“Jurassic cliff top path piece 16/10/13
Walking the path that runs along the top of the amazing red cliffs that mark the beginning of the Jurassic Coast, a World heritage site, here in Budleigh Salterton, Devon, I harvested a bag full of Common Ivy flower heads.
It was a wet start to the day, and pinching off the individual flower spikes produced a very strong aroma, which, as quite often happens, gave me an intense memory trip.
It was a childhood memory of skiving off school and going down the Warren woods, which we also called ‘The lost world’ because of the giant ferns that used to grew there, and making tree camps in the tops of the Ivy covered trees.
I vividly remembered the smell of the Ivy when we battered down a platform to be able to sit on, where we smoked the cigarettes and shared the Juicy Fruit chewing gum we had brought with our dinner money, and watched anyone that passed underneath, without being seen, always useful when you are playing hooky
As well as the Ivy, I collected two other pungent plant materials.
Firstly the Stinking Iris seed pods, also known as Roast Beef plant, Gladdon and Stinking Gladwin.
Secondly the seeds from the Alexanders, or Alisanders or Horse Parsley, a very aromatic seed that can be crushed like pepper, although I think the young shoots are the only thing worth eating on it! Rose hips were the next ones to catch my eye, so a few of them went into the bag. Lastly, from the fallen limb of a giant Scots Pine, I pulled off a bag of long needles.
With all my materials in bags, I found a lovely little spot under the pines and got down to it.
Only had two hours left before I had to pick Louey up from school, so I just fell into the flow and all of a sudden, this appeared…………..”