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Week 27: 7 – 13 June

I’ve discovered that when I go for a walk, I’m not really all that aware of my surroundings – basically, a walk is an opportunity for me to think. So I tend to walk with my head down, looking at the ground in front of my feet, but otherwise miles away. Now, it turns out that not everyone takes that approach. Some people actually pay attention to their surroundings; some people – this was actually a surprise – think the purpose of going for a walk in the country is to look at nature and, in effect, inventory it.

So one day on our recent holiday we went for a walk in the sunny woods and fields of Cape Cod – just Margaret, her sister Gail, the minister’s wife (or “Mrs Rev”, as I like to think of her), and me. It was a shock to not even get out of the car park before the first debate began:

“What’s that flower?”
“Which – the floriliscum herbiborderi?”
“No, the one behind it. Isn’t that a purple-tongued ladykiller?”
“No, they don’t grow in sunlight. That’s a flaxen-haired arglebargle.”
“It can’t be an arglebargle, their leaves are shaped like the sound of emptiness in underground caverns. What you’ve got there is a deathweed.”
“No, deathweeds have all been extinct since the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs. Anyway, judging by the stamen I’d say it’s a bottle-nosed bee-catcher.”
“It can’t be a bee-catcher, look, it’s only got 167 hairs on the filament, and bee-catchers have at least 169.”
“Tipsi Vodcerii?”
“A Prince Charles Nose?”
“The common scumbag?”
“You know, just a thought, but it could be a scragwort. Except they live on children’s tears and there just wouldn’t be enough children to sustain them here.”
“It certainly looks like a scragwort, now you come to mention it.”
“Just a minute, let’s look it up. Yup, here we are – scragwort – let’s see, lives on children’s tears… and in alkaline soil has adapted to also survive on disappointed dreams.”
“Oh, that explains it. Yes, the dreams’d do it. Definitely a scragwort.”

And so on (or something like that – I may have confused some of the technical names) for a goodly mile or more.

Very strange. You see, nature to me is effectively one thing, indivisible, rather like a still photograph. It’s all just “nature” to me. Going for a walk in the company of people who actually understand it has the effect of bringing bits of it into close up, or putting it under the microscope: it’s amazing all the stuff that’s out there. But learning the names of plants and birds is a bit like learning Latin declensions, or the capitols of Europe – it feels like homework, somehow. So I think I’ll continue to let it wash over me, and get my expertise vicariously.

Meanwhile, I’ve slogged my way to the end of the gusset on Sleeve 2 – and it really felt a bit of a slog, too. But it’s speeding up, and the end is now in sight. For those gusset-watchers among you, note that I’ve decreased on the left-hand 2 edge stitches of the gusset, but on the right edge I’ve decreased on the 2nd and 3rd stitches in from the right, leaving the very edge untouched. The purpose of this is to ensure an unbroken edge stitch – if you decrease on the 2 edge stitches on the right, the one on the very edge is always being engulfed by the one to the left of it, like a kitten being swallowed by a python. It just makes a neater effect, that’s all.

Time for a walk…

2 comments to Week 27: 7 – 13 June

  • =Tamar

    I avoid the whole issue by not going for a walk.
    My mother used to ask us what flower that was as
    the car went by at 50mph. I never even saw the
    things, let alone knew what they were.
    Hooray for gusset technology!

  • Gordon

    Hi Tamar,

    It’s just as bad going for a walk in towns and cities, since (a) the contents of window displays can be as tempting as a shrubbery, and (b) at some point the question “Didn’t that [insert store’s name here] use to be an [opticians/bakers/nuclear decommissioning facility/brothel]?” will always be asked…

    Gordon