Three amaryllis of a deep burgundy colour arrive in the house to advance Heidi's recovery. The flowers are still in tight bud, like the beaks of birds, the outside petals marked with faint green veins. It will be a pleasure to watch them open. I think of Milton's Lycidas
..."Were it not better done, as others use,
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade
Or sport with the tangles of Neaera's hair?"
I used to think that Amaryllis and Neaera must have been mythical women. Only now a little research suggests that they were just ordinary country girls, the names used as such by Latin and Greek poets and chosen by Milton for the same reason and for their undoubted euphony. He wouldn't have envisaged these big flowers otherwise known as belladona lilies.
I find in the cupboard reserved for them a used box, which makes a perfect package for the Bendick's bitter mints, (in my opinion the best chocolates in the world) which Heidi is sending to friends in Germany.
Fragments of a sky blue, burst balloon on the wet pavement. Not a beautiful thing but a melancholy one, poignant I guess.