October 11, 2010
Of Steam Trains and Cowslips and other Dainty Things
"Your web log yesterday was tasteless and unnecessary," Lady Mondegreen rebukes me. "People don't visit my secret garden for helpings of gore and self-pity." But she glances at the dressing on my lip and softens. "What about the plates Marilyn gave you yesterday? Surely they are worthy of mention.?"
Mmm. I knew nothing about Mason's Ironstone until Marilyn piled a stack of it into my arms.
"For your old house," she smiled, and I thought once again of the crack in its Being. So here is one of the little saucers, adrift on the ephemeral stream. A feature of Mason's Ironstone is that international retailers applied to have their own stamp added to the back, and this one bears the mark: John Bates and Co Ltd, Christchurch.N.Z. John Bates had a well-regarded china shop in Cashel Street and is buried in the Waimate Cemetry.
"And you haven't shown them the cowslips that you mentioned on 27 September," Lady Mondegreen reminds me. So here they are. I had imagined them to be woodland creatures but remember seeing them flowering on a steep and sunny bank, densely massed and mingled with forget-me-nots, somewhere in Northumbria (England). Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix in Perennials-Volume I point out that they are meadow plants. And maybe I'm wrong... and they are oxslips not cowslips after all. These are nestled at the foot of the walnut tree, thriving with a mixture of woodland plants in open sunlight till now, when the walnut begins to open its leaves.
So this day draws to a close - a day that began dynamically, with a view from my bed, of snow on Mt Grey, a passing steam train and rainbows threading the stormy sky.
Cowslip Primula veris