While yesterdays rhodedendrons were most likely the result of selective planting by the Earls of Shrewsbury (probably from the fifteenth one onwards), what waited for us in the fields where we emerged was purely down to nature.
I love to see a field full of bright yellow buttercups. They remind me of so many things from childhood; the daft little game that we used to play where we decided whether or not someone liked butter by holding a buttercup flower under their chin and looking at the reflection; making daisy chains (don't ask me why buttercups should remind me of daisy chains - they just do!) and, above all else, Parwich Wakes week.
A 'Wakes' is like a village carnival with a fancy dress parade, hill run, travelling fair and all kinds of competitions. It lasts a full week and the one at Parwich (a small village in Derbyshire) was an integral part of my childhood. Somewhere, I still have the certificates for winning the fancy dress competition in successive years; my mother being very creative and good with a needle and cotton. I also have memories of the penny slot machines with the pull down handles (well before the days of the gaudy flashing lights and electronic beeping!) and also, the swingboats. I'm not even going to try to explain swingboats. Much better to take a look here!
But why do buttercups remind me of the Wakes? Because the bungalow where my grandparents lived, on the edge of the village, was backed by a field and, when Wakes week came around, that field was always full of bright yellow buttercups!