|Early flowering, sweetly scented evergreen, Daphne odora|
The runners wait for low tide when the remaining depth of water is only two or three feet, then they swarm down the muddy banks, a bewildering cross-section of people ranging from the competitive types in running gear to the usual self-acknowledged no-hopers dressed as nuns, convicts, Superman, Father Christmas, the hero of the 'Where's Wally?' books, and all the other outfits usually reserved for marathons. If you Google it, you'll even see one bloke doing it completely naked, his dignity preserved by a thick layer of mud. Actually the layer may not be that thick - the cold water having frozen his assets.
And 'running' isn't really the right term for what goes on here. Although the first few yards may qualify, the high stepping ballet which develops is more reminiscent of someone going barefoot through upturned drawing pins. Then there's the wildebeest stage, where they bounce their way through the water like a David Attenburough herd trying to avoid crocodiles, followed by the snake slither up the other side where their colouring uniformly becomes that of Al Jolson in 'The Jazz Singer'. I often wonder what happens to the wildlife in the river as the herd comes trampling through. Presumably a lot of cod become flounders or other species of flatfish.
Showers are rigged up for when the survivors emerge and the next stage is to make their way to the pub, where the lack of a pint on the other bank is made up for with interest. All that then remains is to head for the Glastonbury Music Festival to do the training for the next run.
See what I mean about the British and nutters?
|Euphorbia characias wulfenii|
|Resilient nasturtiums (Tropaeolum)|
|Rhubarb which first appeared in mid February|