When I first met Henry, who works across the road whenever they are building a pond or laying paving stones, I called him Attila because of the way he razed the deserted garden where I had begun to grow vegetables. I resented his intrusion into what had become for me a haven of wildness and peace, and he couldn' t quite work out who I was and why I was there. Some years later with the vegetable garden now laid out in tidy beds divided by brick paths, we seem to have got used to one another. Today we discuss horticulture, last year's terrible summer, and this year's terrible Spring. "Nice to see you again," he says and I reciprocate.
Walking up the drive to Burrswood through woodland, past a couple of fishing ponds and some fields I count and name the wild flowers on the verge. They include a few spotted orchids. The blue spikes of bugle are frequent, but a group in a patch of sunlight catches my eye and makes me reach for my camera.