Cool Down


Here’s a nice picture of Feverfew. In common with most herbal remedies, Feverfew will cure almost anything – although usually migraines, these days.

Most people Google knows think that the name Feverfew is a corruption of the Latin – febrifugia (meaning a cure for a fever) – which is reasonably believable. It has at least ten alternative names of which Featherfoil is pretty descriptive of the leaves. Most of the rest are just names that seem to be applied to a great many plants, both the wild and the garden varieties, with total abandon.

Bachelor’s Buttons springs to mind here. It is possible that there used to be a great many spare bachelors in the days when people were going around naming things, but I suspect that the number of different plants called by this name is more related to bachelor’s ability to loose their buttons, or even perhaps, to bachelor’s lack of enthusiasm for sewing their buttons back on. Either way, it seems it harks back to those long ago, happier times – when bachelors rode around the country spewing buttons right, left and centre.

Most bachelors, these days, wear just a tee-shirt – so, hopefully in the future, we will see the number of different plants labelled Bachelor’s Buttons showing a steady decline.

Bizzy Buzzy

Bee On A Thistle
Bee On A Thistle

There are times when it is hard to sit down and write coherently. As you can see we have a picture of a bee on a thistle today. Bees are pretty common – I mean, you find them buzzing around all over the place. You would really think then, wouldn’t you, that you could just type – identify bee – into Google and within 0.0256 seconds or so you would have around 5,000,000 answers, each one of which would, naturally, be fully pertinent to bees in general and specific to the one in the photo.
It is my sad duty to inform you that life, with or without a capital letter, is never going to be that simple. Let the moon trine Mercury. Let Jupiter accidentally pass through an auspicious and harmonious opposition to Venus. Let the wind blow high, let the wind blow low – life moves on, not in a straightforward, easy to understand way, but in a way completely calculated to complicate and confuse.
Today’s picture, therefore, is of a Field Cuckoo Bee – or any one of the other two hundred and fifty different types of bees in Britain.
I did try to ask him who he was when I took the photo – but he was much too busy to answer.

No Time

Wild Cherries - Not Quite Ripe Yet
Wild Cherries – Not Quite Ripe Yet

Just look at the time! It was only a moment ago we were saying happy new year to everyone – and now it seems that it won’t be long before we have to do it again. Where has the time gone? Do you think he ever gets tired just going round and round, year after year? Perhaps that’s why we invented seasons – to help to keep him from getting bored and hurrying on, just to get this year over, in the hope that next year will be more interesting.
We are starting to see the results of all those blossoms Spring brought out of the green-house this year. We don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch – or pick our fruit before it ripens, and anything can happen between now and then – but things are looking good.
Last year we collected a small jar of wild cherries and poured a generous helping, or a thrave, as they used to say in medieval times, of brandy, with a few heaped spoonfuls of sugar, over them. The result was a very cherry flavoured brandy and some very brandy flavoured cherries.
If the weather pulls its weight for a few more months – we might just need a bigger jar this year.

On Line

The Flying Scotsman
The Flying Scotsman

This week we had a double dose of excitement – not only did we have a steam train pottering down our line, but the engine-in-charge was none other than The Flying Scotsman. We waited with bated breath for the event, heralded, as usual, by a vast cloud of smoke and steam. The weather which, until that moment, had maintained a bright, if somewhat cloudy, visage – immediately turned dull and grey. This was, no doubt, to compliment the sombre majesty of the occasion. Impressed by this aura of gravitas, I took special care in framing and focusing the photograph, then – I pressed the shutter button.
Electrons leapt into action, and with the speed of light the camera stretched and yawned, then climbed reluctantly out of bed, fumbled for its slippers and reached for its dressing gown – all the time muttering that it really couldn’t see how it could possibly maintain the level of mental agility I seemed to expect of it, unless it could count on a clear twenty three hours of sound sleep every day. It then wandered through to take my picture.
The Scotsman, meanwhile, had been flying along. You see, he has just had a major refurbishment, signed up for the gym, and had his roots done – he was feeling as frolicsome as a new born lamb.
The fuzziness of the image is the result of this lack of communication. I, personally, cannot wait for the Internet Of Things.

Don’t Tell

Wild Rose
Wild Rose

This year, for all its faults, has been a very good year for blossom. Almost everything in our locality has really pulled out all the stops and worked hard to fill every spare space with blooms. Wild Roses are a case in point. The hedgerows are splattered with white and pink with no thought for propriety, or even perspective.
Roses specialise in scent and symbolism – and often in both. It is quite probable that the rose was first recognised for its olfactory capabilities over a thousand years ago in Persia. Persia is long gone, but before they went, the Persians assimilated Bulgaria into their empire and the centre of ‘roseness’ moved out to the colonies. Even today Bulgaria is still big in roses. It takes a bit more than two thousand rose flowers to produce a gram of the end product.
Naturally, we’ve used the rose to represent whatever was fashionable at the time, so it has had a long and chequered symbolic past. My friend Google called my attention to one that he found interesting. In the, fairly recent, past the rose meant confidentiality, so a rose was often hung over the dinner table to reassure diners that everything said would remain private. Even today, we call a ceiling ornament a rose – even if it’s just the fitting that holds up the electric light.