crab apple

wild crab apple blossom

Don’t despair I’m still in the process of getting pdfs of the Bluetongue presentations. Hopefully either copied onto CDs or emailed to me. It’s taking a little longer than anticipated, but they will be here.

Meanwhile the countryside has undergone a transformation in the last seventy-two hours. Flowers and foliage are burgeoning…by the hour – the minute – the second. Just a few days ago I was bemoaning the lack of early purple orchids – now they are everywhere. A battalion of slender purple-magenta spears guard a corner of the Hatherleigh road; further along a sunlit gathering cluster exotically, decked in shades of rose-mauve, intense red-violet and faded purple-pinks. Truly a meeting of sumptuous beings, their pages tiny dog violets peeping through the formal rosettes of glossy-green spotted leaves.

early purple orchid

Verges explode in a sudden froth of cow parsley.

The soft pink-white flowers of the quince tree open like stars. A wild crab apple is a vision of blossom at the entrance to Scadsbury where heather-pink lousewort carpets the field between wet fronds of mosses and shoots of purple moor grass.

common lousewort

Not only are my eyes bombarded at every turn by colour, growth, life, but my ears are assailed by a hundred different bird songs. I’m not nearly good enough; I can’t decipher the many different tunes. I need Robert to point out the blackcap, the willow warbler, the coal tit and tree pipit. Yesterday garden warblers returned as did our first resident swallow and, at last, an orange tip butterfly appeared, to be quickly followed by others.

Yet amongst this achingly beautiful confusion of life, a tragedy. This morning, early, in the softest soft green drizzle, a ewe cast herself. Brutally split by ravens her guts spilled in glistening slippery warm pink ribbons across the green grass; eyes empty bloodied sockets; her mouth, tongue and tail cavernous dark black-red wounds slowly oozing bloody streams. Alone in the field by her side her lamb called and called and called.