Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Sticky burrs with attitude

It's a bad idea walking around in strange places in short trousers. You never know who or what you might meet. But it's one of the few hot days that this area gets in the year, and prudence was ignored.

The nettles at the margin of a field at the foot of Lydden Down were (mostly) avoided, but I did not expect to find myself in a forest of houndstongues. [It's not often that you have the opportunity to say that..... a forest of houndstongues].

The seed pods of this apparently innocuous plant (normally rare, but not in this field) are hard, brown and made of velcro, and before long my legs had collected dozens of them. removing each one was like pulling off an elastoplast (and, dear reader, I do not shave my legs). But I took it like a man, only screaming when it hurt*.
Aside from this, it's a fascinating field, presumably ploughed once upon a time by someone who did not realise that there was no soil on it. No grass grows on it, just herbs like marjoram and wild basil, weld, wild parsnip, St John's Wort and a myriad of others. And houndstongue. Loads of moths were flying around, while many chalkhill and common blues were settling down for the night. Thanks to Francis for the directions.
Earlier, on the close-cropped sward of the north of the reserve, the second emergence of adonis blues was seen. In French this butterfly is called L'Adonis bleu or azuré bleu céleste or argus bleu céleste. Isn't that lovely?
Nearby was a cricket which I think is a long-winged conehead. Not such a nice name.
The best way to sooth my stinging legs was to paddle in the sea as the full moon rose, pre-eclipse.
* attr. Clive James.


Greenie said...

Steve ,
To my mind , far too much information about your lower body parts , but , no doubt , your lady followers will enjoy it .
I note there were no shots of the 'only screaming when it hurt' bits .
Great to hear the 2nd.brood Adonis Blue have started , waiting to take someone to see them , 1/2 weeks they should start up here .
Never seen a Conehead myself .
Glad you didn't include shots of the 'skinny dipping under the full moon' , that would have finished blogging for ever .

Kingsdowner said...

Consider yourself spared the skinny-legs dipping.

Mary said...

I can always count on a dose of humor here :-)

Kingsdowner said...

See Greenie - the lady followers did not enjoy it - they laughed :-(