this week took us up to Crickley Hill Country Park...I seem to be working my way around the hills that encircle Cheltenham, but there are so many marked trails up here that I may not move on for a few weeks. We'll see...
Today's wanderings were very pleasant, despite the repeated and prolonged disappearance of the Evil Dillon (just too many rabbit warrens for a terrier to resist) and I enjoyed capturing assorted signs of spring, as well as the semi obligatory panoramic view ( I can almost see hencity from here). I'm intrigued that, after a lifetime of being a very non-visual person (a by-product of short sight is that I tend to concentrate on all the other senses, and above all the imagination), the acquisition of my much-loved though basic digital camera at Christmas has really changed my approach on this sort of outing. I now set out expecting to see something worth looking at properly...and so, on the whole, I do.
It was lovely that there were so many cowslips. When I was a small child, reading Little Grey Rabbit books (where they seemed to feature heavily) they were incredibly rare, but by the time we moved to Gloucestershire 16 years ago, they were staging a hedgerow come-back. I grew some from seed in our orchard at Lower Farmhouse, only to find them popping up all over the lawn for several years...then, one year, they vanished as if they had never been, for no reason I could ever determine. Perhaps that's the definition of wild flowers?(cf Aslan, not a tame lion)
Another burst of nostalgia was occasioned by the sight of wood anenomes,- or, more romantically, wind flowers. Back in the days when we didn't appreciate the danger of picking wild flowers indiscriminately ( the oh so anarchic sixties) a favourite childhood walk was to Hollington Church in the Woods...A great-aunt of my mother's was buried there, which was sufficient reason for me to pick, in season, armfuls of anenomes to place in jam jars on her grave and any others that took my fancy.
Later on, of course, it would be bluebells...I still find it difficult to resist the lure of those vast oceans of blue. The sheer joy of gathering baskets full remains a very special memory. Yes, of course it was deeply irresponsible, and I never allowed my 3 to pick as much as a solitary bloom during their country childhood...but I feel slightly wistful that it's no longer a possibility. The urge to appropriate is so strong...and my largely housebound mother was always so delighted when I came home with baskets of flowers.
After all, the past is another country. They do things differently there...