asters, Bird's-foot Trefoil, boat winches, common green grasshopper, common restharrow, dock, Dunwich beach, fish-and-chip café, Going to college, hare's-foot clover, harrowing, hop trefoil, humming-bird hawkmoth, parsley water-dropwort, prickly sow-thistle, sea campion, sea mayweed, shingle, yellow horned poppy
Monday was a strange and busy day. I was up much earlier than of late – 6.20 am to be precise so that I could wake E at 6.30. It was her first day at City College Norwich and to get there on time we needed to leave home at 7.30. R was travelling to Scotland later in the day and we wouldn’t be seeing him until Thursday. He went into work for a few hours and then drove to Norwich airport to get a flight to Edinburgh where he got a hire car so he could drive to his hotel in Dunbar. E had three hours of English and then I would be collecting her again at 12 midday. We got to the college through fairly heavy rush-hour traffic with twenty minutes to spare before her lesson started. I dropped her off and then returned back home to continue with the washing which I had already started. Home at 9.15, rushed about a bit, back in the car at 11.15 and was outside the college again just before midday. E was already outside as her tutor had let them out a little early. Thankfully, she had enjoyed herself and had met up with the Irish girl she had met on her ‘taster day’ last week. They had joined up with another couple of girls and had got on very well in their twenty minute break. We stopped off in Bungay on the way home so that I could buy birdseed for my mother and some art equipment for E. This resulted in my purse being quite a few pounds lighter by the time we got back in the car. This college business is very expensive! After lunch I realised that I needed some groceries and also had to collect my medication so got back in the car. It was a lovely afternoon and after I had finished in town and as I was in need of a little quiet reflection time, I drove to Dunwich beach adding another eighteen or so miles to my driving tally for the day. The light was perfect, the breeze light and the air warm and balmy. I walked on the beach for a while looking at the sea. My small point-and-shoot camera doesn’t do justice to the colour of the sea which was true aqua-marine and much greener than in the photo. After wandering about on the shingle for a while I then decided to go a little further inland and look at the plants and flowers. The shingle rises up from the waters edge and then flattens out for a couple of yards. This is good to walk along when it isn’t too windy as it provides a good view seaward and landward. Beyond this ridge it then descends quite sharply to a lower sheltered area of sand and gravel which then becomes marshland and then woodland. As the shingle gets further from the sea it supports some hardy plants like Sea-kale (Crambe maritima) and Yellow Horned-poppy (Glaucium flavum). I was too late to be able to photograph the poppy flowers but the clumps of leaves were everywhere.
All parts of Horned-poppy are poisonous and if they are eaten can affect the brain. One of my plant reference books quotes from old records a strange story from 1698 concerning the Horned-poppy. ‘A man made himself a pie of horned poppy roots under the impression that they were the roots of sea holly. After eating the pie he became delirious and fancied that his white porcelain chamber pot was solid gold. He broke the pot into bits in the belief that he owned a great treasure’.
Once down off the shingle bank there were many plants to look at.
As I walked, grasshoppers were leaping out of the way; there were so many of them. I tried to photograph one but the shot was not successful. I was wishing I had brought our better camera with me.
This is a very pretty pea flower though, as its name suggests, it wasn’t popular with ploughmen as it has deep roots and matted stems that root as it trails along the ground. It also taints milk if eaten by cattle. The leaves when crushed smell a bit like goats do – not nice! Children in the north of Britain in the past dug up the roots of Restharrow and chewed them like liquorice – another name for this plant is wild liquorice. The leaves are a little sticky to the touch and have an attractive crimped edge to them. As an aside, while I am typing this (Thursday lunchtime) the field at the back of our house is being harrowed. I don’t think the large machines of today are much hindered by plants anymore. The weather today is gloomy and misty, as you can see.
I love this little plant! The flowers are so soft and furry and tinged with pink.
The next series of photographs are terrible but with only my small camera with me I couldn’t do any better. They are of a Humming-bird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum) which flies very fast and to the naked eye usually looks like a blur anyway.
I decided it was time to return home and just took two more pictures, this time of the car-park.
I am finishing this post off on Friday evening. E has managed to attend college every day this week and though it has not all been at all easy for her she has kept going and has enjoyed a lot of it. I am exhausted from all the driving I have done and my feet and ankles are very painful. It has been worth it and I am so pleased with my daughter and very proud of her.