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Posts from the ‘Plants’ Category

The primrose path of dalliance

Up in le massif de la Chartreuse where the boozy monks make their famed green elixir, we happened on these perfect primevères perkily posing on the muddy, rocky, thorny path up to Mont Rachais.  I love Primrose and can never see them without being reminded of the supposedly curmudgeonly Queen Victoria.  When Benjamin Disraeli died, amongst all the  extravagant floral tributes was a simple wreath of  Primrose with the message ‘His favourite flowers’ written in the Queen’s hand.  An unlikely pairing – she the Monarch, he a Jewish novelist, and we are not talking heavyweight tomes here but rather the Victorian precursor to a celebrity memoir with a heavy emphasis on the gossipy, with not an aristocratic bone in his body they nonetheless shared a true and deep friendship that had nothing to do with his being her first minister though I am sure it helped the process immensely.  He loved primroses, and wrote to her ‘I like them so much better for their being wild’ a fact with which I am wholly as one with him.  The untamed, the untarnished, the unfettered have always called loud to me.  There is something remarkable about flora and fauna that survive and thrive with no interference from human(un)kind … a reminder that often the best way is to leave well alone.

I have no particular reason for sharing my simpletons philosophy except that the picture was taken on my road travelled, not the one less travelled by, which is my preferred route but the one I am choicelessly taking with every breath, every heartbeat, every step of this one little life I am living through and in which I try to be as tolerant and uninhibiting as possible for the rather dull and untrumpetworthy reason that I actually do not believe I am any more important than anything on this earth we call home. Certainly no better than the brave primevère blooming in February at 1,100 metres altitude.  In fact put like that, I’m rather feeble in comparison, I would aver.

The Road Taken happens to be the title given to this week’s photo challenge of which you can find a full arcade of entries here



PS:  The title is plucked from Hamlet.  Ophelia  genially berates her brother Laertes, reminding him that he should refrain from pontificating whilst he himself blithely flies in the face of his own wisdom.

Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede.

If the cap fits, wear it but it’s probably better to tighten your hatband and admit that casting those boulders in fragile huts of glass does nothing whatsoever to enhance one’s credibility.

PPS:  If you ever get the chance, do visit Hughenden Manor in Buckinghamshire (Disraeli’s home) and if you can make it in early spring you will be treated to a carpet of primrose that will melt your heart.  I promise.  The promises of nature, you see are only broken when she is tampered with.

Going to the chapel of love ….

DSCF8702I didn’t celebrate le fete de St Valentin this year.  Actually, I don’t ever celebrate it.  I always understood it was for wannabe lovers to declare their interest (anonymously) by the sending of a card or a gift to the object of their desire.  At school, a post box was positioned in the foyer and we could pay 5p to post a card which would then be delivered on the big day to the classroom of your crush.  You could send as many as you wanted, so some (admitedly including ever-hopeful me) would hedge their bets, all unsigned, the handwriting disguised and finished with a flourishing and mysterious X.  On the day, the cards would be delivered by a crack team of first years and I would affect nonchalance when year after year there was no card in the pile for me.

Clock forward all these decades and Two Brains is my Valentine every day.  Last summer we walked a glorious walk in the Cezallier to a little Chapel, originally built in the 13th century high high on a rocky outcrop looking over the Vallée de la Santoire and the Plateau du Limon.  Battered by the elements it was in a sorry state when in the 19th Century it was entirely rebuilt but houses a bell dating from the mid 1600s and a confessional of similar age and a truly resilient Madonna dating with the original chapel.   And the name of this lovely place – La Chappelle de St Valentine, naturally.

This piece is written in response to The Daily Press challenge to publish a photo demonstrating the Rule of Thirds.  You will find all the other entries here

PS:  The Victorians started another tradition which remained popular until the mid-20th Century.  The Vinegar Card was basically a chance to wittily, waspishly, waggishly and entirely socially acceptably slanderously rebuff, dismiss and humiliate the recipient.  I’m not ashamed to admit that in the past I could have sent one or two ….

They paved paradise

So far we have avoided a parking lot in this corner of paradise and the bright broom or genister as the French call it will be welcome when it arrives in early summer to adorn the mountains and valleys with outrageous daubs of yellow which to me is the happiest of colours.  Long may nature be left to herself.