I still have a heap of wild (and some not so wild) flower photos to show you.
A few weeks ago, England was blasted with a heat wave: no clouds and lots of sun. As Murphy’s Law would have it, when I thought, “Maybe I’ll bring my camera with me to work and take a walk at lunch time,” it clouded over the following day. My way of tricking the world was to not think about bringing my camera with me at all, but to grab it at the last possible moment before leaving the house. Take that, World!
And guess what? I won!
The day that it clouded over, I decided to ditch my bike and instead jog into work. You may wonder why I would do such a thing and the answer is: my bike commute no longer constitutes exercise for me. It’s too brief. Instead, I huffed and puffed my way into work and arrived dripping sweat and feeling rather unfit. Also, I had carted on my back: baby wipes (for a showerless shower), change of clothes and socks, and packed breakfast and lunch. My bag bounced around on my back the whole way to work and was most unpleasant. I have since run the distance unencumbered and it was a much easier jog. So, I conclude that it is not that I am unfit but that I am crap at running with stuff on my back.
On my run in, I spotted these little beauties, which I would never have seen had I continued to cycle in, as they dot the verge alongside a smaller walking-only path.
The next day, I cycled in but with camera in tow and dithered my way home. I dithered so long, it took me 3 hours to get home. Luckily, my partner was away so there was no one freaking out about why it had reached the hour of 2130 and I was not yet home from work.
My best identification of this flower is that it is a Spotted Orchid. I’m not sure if it’s Common or Heath but am inclined towards Common for two reasons (one more frivolous than the other):
1. I saw it, therefore it must be pretty common. I don’t really hunt out wildflowers – just encounter them happily, enthusiastically and serendipitously during my day-to-day life and weekend wanderings – and would be extremely surprised if this were a rare species.
2. I saw it on The Common.
3. [bonus reason] The Common is not a heath in my understanding of the word.
While I was photographing this Orchid, two burly men on a tandem bicycle pulled onto the bike path and then immediately dismounted, ditched their bikes and wandered over to me.
“Hi!” said ever-so-friendly me.
“Oh, hi,” said first guy. Second guy said nothing.
First Guy looked at me for a while, as Second Guy hovered behind him. I tried to remember which one had been on the front of the tandem, and which on the back but I’d not paid them much mind until they approached my patch of flowers.
“Um, yeah. So, look at these,” First Guy said nervously to Second Guy.
“Hmm,” said Second Guy non-committally.
“They’re real pretty, huh? Do you know what they are? I think they’re spotted orchids but I’m not positive.” I, with my oh-so crazy friendliness, interjected. They were, after all, no more than a metre from me.
“Yeah!,” piped up First Guy, a lot more enthusiastically than before, “Have you ever seen them here before? I haven’t!”
“No, I haven’t either but I don’t come this way much. I saw them here yesterday morning and just had to come back for a photo shoot.”
“Cool,” said Second Guy.
I decided to move away from the orchids as my presence was obviously hampering their ability to enjoy the flowers. I wondered if it was because I was female and they, male, and they just felt a bit awkward admiring some flowers around a girl. I moved off to photograph some buttercups and eventually they departed, when I returned to keep trying. The sun, however, had moved on and so I did too.