Sunday, May 11, 2008
bells, familiar faces, geese
Blue bells are still in flower. Just. I always find it interesting that these plants cling to the shade where they flourish. They are spring flowers of temperate climates, and the English blue bell, of which this is an example, as distinct from the Spanish blue bell, is not associated with the hot weather, which we have at the moment in the south of England. You can tell a more showy Spanish blue bell, increasingly common in England, by the flowers, which appear on both sides of the stem, and by the stem, which is errect rather than curved over like the one in my photograph.
I realize in Sainsbury's this morning that there are people whose faces I recognise because they shop at the same time as I do. If you watch people, they become as familiar as friends or neighbours, and you may fall into the trap of a spontaneous greeting. Easily enough done. Once, some years ago, I was at a reception in Brighton, where I knew a lot of people though not very well, when I saw a familiar face coming towards me. It was one of those occasions when you do not want to offend people by appearing to ignore them. So, before I could stop myself, I said "hullo," only to find that I had greeted the then prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, whom I had not met before and have not met since. She didn't seem put out. "We're just going to win the next election," she said mistaking me for a fan.
Half a wake this morning, I hear, through the open window, geese honking overhead. I doubt if I had jumped out of bed and looked out of the window, that I would have been in time to see them. But I would dearly have liked to see them. The thought of a vee formation of these birds, their necks stretched out in front of them, appearing to know exactly where they were going, makes me feel contented, almost happy.