In sharp contrast to the cultivated clematis of yesterday, these plants are self established on the inside wall of one of the stone canal bridges.
Mosses and lichens are a common sight on dry stone walls in Derbyshire, adding softness and a splash of colour to the pale grey limestone. I remember sitting on the dry stone wall at the front of my aunt's house and feeling the softness of moss under my fingers. It was a good place to perch and watch the world go by and back then, when the village was made up of long established families, most everyone who walked past knew who I was. Even those who didn't actually know my name would have been able to reel off my ancestory; parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins (from direct through to several times removed), place of residence and for how long and occupational status of each and every one. Undoubtedly, there could also have been a few stories thrown in; memories of "When your mum was a little girl..."
All changed now of course! Most of my generation couldn't afford to live in the village and the building of new housing is strictly governed by the Peak Park Planning Board. My mum and dad moved into Derby before I was born and many of the old families are gone. Nowadays, a lot of the residences are second homes and/or holiday cottages. Which isn't to say that the village isn't a thriving, vibrant community. It is. It's just different.
But, back to the bridge! (You remember the bridge? It's up there, where I started before my brain shifted into rambling mode.) What really caught my eye was the fern. It has found its own little niche to grow in; a crack in the wall where two stones meet and just enough earth has collected. It isn't a cultivated beauty, and it will never reach the size or lushness of one of its woodland cousins with much more growing fodder available but, for now, it has its own special beauty in its own particular place where it belongs.