Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home

I think we may as well call this month Journal January or something, as Unmitigated England is so uninviting at present. Let's hope February sees more forays out into an increasingly blue yonder. A couple of days ago I ended up with a copy of the above. I'd had a copy once, but was attracted anew to the illustrations by Rowland and Edith Hilder. Rowland (seen last week in the Suffolk Brooke Bond painting) did the backgrounds of English landscape and thundery summer skies, whilst his wife Edith got the trickier job of doing the actual flowers, artfully arranged in the foreground. Feet up in front of the woodburner on Tuesday I started browsing, and on page 18 read about the extremely poisonous Hemlock Water Dropwort. I knew about its relation the Giant Hogweed, having nervously negotiated their towering stalks on numerous occasions, but this was a first.

Ripple dissolve to last night, feet up passim, thoroughly enjoying Midsomer Murders (always on top form when you see that the director is Rennie Rye) and the twin delights of seeing both the lovely gamine Hayley Mills and the village of Hambleden near Henley-on-Thames. But would you believe it? Number Two in the body count was done away with in the kitchen of a posh restaurant by, yes, the roots of Hemlock Water Dropwort, niftily substituted for celery. Ladybird Books and Midsomer Murders, who would've thought they could end up here in a deathly embrace.  

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