Day 29 May 2

A man in the park with two daughters: “Come on we’ve got to look for some hemlock”, he said. “Are you wanting to poison someone?” I responded. He laughed and said he wanted to show his daughters what it was so they wouldn’t ever eat it. “We do a lot of foraging”, he said, “and hemlock looks similar to cow parsley, only it has little red specks on its spine.” Well that’s useful to know – not that I’m planning on poisoning anybody right now…

My walk took me back to the footpaths to pick up some wood I saw the other day for my fire. It is very satisfying foraging. I am quite new to it (aside from gathering wood), but after my wild garlic soup I am ready to explore further. Nettles may be next, for tea or soup and even cordial; but I must remember to take gloves.

The contrast of the bright spring light and the billowing train of clouds lazily travelling the skyway, makes for sharp delineations of shadow on sea. 

I am standing up close and personal to the brambles on a grassy gap at the zenith of West Hill Rd, where once a couple of houses must have stood. The view of the sea over to Bexhill could have been a candidate for a Judges postcard. For years Judges, based in St Leonard’s, turned out postcards aimed at holidaymakers. Once, for a reminiscence project, I found cards as far back as the end of WW1, sent by dutiful daughters or mothers or aunts. “The weather is bracing. The food is passable.” Not far off the shorthand of today’s texts. Loopy handwriting in faded Indian ink. Duty done with a colour-enhanced picture of the pier or a tourist crammed beach. 

What surprises each day has to offer!

My apparently restricted days have brought nothing but riches.