Guppies embarking on a perilous car journey to her Grandparents…
Direct 9 hour flight to London Heathrow,
In no time at all we were cruising high over the Atlantic.
I adopted my usual in-flight facial expression; a combination of bewilderment and pain accompanied by brief interludes of hysteria (dependent on wine consumption).
Touch down in London.
Having fun yet kids?
London, in August, doing tourist things!
My daughter has been YouTube researching the locations of the best London Kawaii shops.
She found exactly what she was looking for in a China town market…squishies!
Before you could say “Seven pounds for a painted piece of foam?!”
we were on a train speeding North to Brydekirk, a tiny village on the River Annan in SW Scotland.
There are great walks available on both banks of the river.
The pink plant in the foreground was brought to Britain for garden collections in the 19th century, it is the invasive annual, Himalayan Balsam
and it was everywhere. The plant produces large amounts of pollen which attracts bees. Unfortunately the bees love the balsam so much they don’t bother pollinating the native plants, reducing their seed production. An effort is currently being made to remove this plant (along with Japanese Knotwood) from the river banks of the Annan.
The 5 mile walk from Brydekirk to Hoddom Castle led us by huge silver willows,
and moss covered trunks.
We passed tall stands of Elecampane
The name ‘helenium’ derives from Helen of Troy…elecampane is said to have sprung up from where her tears fell.
The plant was also sacred to the ancient Celts and once had the name “elfwort”.
No trip to Scotland would be complete without mentioning a thistle or three, this Creeping Thistle
was busy dispersing seeds from small shaving brushes:
The seed number per plant ranges from 1,600 to 50,000!
Legend has it that a species of thistle saved the lives of sleeping Scottish Clansmen as a Norse army invaded.
In order to move more stealthily under the cover of darkness the Norsemen took off their shoes, but as they crept barefoot…well, you guessed it.
A soldiers cry alerted the Clansmen who went on to defeat the Norsemen at the Battle of Largs
(2 October 1263),
thus saving Scotland from invasion.
The critical role that the thistle had played was recognized and the weed was subsequently adopted as Scotland’s national emblem.
After our walk it was time for a
I fell into a restless jet-lagged sleep plagued by dreams of strange mythical talking creatures…
What sound do they make?
I said moving along…
We made a lot of new friends on this trip,
From Sally the dog to
the sweet wares of the local bakery:
The icing on the cake, (ahem), was once again being reconnected with family.
Thanks for making the journey.
My parent’s gardens were packed with plants and color,
Here is another interesting thistle (I said there would be three):
Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’
You can see why it attracts a host of pollinators.
A Perennial that adds a tropical flair to northern gardens is the aptly named Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’
Just standing next to this makes you feel warmer.
“Did you know that Crocosmia is so named because the dried leaves smell of saffron when rubbed ESP?
It is derived from the Greek words, Krokos for saffron and osme for Hell, my mistake, smell.”
Native to the grasslands of southern and eastern Africa the leaves are a give away that it is in the iris family.
A slightly disturbing picture I know, but one that leads me to the non-botanical final thistle of this gargantuan post…
The band traveled to Scotland and competed at
Perth and the
on a packed Glasgow Green.
Last minute tuning before the competition.
Here is a link to Silver Thistle’s Facebook page:
and our official website:
We practice twice a week at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School and once a month publicly at Opal Divines Davenport and we are always looking for new pipers and drummers.
Hope to see you there.
Here is a video of the new World Champions and their performance:
Back in toasty Austin it was time to retrieve the guppies and head home.
Stay Tuned For:
“King Richard III”
All material © 2015 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.