Please forgive me, it's been some weeks since my last confession. Stood at my log cabin door sunglasses on for the intermittent brightness, fleece zipped up, watching the swollen brown river lick the muddy banks and hanging new foliage as it passes relentlessly by. Without a doubt it's an overcoat warmer down here at the Biblins than our Saddleworth roots. But I'm not feeling it today. This last few weeks we really have had every season in one day.
Willow has been in leaf for weeks and horsechestnut has simply exploded within the last two days. Ash and beech are holding back, but the hazel rods seem to grow daily and are full of bud. My main concern is the same as the previous two springs of our new life at Biblins. That of learning the flora. We have yet another IOL Practitioners course to deliver and though it's easy to bamboozle the ignorant with the old favourites, it really tests the metal when someone points to a leaf among leaves and says "so what is that then?"
I'm watching the nettles and the new bramble shoots, and knowing me I'll watch them past their prime, to make string. Last seasons courses used up my reserves and I had to resort to raffia for our March course.
The wild garlic is already in flower and just a few places remain where we can gather enough crunchy fresh green for salad or spinach. Up until this week it's appeared in almost everything since first appearing very early March. Ramson omlette and ramson ritta (yoghurt dip for curry) are clear winners. Jack by the hedge is in bloom and leaf just in time to replace it, but lacks the subtlety. That's enough foraging from "river cabin".
Thanks for all your encouraging emails and support for our new bushcraft and wild camping venues.
Graeme, Sue, Steve, Harry, Mickie and Lucy (dog).