Today has been that rare thing - a perfect English Summer's Day. Somehow these days we hardly ever get a day that fits into that category. But today the sun has shone, there has been a slight breeze and everywhere smells of wild roses and honeysuckle. Tess and I walked over to see friend M for the afternoon. My ankle is certainly less painful after the acupuncture and I was able to take a gentle walk the mile or so across the fields to her house.
I asked the farmer to collect me rather than let me walk back. It wasn't the walk that defeated me, it was the gates and fences - all constructed with hefty farmers in mind and a gigantic effort for me. Two gates were very hard to open. I had to crawl under one electric fence as I couldn't bend down low enough to miss catching it with my back. And the final straw was double gates with a very difficult bolt-like fastener which meant lifting one of the heavy gates to get it in line before I started!
But on the walk over I was struck, as I often am on such occasions, by the huge debt I owe to my father. Although I was a late arrival for my parents and totally unexpected (literally, they didn't know until the day I arrived, possibly as much as two months premature) I had huge love and care from both of them. My early birth weight of three pounds meant my mother fed me well and I soon caught up.
But, once I began to walk well my father took me everywhere with him and as he was a countryman this meant going out into the country and looking at the wild flowers, and identifying them, and marvelling at their beauty. And I still do this today, thanks to his early walks with me. Sometimes, as I walk, I hear him pointing out various plants - he loved Germander Speedwell and that always reminds me, as does Alchemilla (Lady's Mantle). I saw both of these on my walk today.
Here is a photo of him with my mother, in 1911 - my sister sits on my mother's knee (she was twenty two years older than me). I have posted it before, but post it again on this beautiful Summer's day - thanks Dad for making me appreciate it so much.