online: 11 may 2004
modified: 10 june 2004

(designed to read with the window set to two-thirds of the screen width)

10 may 2004 only for a few seconds

15:38 a yellow ladybird crawling over my hand, the first I've seen this year. I blew it into the grass where it continues its crawl as if nothing had happened...

I left that spot to avoid the sight of a man forcing a woman to fetch and kick back a football - she makes gestures of reluctance and independence, if not refusal, which he ignores. How often do we force others to do our wishes?

In a birch wood. Ferns are unrolling their leaves. Many other plants: mare's tail, bramble, various grasses. Also buzzing flies, a bee, and the tall white tree trunks growing slightly inclined - I lean against one as I inscribe this on the handheld.

Fresh cool air from the east, ivy on the older trees, a large bumble bee, and now I can see some campion in bloom. This is certainly summer...

I come to a swamp and have to walk through nettles, as tall as my legs, to avoid it. I cannot avoid trampling on some of them...

...and now I'm sitting on a moss covered seat in memory of David Atkin 1904 to 1972 ... I realise that he was born a hundred years ago.

I see another man and woman kicking a football between them. Both seem to be enjoying it.

I pause to look at a mass of hundreds of white hawthorn blossoms* and then pick up a white leaf/flower that has fallen from what I think is a kind of lime tree**.

The rhododendrums are in bloom - cerise, white, yellow, pale pink, purple - and a someone is photographing the Barbara Hepworth sculpture*** that stands among them... The magnolia, which a few weeks ago was entirely flowers, is now entirely leaves.

Outdoor cafe. The price of tea and cake has risen about 20% to 3.40. I realise that I come here less often since the price increased. If such price rises continue I will soon have to change my way of living.

I sit to listen to a blackbird. Quite complicated music. Do I hear another replying - or are they independent? Now it flies to a branch 50 metres away and I can no longer hear it.

As I wrote that, a woman whom I often see on the heath paused to remark on the beautiful weather.

Meadow. I stop to look at a black object - putting on my reading glasses I see it's a butterfly with folded wings. As I look, the wings open to show four blue and white spots and two orange-brown patches - and before I can open the handheld it's gone... And as I write this, I watch a caterpillar (about a centimetre long) moving down my jacket... and now it's climbing up again. I let it climb onto a finger and blow it into the grass.

I'm reluctant to leave this place.

The butterfly has come back to exactly the same spot - on a seat in memory of Hilda Gwendoline Parker. No date... And a woman with a dog goes by and says 'Hello there!'. I don't know her. Someone called Toby has carved his name on this seat - probably decades ago for the letters are worn by people sitting on them.

I notice an insect less than a millimetre long on the screen of the handheld and attempt to brush it off - but I probably killed it.

The butterfly returns again to the same spot - but only for a few seconds.

*I find that Hawthorn, May-tree and Whitethorn are the same tree. The flower signifies the oncoming spring, the end of winter and the rebirth of Life. It is also the flower of lovers, the strong smell having been associated with sex. (From Roger Phillips, assisted by Sheila Grant and edited by Tom Wellsted, Wild Flowers of Britain, Pan/Macmillan, London 1977, 1994 edition.)

**I can't find (in Roger Phillips' book) a variety of Lime in which the last leaf on a branch is white and has a 'clock' of seeds like a dandelion. But the green leaves certainly resemble lime leaves.

10 June 2004: Nick Routledge wrote to say that The Mayflower, the ship that carried the 'Pilgrim Fathers' to North America, was also named after hawthorn flowers.

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