Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Fish and....

More from yesterday's sunny walk.  as we crossed over the footbridge which spans part of the old Nutbrook Canal, we were surprised to see a shoal of small fish swimming about in the - now rather deeper than usual - water.  The bridge is marked on an old map of 1919 as 'Parker's Bridge'.  We have seen small fish here before, but never so many and recently, there have been none at all.  So to see so many was quite a treat.  Two or three small Perch were easily identified among the shoal, but as for the rest, I'm not sure...
Growing in the wet canal-side ground were lots of Meadowsweet plants (Filipendula ulmaria).  Their white, frothy flowers are a joy to behold, but it is the rich, sweet fragrance emanating from them which first catches the senses.  On a hot day like this, it fills the air beautifully.
Meadowsweet is an interesting plant.  Used in medieval times as a 'strewing herb', it was spread on the floor to sweeten the aroma of one's hovel - or in the case of Queen Elizabeth I (who preferred it to any other herb), one's palace.  It has been used to flavour wine and beer and it is supposed to add an 'almond' hint to stews and jams.  The plant provides ingredients in a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug - or Aspirin.  For this property, it is very useful for those asthmatics who cannot take regular 'aspirin' for fear of inducing an asthma attack.
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