Sunday, June 22, 2008
poppy, fledging, bubbles
The architecture of a poppy. When the flower is over and its petals shed, the globular seed capsule remains. Here on top of the globe, the sesile stigmas, (that is stigmas without stems), radiate from the centre, and nurse beneath them the numerous seeds.
Starlings, as in previous years, have been nesting in the capital of the column set into the wall of the house opposite. I have mentioned before the constant din of the young demanding food. Yesterday, as I passed in the street, I looked up to see that the nestlings were in the process of fledging. It is wonderful to see them fluttering from ledge to ledge before taking to the air, and to think that they must have emerged from a clutch of eggs only a few weeks ago. Today, the nest is silent and deserted and the new generation is busy looking after its own needs.
As I round the corner of an alley off Mount Pleasant and alongside Calverley Ground, I encounter a solitary soap bubble. It floats past me in the wind on an " urgent volantary errand". Soon I meet another and then another. By the time I turn into Mount Pleasant, there are bubbles galore. They are produced by a machine on the pavement outside Hoopers department store. Beside the machine is an empty deck chair and a rug suggesting a picnic. It is clear that the bubbles are part of a summer promotion to draw visitors into the shop in the hope that they will buy leisure clothes. I have seen the machine before when it was engaged in a similar marketing exercise, and it has featured here. It consists of a resevoir filled with soapy liquid. An electic powered, rotating wheel supports plastic rings positioned as though they were the blades of a water wheel. As the rings pass through the water, they form bubbles and impel them into the air. The device seems to require little suppervision.