Once again, it was a bitterly cold morning, with a strong wind blowing and a few sharp showers to sting the face. So, we just had a quick dash to Straw's Bridge and back. But, half way along the track, my attention was grabbed by a stand of beautiful, blue flowers growing in the gloom of one of the old railway bridges which criss-cross the paths around here. The plant in question (and in my view finder) has the common name Bugle.
Ajuga reptans) is a member of the mint family and therefore closely related to Lavender, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, etc. Well known in antiquity as a very useful herb, it was often called 'Carpenter's Herb' for it's ability to stop bleeding from slight wounds. Nicholas Culpepper puts it under the mantle of "Dame Venus" and says...
"If the virtues of it make you fall in love with it (as they will if you be wise) keep a syrup of it to take inwardly, an ointment and plaister of it to use outwardly, always by you."
Very useful! Pity it was no good at keeping out the chill this morning and having been caught in another shower - hail this time - we headed swiftly for home and a warming and 'medicinal' coffee and Brandy.