After a cup of tea and a stroll through the empty fairground, Julie and myself popped into the tourist information office. The woman there was charmingly candid about the island's size and facilities (ie, there aren't many), but was cheerfully chatty and helpful about what there was around there.
Ten minutes later and armed with a map of the island, we headed west.
As you can see from the map, there is a nature reserve on the north side of the western branch of the island. However, since time was pressing on, we elected to pass that by for now and get a bite to eat at the pub next to the ferry, where I had the oddest lasagne I have ever eaten. For some reason, they were using a sort of gravy as the main sauce... Whatever. I'm just glad I didn't have the burger.
After eating, we went for a walk. However, we had forgotten about the nature reserve, having been distracted by a wonderful shingle beach and a lovely blue sea. That and all the dogs that people were walking.*
On a recent visit to my mother, we had gone for a drive around Derbyshire (absolutely beautiful countryside), and had each picked up a book about British wildlife, plants and animals both. I was now carrying around my copy, trying to identify various plants that I deemed to be interesting. This led to an accusation from Julie that I was turning into my father; I couldn't make up my mind whether to deny this or accept it.
One of the plants we looked at looked, from a distance, similar to gorse, which is a shrub I find to be very beautiful (although a bit of a bugger if the path you're walking on happens to be lined with plentiful and encroaching gorse bushes - complete with thorns. Ahh, nostalgia...). Closer up, I was very surprised to realise that the bushes were in fact lupins. Up to that point, I had always been under the impression that lupins formed single stems. Was I ever wrong...
|Julie gets a close-up...|
It's a glorious sight in bloom, isn't it? I love to have wild flowers in our garden (poppies, foxgloves and a few self-seeded others), and I really, really wanted to have some of this new find growing in one corner or another. However, I'm also fully aware that the law tends to frown on people ripping up parts of the landscape for their own selfish desires. I'm not saying I haven't gently eased a plant or two, or some seeds from their original setting. However, it's actually quite hard to be surreptitious about such an activity when the plant in question is rather larger than yourself and sited on a busy, public stretch of beach in the middle of the day.
Julie knew what I wanted and had a rather less subtle approach.
You know what? I had absolutely nothing to say to that...