I love the sculptural qualities and the sheer complexity of this seed head. It’s a wild carrot – Daucus carota – and this one was photographed earlier in the autumn on the Llyn Peninsula. The incurved stalks (peduncles I suppose) always seem protecting and enclosing of the dead flowers and long-gone seeds, and the whole shape resembles an old style willow lobster pot.
The procession of the seasons never really gives us the excuse to feel sorry for ourselves. Like the procession of the stars, the seasons (and all plants have their individual seasons), begin and end at the same time and place. I remember what a revelation it was, when I was very young, to discover that where the leaves fell from the conker trees, the new bud – perfectly formed – was all ready to go. In general the plants in autumn and winter are more sculptural and in spring and summer, the more painterly hues and impressionist sweeps of colour take precedence, but there’s never a time when nothing is happening. Just now much of the action is at ground level where the rosettes of next years plants are in plain view. Go take a look – it’s all there!
It just wouldn’t be right to keep Christmas cake beyond the end of winter, that’s to say, beyond today because:
Oh frabjous day, calloo callay
This is the last day of winter and I woke up predictably gloomy because I said I would yesterday – and I always keep my word. Madame, however, seemed very motivated and after a morning tidying up the garage, (OK man cave if you must), in the pouring rain – we loaded up an unfeasibly large number of wine bottles, which in truth we were never going to fill with home made wine, along with a car load of other junk and took it all to the tip where she unloaded the wine bottles as silently as possible in order to avoid us being breathylized as we left. I should add that after years of austerity, living on a stipend in the parishes, we have developed an ethos of hoarding anything that might even conceivably become useful at some point in the future. Therefore no hawk-eyed scavengers ever follow us to the bins to filch our pre-loved belongings. When I say junk I mean proper ram-stamped rubbish!
Shortly afterwards we finished some repurposed leftovers from roast belly of pork – turned into fabulous soup – we do live well – Madame took me off into town where we spent a pile of money on new walking boots ready for our next trip to Snowdonia. I loved my old ones as if they were my children, but they were worn down to next to nothing after hundreds of miles of tough walking and in truth they’d always been a bit lethal on wet rock. Socks followed swiftly – why is it so hard to buy socks and pants for yourself when you are a man? I can’t remember the last time I ever bought any without being escorted to a shop. It always seems criminal to put them in the bin when you might get a couple of days more out of them (see paragraph above!).
During this whole time there was not so much as a raised eyebrow from her angelic goodness. No labels were examined, no cheaper alternatives even hinted at – I should have smelt a rat but I was completely oblivious. Then we walked around to the Louise Bourgeois exhibition. She is probably the most important artist of all – for me. There is something about her work that puts me straight back on the couch in analysis, and breaks down my barriers as if I’d just arrived in Robin’s room. I constantly have to surreptitiously wipe away tears when I’m around her work. Next, to Waitrose and ten scallops with a bottle of nice wine. By now I knew something was up, but it felt good so I wasn’t arguing. “This is nice” I said as we went through the checkout. “I thought you needed cheering up” she replied.
Which is how we came to celebrate the last day of winter with a cup of tea and the very last slice of Christmas cake. Tomorrow is a whole new season.