The Blue Flower
It was close by my talking place that I later found an exquisite little blue flower which the teacher said was a speedwell, and whose name I remembered always, but didn’t see the flower again for many years. The other wall was the one at the front of the whole land, were I watched for Dad coming up the hill. There was a well-built, high wall round the big house along the lane, which had ivy in places, and a few little spider-holes and tiny bits of vegetation – walls were always interesting to loiter beside.
Stony Lane was one of my favourite places; it seemed to have lovely flowers and blackberries late. I didn’t go there on my own as far as I remember, but seemed to often be there with Dad, Maurice or the gang. One day I was out with Dad, and for once picked some magnificent buttercups along the lane and lagged behind. When we turned into Scholes Lane, I ran very fast to catch him and show my flowers, but unfortunately fell and really hurt my knees as the road had recently had big chippings spread. I always had a blackish mark on my right knee as a result, and I howled and howled. The thing that caused my heartbreak however was the sight of the smashed golden petals, smeared over the sharp granite chips.
Wild flowers always delighted me and I would wander off to a field across the road and pick daisies for ages, led on from one to another, always seeing one that was extra big, extra rosy tipped, or otherwise special: then I would pick individual leaves of the very thin shiny grass that grew there, which seemed to perfectly complete my outsize posy. Buttercups were nice to see but I didn’t pick them so often. When I was old enough to go down the lane on my own I liked to wander about on the levelled off tip, which was a nice place, quite unlike today’s tips. Lots of flowers grew there, my favourite being sweet scented white clover, knot grass with its minute ‘roses’ and the tiny yellow clover-like flowers.
I occasionally found old wire springs at the tip, from beds and sofas long since burnt, and there were very exciting to play with. You could thrust your feet into them and leap about, feeling a definite extra spring, which kept you trying to go higher and higher with every jump. I doubt whether the grown-ups would realise what amazing feats we were performing, but it felt very good and I don’t remember any sprained ankles, which was surely a possibility.