Monday was a perfect late spring day, sunny and warm with a lovely quality of light, and driving across 'the moss' to Southport was a really special experience. The hawthorn hedges were full of creamy may blossom, and the verges were packed with drifts of frothy white Queen Anne Lace, less romantically called cow parsley. The winter wheat in the fields was already a foot high, in others tiny plants that would turn into fat round cabbages, and in many were the geometrically straight rows of ridges hiding the seed potatoes that will swell and grow into one of Lancashire's most famous crops.
No time to stop and photograph, unfortunately, as we had to call at the hospital. As the hedges gave way to the ditches the luscious black loamy soil had been ploughed and harrowed and smoothed to perfection. A lot of turf is grown commercially around here, in great fields of grassy billiard-table perfection. And close by and into the distance are large fields of oil-seed rape already in full bloom, the acid yellow that always seems to be so un-English in colour.
Some people love the mountains, but I love our wide-open landscape, with its white-painted cottages, and distant vistas, and the seasonal changes to the agricultural crops. I never get enough of looking at it.
Our part of the world lies on the Lancashire plain, very flat with huge skies like a bowl overhead, ringed with hills in the distance - the Pennines to the east, the Lakeland mountains to the north and the Welsh hills to the west. This was once marshy land full of meres and mystery, peat bog - peat moss - which accounts for the name The Moss. The narrow, uneven road is like a causeway between deep ditches; the farmers were busy clearing out the winter mud from the ditches, and in one field were laying more drainage.
From the hospital we went to a garden centre for a coffee and a wander. We have no garden now, so we enjoyed strolling around the plant areas, taking photographs of some of the flowers.
All these photos were taken with my I-phone. Fortunately there was very little breeze so the flowers kept nice and still.
And the sun had brought out a swarm of ladybirds!