tangential memories

lilac scabious

Yesterday I looked at different shades of blue and purple and the impossibility of marking a dividing point between them.

Today the flowers I have chosen are more on the redder side of purple, and are all examples of scabious. At least, I think that’s what they are, although I’m always slightly concerned about naming plants here as I am no expert and I’d hate for anyone to be misled because they trusted either my memory or my Google-fu.

When I went to check if I’d identified them correctly, I found plenty of images that seem to confirm the vague memories I had of learning the name as a child.

crimson scabious

In the nostalgic images I have of long summer days, picnics in the park and on the cliffs, or sheltering from the wind and rain in a beach hut on the coast, my mother is always accompanied by a capacious shopping bag, big enough to carry a thermos of tea, Tupperware sandwich boxes and a damp flannel in a plastic bag.

In the depths of that same bag, there was also a book of birds and a book of wild flowers, while Dad’s haversack would have contained binoculars and/or a monocular, a camera, and probably a spare white cotton handkerchief or two for tying up scraped knees.

I’m not sure whether the pebbles, shells and feathers I collected went into the picnic bag or the haversack, but the flowers we picked would have been pressed between the pages of the books.

lilac scabious

Why I have gone off following this complete red herring of memory after taking pictures of a fairly common plant that grows untended in the borders round the town hall carpark is not going to be obvious to anyone reading this. I, however, know it’s because I learned the name scabious on a summer holiday when my mother helped me identify a flower I’d found as sheep’s bit scabious.

Having done some research today, I find that, although it looks very similar, sheep’s bit isn’t a scabious at all. Still, it helped me identify today’s photos, so I guess that even learning incorrect facts can be useful.

pink scabious

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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