Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September the 1st

A favourite walk by the small River Ter, its almost a brook but the graylings are still there, large and small and tiny 'sprat' fish dart around amongst the huge grey monsters. Warm sunny weather, and the edges of autumn turning everything honey-coloured in the fields. The hedgerows are showing those bright red highlights of berries, whilst the sloes have turned that dusky blue-black colour with a silver sheen, The old massive silver willows hang their leaves over the brook, one old entbeard branches are beginning to die off, but new growth springs round its trunk. Wild hops cling to the hawthorn bushes and smother a blackberry, closely imitated by that other destructive plant - convulvus.

The little concrete bridge, with an ash shading it. First time I've seen an ash here in Essex, plenty up on the downs of Somerset, they do well in cold places coming into leaf late.

An old willow stump, with another willow growing at its base.

Angelica growing near the water, so many uses in times gone past. Medicine, perfume and of course the candied sweet stems.

Good year for sloes, sad that there only use is for flavouring gin!

Fireweed; Taken from Grigson a delightful Gerard quote; The branches come out of the ground in great numbers, growing, to the height of sixe foote, garnished with brave flowers of great beautie, consisting of fower leaves a piece, of an orient purple colour. The cod is long...and full of downie matter, which flieth away with the winde, when the cod is opened...The cods must be the long red seed pods.

The hop - humulus lupulus; The hop twined and twirled in English hedges and thickets long before it became one of the ingredients of English beer. Grigson. Anglo-Saxon form was hymele or humele.
This stretch of the river has a serenity that is hard to define, the banks on either side are completely overrun with plants, though the farmer may grow his acreage with wheat, he also sees that there is a large patch of ground unsown between the river and field, done out of love I think for this small sparkling river
On the way back young pheasant everywhere, scampering across the lanes, they are still growing their bright plumages, so at the moment a dull beige with highlighted heads or patches on their bodies looking most strange.


  1. What a lovely walk. Reminds me of the ones we used to take from Brightlingsea when we stayed with my b-in-law there. You have used some beautiful descriptions.

  2. I think Geoffrey Grigson has written the best book on the wild flowers of England; my choice for Desert Island discs...