Hard to Swallow

Greater Celandine
Greater Celandine

When we come out of the gate, if we turn left we go down the hill and over the beck – along the road that takes us to the next village about half a mile away. Once there, we are faced with a tee junction. We normally turn round, at this point.

Just before the tee junction the road passes through a narrow gap between ancient stone walls. At one time these narrows formed a toll gate, but the old-time need to manage the passage of man and animal does not fit well into modern day traffic patterns.

Just there, where the road is at its narrowest, a clump of Greater Celandine clung tenaciously to the slender verge. Celandine gets its name from the Latin for a swallow – it was believed that the flower bloomed when the swallows arrived in spring, and stayed in flower until they left again at the end of summer.

In a midsummer clear up the Greater Celandine bushes were cut away completely, and I was left hoping that the swallows had some form of backup calendar. Today, on our way through the narrow gap – I found a few straggling plants who had fought back and were even in bloom. I was quite awed by their strong sense of duty – I hope the swallows appreciated it, too.

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