I managed a short walk last week, in between bouts of painting, and strolled along down by the river. I had a lovely chat with our neighbour at the Mill, and together we put the world to rights!
I went up to the junction and turned left and walked up the hill a little way. The wild flowers were growing in profusion along the banks which faced East, as they caught the sunshine for most of the day. There were tangles of Bluebells, including some pink ones which you hardly ever see; some Celendines and Primroses in their final days of blooming; Red Campion (though I prefer to call it Rose Campion as the blooms are pink and not red); Stitchwort; Bugle; Ground Ivy; Ramsons and Sweet Woodruff.
The view downstream.
Young Hart's Tongue ferns unfurling.
The beautiful little blue flowers of the common Speedwell. The Latin name of Veronica is given to this plant, and it is named for St Veronica. Apparently when Christ was struggling with the heavy cross he had to carry, sweat fell from his brow and a young girl - St Veronica as she became - ran forward to wipe the perspiration from His forehead. Apparently the marks were indelibly printed upon the cloth, and it is said that some species of the Speedwell are like a little face.
Common Bugle amongst the ferns. It is also called the Carpenter's Herb, because traditionally it was used to stem bleeding. One of the favourite nectar sources for several butterflies, including the Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, the High Brown Fritillary, the Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary and the Dark-Green Fritillary. I think it may be the latter which is particularly found localized in our area.
Sweet Woodruff, which smells like hay when it is dried. It grows commonly along the banks locally. In Germany it was used to flavour the May Wine (Meiwein or Maibowle), brandy, beer, sausages, jelly, jam, a soft drink, ice cream and to make a herbal tea with sedative properties. I see I have some recipe-collecting to do!! Woodruff ice-cream would be WONDERFUL. Hah! Just found a recipe - will share it with you later on.
Stitchwort embellishing a cooler bank.
You will have to enlarge this photo to see the Speckled Yellow Moth in the centre. It was very butterfly-like, and didn't care to be photographed - I had to pursue it stealthily!
Floating in a little raft down the river were the shed leaf cases from the beech trees which line the banks here.
A trio of Canada Geese and a Mallard keep company by the bridge.
Fahly and I used to jump this little stream and then canter up the hill.
Looking along the stream as it chortles down over the stones.
Our nearest bluebell wood . . .
As a little afterthought, I thought I had shed every trace of my Southampton accent many years ago. Yet when I was browsing the aisles in T*sco today, I fell into conversation with a lovely "old bwoy", and he suddenly said to me, "Where are you from then?" I told him, Soouthampton, and he said he was from Portsmouth, so my Hampshire accent must still be there in the background!!! We chatted for about 10 minutes and it was nearly as good as a holiday : )