A Stoat amongst the Fleabane

fleabaneFleabane, Pulicaria dysenterica, grows in the meadow areas by the ponds at Old Moor.

Its ragged-edged flowers are giving way to furry clocks of achenes.

An achene is a dry fruit. They might appear to be seeds but, like any fruit, they have a covering, it’s just that in this case the covering is dry, not fleshy, and it encloses the single seed so closely that it appears to be just a extra coating for the seed.

11.16 a.m.; a movement just beyond the fleabane. Quite a substantial animal – a rat?

stoatBeady Eye

No, its a darker, glossier mahogany brown. The stoat is so close that I can see the glint in its eye as it pauses and stares at me for a few seconds then turns back on its run through the grasses.

It’s a cliche but it has beady eyes. Deep brown with a sharp highlight. It was taking me in then coming to a decision.

It reminds me of a passage from Orwell’s Coming up for Air; ‘I was looking at the field, and the field was looking at me.’

And I’ve just come across this advice to photographers;

‘Be still with yourself until the object of your attention affirms your presence.’
Minor White

I’m still not quite sure who saw who first.

Time for my morning coffee break which happens to be just as the fruit scones come out of the oven. However they should come with a health warning; I break a filling as I’m eating it and have to head back home to arrange to see my dentist!

What bad luck. It reminds me that there’s an old country superstition that a stoat crossing your path will bring you bad luck but my mum told us there was a remedy for this.

At the place where you saw the stoat, leave a coin at the side of the path and whoever picks up the coin inherits the dose of bad luck. However I really wouldn’t want anyone else to break a filling today, I couldn’t be so cruel!

A Cure for Warts

breccia pebbleShe had a similar remedy for warts; pick up as many pebbles as you have warts and put those in a paper bag.

Leave the bag lying around where it might be see by a unsuspecting passer-by. Your warts will disappear when someone opens the bag. Unfortunately they will get your warts.

Not a nice thing to do. I must ask her who taught her these folk remedies. My guess would be her granny, Sarah Ann, born 1850. Sounds just like one of her tales.

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