Category Archives: February

27 February

Like any repeated action writing about and even walking the lane can get to seem tedious at times. I wake feeling listless after a disturbed night and find nothing to interest me this morning. On my return after lunch, however the world looks a different place. The flashiness of dawn has yielded to a more settled radiance. The air has had time to warm up a little. Even the rain get points for coming out of nowhere. On my approach to the junction with the B-road a cloud half-covers the sun and cars are reduced to vague, rushing shapes save for single points of brilliance on glass or chrome. Then the light changes again and everything is revealed in sumptuous detail: a Tesco van, a timber transport, a high-backed people-carrier with a wheelchair pope.

On my way back I blunder uninvited into a festival of sparrows. Attracted by feeders outside the cottage they tumble about the hedgerow emitting high-pitched cheeps, single notes that playfully slide and bend. Like the pigeon their reputation for being plain is quite undeserved, the richness belied by the adjective ‘brown’ made almost ornate by flecks of black and white. No peacock, certainly, but no strutting either.

Once back into the Spinney I am on naming business. Not the trees that puzzled me yesterday but the plant with the cleft leaf that I comically mistook for convolvulus. Found everywhere along the lane, it is maturing beyond the juvenile stage which deceived me, the leaves bigger, brasher and swarthy-green. Persuaded by these changes to try again I have another candidate to investigate. Arum maculatum (the second word derived from livid spots like birthmarks) is more commonly known as Lords and Ladies or Cuckoo Pint, the former on account of a fancied similarity between the flower and genitalia. That is something I look forward to seeing. The photographs are a good match; its habitat is wet places and although we are miles from a river everywhere is wet this year; and it occurs all over England and Wales, only thinning out towards the north like my scalp. This is good enough for me even if, unlike my prose, there are no purple patches.