsides. The Soldiers and Sailors are blowing their blue and red trumpets under the hedges. The green in the village green is sprinkled with the pale pink of Cuckoo Flowers and the Greater Stitchwort’s daisy white flowers are popping up in the patch near the gate into the field. Even the Bluebells are showing flower spikes in all those bunches of dark green leaves that have sat around for weeks – and which we always hopped would turn into Bluebells.
There is just so much happening in our world at this moment – but I suppose you want a picture of a lamb.
There are certain issues that crop up year in and year out. At this time of year they come with increased frequency. Take trees, for example. About now, trees start to blossom – and very pretty they are too – but if you are interested in the name of the tree whose blossom you are admiring – enough to want to take a photo of it, then you would welcome a few clues to guide you.
The easiest way to identify a tree is by the size and shape of its leaves. Trees that flower before their leaves appear, are just being deliberately obstructive – especially if they only produce white flowers. Still, there are precedents that you can rely on. Usually the first of our native trees to produce its white flowers is the wild plum (or Cherry Plum) next should be the Blackthorn, then the Wild Cherry and lastly the Hawthorn.
During the time that we have spent prowling the byways of out locality we have yet to find any of the wild plums – they just don’t appear to care for the area. This means that our first white flowers should be Blackthorn.
For several of the past autumns we have collected wild cherries (to cover with brandy), and so we know where the wild cherry trees are. So, the fact that they have chosen to come into flower at the same time as several other trees (which we know are not wild cherry) must be regarded as a deliberate attempt to muddy the waters.
Google is inclined to agree with us that our picture is of Blackthorn – if we can remember which tree we photographed by the autumn – we will certainly be back to look for sloes. I’m not that fond of gin, but in the name of Science, you know. . .
Amazingly, Beatrix Potter was born in 1866, 151 years ago. She was an incredible woman. Her children’s story books, written around the many pets she and her brother kept as children, are still selling well today, all theses years later. One of the most interesting things about her life and work is her use of merchandising. In 1903, she designed and patented a Peter Rabbit doll, so today Peter Rabbit is the world’s oldest licensed literary character. She also worked on a Peter Rabbit board game, although that didn’t appear on the market for some years, as the first version was very complicated.
But it’s what she did with the income from her business interests that we remember her for, here in the Lake District.
Around the turn of the century, the Lakeland’s Herdwick sheep were an endangered breed. Beatrix bought Hill Top Farm and set about breeding Herdwicks – she was so successful that she won awards for her sheep at local agricultural shows, and even became the first woman president of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders’ Association.
And no, she wasn’t Harry Potter’s sister.
Google says that tame hyacinths have more flowers per stem than wild ones. It may well be that this makes the tame flowers smug, and this may, in fact, be what makes the wild flowers wild. Now, as you all know, the flowers we have around us today arose from a sporting accident.
You remember, I’m sure, how Apollo and his lover Hyacinth used to fool around throwing the discus. You did know that The God of the West Wind also loved Hyacinth and was extremely jealous because he only wanted to play with Apollo? Well, while the two guys were fooling around, being macho and stuff, you know what I mean, The West Wind saw his chance. Apollo threw – and Hyacinth ran to catch the discus. The West Wind gave an extra huff at the crucial moment and the discus hit Hyacinth full on.
He died instantly, as you might expect. Naturally, as his blood, or Apollo’s tears or maybe both hit the ground, beautiful flowers sprang up.
Just a little thought by the participants at this time – could have resolved centuries of animosity.
Spring is springing into action all around us. Last week we showed you a Violet that we found in a muddy patch by the roadside; in several paces we have the occasional enthusiastic Hyacinth; the small, demure purple trumpets of the Ground Ivy, or Heal All, are appearing wherever you stop and inspect the verges closely; Soldiers and Sailors, or Lungwort, are putting out the occasional flower, and we even have a few entrepreneurial Lesser Celandine hustling, here and there, under the hedges – meanwhile, our Daffodils are really getting into their stride.
Up here, in the farthest north, we do have a great many cultivated Daffodils, these are immediately identifiable by their good manners and their erudite conversation. We also have a considerable number of their wild cousins. Most of these are no great threat to life and limb – but, never-the-less, it is best to treat them with respect and circumspection.
Some though, thankfully only a small minority, are really wild. No one has ever been able to get close enough to them to ascertain the root cause of their unrepressed anger and so, like the specimens in today’s photo, we just keep them caged up.
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No International Women’s Day would be complete without a mention of Sappho, the ancient Greek poetess. Not only was she Lesbian from the island of Lesbos, but what little we know about her suggests that she was lesbian in the LGBT sense, too.
She was what we would, today, call a singer/songwriter – and a superstar to boot. Her fame spread wherever there was Greek influence and her contemporaries referred to her as the Golden Voiced Goddess.
In 1927, a “scandalous” theatre production suggested that one of the female leads had a lesbian lover – who sent her posies of violets. It was raided by the police and closed down immediately. The idea caught on however, and for some years afterwards a woman wore a posy of violets when she wanted to show she was in a sapphic relationship – that she had female lover.
The Ancient Greeks loved their drama – I’m sure they would have approved.