Friday, 18 November 2011

Oh Flower Of Scotland - No Flower Of England

 It was a day of flowers.

Strange flowers.

Can't be bothered flowers.

No flowers.

It often irks when you have to leave somewhere you love. It is a trick of the mind because, yes indeed, I was leaving Scotland which holds commands the romantically delusional side of my soul. But I was also returning home, to the North of England, which is equally lovely in many ways.

How nice to be in a no-lose situation. But the mind plays tricks and I tried to cushion the blow of leaving Scotland by stopping in Banchory and filling the car with loaves of Chalmers' Balmoral bread, some Lorne Sausage and bags of Pan Drops.

The morning had started strangely in a floral way. The mild November weather had put Nature in a tizz. The roses were in bud and looking as if they were about to flower. The gorse was half out, giving the roadsides a yellow hue and even some of the snowdrop, crocus and daffodil bulbs seemed to have shoots breaking the surface.

Meandering over the bonnie road over Cairn O'Mount, the pass which connects Deeside with the North Sea Coast and was used by Edward I's army on its return to England in 1296, was a delight on such a clear day. You can see for miles in all directions. The Grampians behind. Angus, Montrose, Arbroath and Dundee in front.

I stopped, at the parking space at the summit, expecting peace. There was also a white van driver there, but his engine was turned off and he was asleep, with a lopsided copy of The Daily Record lying on his dashboard. There were no other cars, yet it was far from peaceful. The noise was quite deafening. An unusual noise, like a child's toy windmill on a sandcastle.

I traced it down to some flowers, still in their cellophane, laid in the stone cairn. In fact there were several bunches and clumps of plastic lilies and Christmas roses. I call them the 'can't be bothered' flowers as they still have the supermarket wrapping paper and the price on them. They must have made someone feel better, that they had done their duty and paid their respects, even if it was in a shoddy way. I always think even picking some dandelions from the verge and making a little posy would be more meaningful. But each unto their own.

So to arrive at a hospital in the North East of England to find that there was a 'No Flower Policy' as they might spread germs, was something which gave off mixed emotions. On the bedside table of the person I visited, there were a bunch of flowers, sent unbeknowingly by a well wisher from the other end of the country. Hidden. Hidden because they were covered in a cloth, awaiting a porter to come and dispose of them. At first I thought 'how bloody ridiculous', but after a while it was refreshing to see no cellophane as recently, in the hospitals I had been too, the nurses were too busy to start unraveling flowers, and they remained in their wrappings.

'Dinna worry,' I heard a nurse say. 'They'll get sent to Maternity. They haven't banned them there, yet'.


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