Friday, 11 May 2012


I really don't know if the wood pigeon is a would-be mother or father.  Maybe the bird is just a first summer crittur practising its nest building techniques.  Whatever, we have a wood pigeon which keeps arriving with a twig in its beak.  It flies into the fir tree in my next-door-neighbour's garden, a tree which overhangs our garden, at which point there is a fearful commotion as the bird works its way in to the construction site.  That is always provided it managed to get a grip on the branch it tried to land on.  The outer branches of this densely-packed tree are on the thin side and the bird doesn't always manage to land successfully.  It's really most amusing to see it crash into the tree, panic, and fall away again.  I would have thought it a bit on the late side to be starting nest-building, which makes me wonder if it is a first summer bird doing what its instincts tell it to do.

And so by one of those tangential leaps for which I am justly world famous to Mothers' Day.  This, I understand, will be celebrated in the former colonies and associated states this coming Sunday, which is the second Sunday in May.  The second Sunday in May is well-known hereabouts as being the date of the Lilac Lark, which just goes to point to another of those differences between "them" and "us".  We don't have Mothers' Day here in England.  Nor do they in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.  Mind you, some people think we do and give our day of celebration of motherhood the American name instead of the traditional British name, Mothering Sunday.

Mothering Sunday is a much more mobile affair than Mothers' Day as it is on the fourth Sunday in Lent.  This, of course, puts it pretty firmly in March every year, usually about the time when the primroses are coming into bloom in the hedgerows.  In days gone by, children attending church on Mothering Sunday would be handed a small posy of primroses to give to their mothers.  The primrose is now a protected plant, and in any case there are far fewer primroses now than, say, 60 years ago when I would have been given just such a posy.  Nowadays the posy usually consists of a couple of daffodils and a bit of greenery.  Instead of people going out to pick the flowers, I suspect that most of them now will be bought.  It seems such a shame that this part of the tradition has been pushed aside by modernisation (amongst other things, like the scarcity of primroses).

Mothering Sunday, we are told, was traditionally the day when girls working away from home as domestic servants were given a whole day off to go and visit their mothers.  On the way, they would pick small bunches of wild flowers as gifts.  Which leads quite nicely to today's photo.

I mentioned in an earlier post that there are plenty of wild flowers on the Roman Camp.  This is one of the more prominent, the early purple orchid.  There are - quite literally - hundreds of them in bloom at the moment.  Others are violets, bluebells, cowslips, daisies, dandelions and gorse.  And those are just the ones I can name.  There are others I don't know, like this tiny blue flower.

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