songofcopper: (gaze)
And Now: a belated resumption of the Tale of the Weekend Just Gone.

We decided that on Sunday we would take a picnic into Belvidere Meadows, which is one of several nature reserves on our doorstep. I had heard that there were supposedly wild orchids there somewhere, though I’d never been there at the right moment to see them before.

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Our lunchtime view.

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Green hills.

We ate our lunch not very far from the entrance, sitting on a well-placed bench. From my seat I could see some kind of purplish flower sticking up… it looked large and pointy (ahem) and I wondered if it might be a Foxglove (though it would have to be a very early one). But as I continued eating I spotted various other purplish spots amidst the green. I was almost too excited to eat the rest of my food; I wanted to go and look right away: but of course plants (most plants) don’t tend to wander off.

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Sure enough, once we’d finished eating and strolled down the slope, we found Many Wild Orchids. Just… sitting around, waiting to be appreciated. These ones are I think Orchis mascula, the Early Purple Orchid.

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There were also many primroses, violets and celandines.

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Here’s a Small Blue butterfly at rest.

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This damp area had cuckoo flowers and grasses and some sort of mint growing rampantly.

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I haven’t been able to identify the type of mint, but the smell of it was delicious.

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Another gratuitous green view.

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A totally unexpected architectural encounter. We went into the grounds of the Duryard halls of residence (belonging to the University), where there are a lot of not-unattractive modern blocks. In the middle was this exquisite house. It looks like a dolls’ house! Looking up its history, I couldn’t find a great deal of interesting detail. It seems to have been University accommodation for a long time (the new blocks surrounding it replaced older blocks that were demolished fairly recently). I wonder what it’s like inside?

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This curious object was in the grounds. It is an enormous stone table. Shades of Narnia! I have no idea what it’s for, it doesn’t seem very picnic-worthy. Ritual sacrifice seems more probable than sandwiches somehow. For a brief moment I expected a caped Christopher Lee to emerge from the house carrying a ceremonial dagger… the whole place could be the perfect filming location for a movie about some kind of cult.

We walked home the longish way, in order to avoid a hazardous country lane where car drivers insist on speeding, despite the fact that it’s mostly too narrow for cars to pass each other without pulling into the hedge. There is no pavement either. I don’t understand why people drive so fast on that road, it’s not really a shortcut to anywhere. :-/

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But anyway, the long way home took us along some semi-secret paths where hidden houses nestle. And hidden horses, like these two! They were very curious and friendly, coming over to find out if we had any treats for them. (Sorry horses, we already ate our carrots and apples!)

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And what says Spring more definitively than lambs in an orchard? :-)

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Another orchid, far from its fellows.

All of this is right by large swathes of houses, a busy University campus, and indeed only a couple of miles from the city centre. Perhaps Sunday lunchtime was always going to be very quiet (most people would be inside eating a roast dinner), but we hardly saw a single human during our wanderings. It feels strange, this place: like falling into another dimension. They say outer space is folded in odd ways, but I think Earth is like that too.
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songofcopper

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