Sod's law, of course, but today I had to go to Ripon to the hairdresser and I forgot to take the camera. Of course, there were so many things I wanted to photograph - so shall have to describe them to you instead.
The Dales is grassland country, just as the 'crop' is sheep, other than a dairy farm here and there. But as soon as one starts off towards Ripon then things change and the land becomes much more arable. Arable land in this area at present, means mostly one thing - Oil Seed Rape. You either love it or you hate it.
On the whole, a bright yellow field (which is how they are at present) is a lovely, sunny sight but you can have too much of a good thing and there is certainly nothing subtle about the colour. As I drove towards Ripon I passed field after field of the stuff and I must say that it did finally become a bit of a strain on the eyes.
But, of course, the bees love it. Coming as it does between the end of the blackthorn and the early blossom and the beginning of the May blossom and the apple blossom this crop provides a real magnet for bees. Some people absolutely love rape honey and others hate it. So the choice is yours.
I came back a different way from Ripon because I suddenly remembered something about this time of the year. In one of the villages my different route passes through, there is a row of bungalows for the elderly and each year the front gardens are a delight.
This year was no exception. There were grape hyacinths, paper-white narcissi, red tulips, forsythia, long-stemmed polyanthus, primroses and best of all - wallflowers - all growing in a mish mash in the gardens. There were old men out in the sunshine with their hoes, dabbling around the plants and loosening the weeds - it was a delight. I couldn't resist stopping at one garden and getting out to tell the old man just how lovely his garden looked. I told him how wallflowers always reminded me of my parents. Wallflowers have such a distinctive smell and the minute I stepped outside the car I could smell them. My mother loved them and at this time of the year she had a glass vase of them on the dining table all the time - an integral part of my childhood and a smell that takes me back instantly and nostalgically.
I arrived home to find a lovely book on the table - a present for Easter from a friend - thank you M for the lovely thought. The book is 'Unwrecked England' by Caandida Lycett Green - looks lovely so I shall post on it in a day or two.
On the journey I passed a field of fascinating and quite foreign sheep, so my next job is to search the internet to see if I can find out what they are. If I am successful I shall be back.
Meanwhile, that beautiful sunshine has given way to a heavy April shower - but then April showers bring forth sweet May flowers - or so they say.