Wednesday, 10 June 2015


I should not have walked to the postbox this morning. I should have stayed at my desk and addressed the emails and letters from which I've been hiding in Speyside. I should have written; I should have read; I should have worked.

Had I dutifully stayed at my desk, however, I would not have walked across the common and heard the chaffinches, the song thrushes and chiffchaffs singing for their second broods.

I would not have seen the last flowers of bogbean in the pool, nor the first of marsh thistle; nor heard the happy chip of sparrows.

I would not have seen the fragile constellations of rough chervil in the hedge, or the soft small flowers of ground ivy; nor would I have puzzled over the parentage of a thistle (marsh/creeping hybrid I think).

I would not have smiled to see mallard fledglings wrestling over a potato by the river.

Nor would I have met a meadow bumblebee (a male, a first sign of autumn) feeding at green alkanet; nor the same plant blooming beautifully by the postbox (meaning my walk was over).

I would not, on my way back, have made the acquaintance of a handsome cock, nor talked with fat lambs, by a hedge bright with herb robert and wild rose.

I would not have seen the heraldic leaves of hop ramping through the verge.

I would not, reaching my home, have seen flags shouting yellowly from a pool

All these gifts to my soul from the wild I would not have seen, or heard, or smelled this morning.

I'm glad I walked to the postbox.


  1. I’m glad you walked to the post box as well. You have such a relaxed, unhurried style of writing, such an eye for detail, such a charming turn of phrase that evokes such delightful images yet never strays into the excesses of purple prose …

  2. Thank you Rhoda. I'll try purpling up my prose for you in future posts :)

  3. Please don't purple it up, Nick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If there's one thing I hate it's people trying to evoke all manner of imagery with convoluted metaphors that just end up sounding pretentious! You always seem to achieve the perfect balance. Effortlessly as well.