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?
The best way to sooth my stinging legs was to paddle in the sea as the full moon rose, pre-eclipse.
* attr. Clive James.