Common spotted

Orchids – in gay profusion! We have a decent crop in our back garden – a dozen flower heads (it’s probably a sign of neglect…), on plants which just arrived, quite unexpectedly, a couple of years ago. If they’re in bloom, the wild ones must be blooming too. The land near Benthall Hall is now looked after by the National Trust, though whether they’ve done anything to encourage them, I don’t know. Whatever the reason, there are hundreds – ones and twos and small colonies in the meadows, and in the little area of scrubby woodland, great clumps of them. They’re mostly common spotted, varying in colour from almost white to a deepish purple, but amongst them are a handful of (late) early purple orchids. Quite a sight!

Benthall Hall NT

Wellington Scot

46100 “Royal Scot”, that is, hauling a crew familiarisation train around the route of the “Welsh Borders Explorer”. No passengers today – and only a handful of others out to record the train’s passing. It was moving along very nicely at Wellington, seven minutes early having left Shrewsbury on time. (Note the young lady on the smartphone, oblivious to the scene unfolding before her – then, a moment later, looking up and realising it was something special…)

Duck ten

When we visited the Ironbridge ducks a couple of weeks ago, duck no 10 “Lady Victoria” was missing. She had been vandalised (there are no suitable adjectives to describe people who would do such a thing), and was away being repaired. She’s back now!

Past their best

A beautiful day! We’re wandering around Benthall Hall and Edge – it’s warm and sunny in the fields, while the woodlands are pleasantly cool. A couple of weeks ago, the bluebells were at their best, but they’re past it now – as is the oilseed rape, and the tatty peacock on the brambles. Perhaps we’re past our best too? Who cares! Maybe, like the emerging orchids in the scrubland, the best is yet to come…

Blue Clee

The bluebells are out with a vengeance on the lower slopes. The sky’s blue (with puffy white clouds, and the distant hills are blue (remembered…). And there’s hardly anyone else out (were there a couple of matches going on today?). A cuckoo makes its presence felt, and just off the north end of the hill, there’s a pair of red kites wheeling and diving. It’s good up here – shame to have to come down again.

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