True Blue

Cornflower
Cornflower

This is a Cornflower, there’s not a lot of them about. They used to be called Hurtsickle because they blunted the reapers scythes. They’re inedible too, so they became Agricultural Enemy Number One. They couldn’t stand up against the wrath of the herbicide companies and so now they have almost disappeared. Certainly this one is on the opposite side of the  road to the field that it probably once lived in.

Being such a striking colour, it has been adopted by almost everyone at some time or other. Political parties of all shades and in many countries have claimed it as a representative of their dogma. It has been the favourite flower of individuals as diverse as Pharaoh Tutankhamun, Kaiser Wilhelm I and John F. Kennedy, and it is used by First World War veterans in France to commemorate Armistice Day, in the way that the Poppy is used in Britain.

It’s Latin name associates it with Chiron, the Centaur who dared to be different. Centaurs, generally, were a riotous bunch. Wine women and song was the way they wanted it and they didn’t mind trampling on any human stupid enough to come between them and their lifestyle choice. Chiron didn’t do orgies and all that, he stayed home in his cave and taught a string of Greek Gods and heroes about medicine and how to be a real human etc.

Oh, and the chemical that gives the Cornflower its vibrant blue colour is the same chemical that makes red Roses red.

Stung

Nettle With Male Flowers
Nettle With Male Flowers

This gentleman, standing by the bridge over the beck, is looking a little forlorn. There isn’t a lady in sight, just this bunch of guys, leaning on the railings alone with their fantasies, watching the water as it flows under the road, off and away – to who knows where? You can’t help but feel a little sorry for them. Nettles come in two kinds, much like the sheep and the cows, like you and I. Here, we have the guys all standing in a little self-conscious knot, while over on the other side of the road, the girl Nettles are all dancing together round their handbags.

The main trouble with Nettles is they are too fussy. You see, long before Flax and Hemp turned up – they’d been loafing around in warmer climes – we made all our best clothes out of Nettles, and very nice they were too. Nettles can be made into finer cloth than either of those young upstarts. Even the coarser Nettle cloth was harder wearing than either Flax or Hemp produced. So what happened? It all boils down to economics.

During World War One, (The Great War) Germany ran short of cloth for soldiers uniforms. They resorted to making it from Nettles. The first year they went out and collected all the nettles they could find growing wild. It was such a success that they decided to plant them and harvest them like any other crop. They hit a snag straight away, you see Nettles will only grow in the very best of soils – those usually used for food crops.

As I said, they’re just too fussy.