Remember Maxim de Winter, from Rebecca, ' you must never pick wild flowers.' I turned back and called after her: ' Lady's smock, Cuckoo flower, Milk maids, Cardamine palustris.' Our Lady's Smock, as if a litany of names would somehow restore them to life.
What do you see in such a place where town and countryside must somehow seek harmony? Wood anemone and king cups, cuckoo flower, coltsfoot and willow catkins. Grey wagtail and pied wagtail on a stony river bed where squared blocks of stone show the river reinforced against flood damage. Golfers at Carus Green and cows heading off to be milked, light industry and housing estates, the distant fells, or the lost idyll of a boy called Kent who swam in the river he is named for. Do you see a family with armfuls of wild flowers and think the Maxim de Winter admonishment I suppressed or do you smile at the thought of their gathering wild flowers for a family grave at Easter? Is theirs an innocent pleasure, or an ignorance that blights us all?
Later, we came upon wilting cuckoo flowers, Our Lady's Smock gathered and thrown away. No ambivalence now, we were despairing, and angry.
You must never pick wild flowers, says Maxim de Winter. His creator Daphne du Maurier is dark. Hitchcock's ' The Birds' is based on her short story where nature takes its revenge for the havoc man wreaks on the planet. There are the seeds of a short story here. The Revenge of Cuckoo Flower. It begins with insomnia. All night long, louder and louder, closer and closer. Cuckoo, cuckoo, Our Lady's Smock, Milk Maids, Cardamine palustris. CUCKOO, CUCKOO. It's the antithesis of counting sheep. As for the cuckoo's parasitic habit---- this is the darker version. * Vantablack, the blackest black created.
* BBC radio 4. Owning Colour. Vantablack, the blackest black, beloved of artists. Blacker than anything in nature unless you are down a mine or buried deep in the depths of the earth. The blackest black is made by man.
The sand martins are feeding young and I make a date to return for when the nestlings fledge. I'd like to see them perch on the rim of the entrance for first flight. I'd like to know when I might expect it. That's the secret.