Wednesday, 20 May
Rather reluctantly I went to the police station today to renew my ID. I’d planned to postpone this until post-Corona but then realised that I would have to do something about it before a vaccine was available. And, judging from the few bookings on the net, there would be far fewer people there now than there would be later when travel is possible again. So off I went on my bike and the place was empty as I hoped. Rather satisfactory to tick one post-Corona postponement off my list.
As I’d already cycled into town and the weather was fine, I decided to continue south of the city to visit the riverside Kungsängen (King’s Meadow) nature reserve. You’re not allowed into the nature reserve but there is access at one point where you can go to see the fritillaries in bloom, a purple or sometimes creamy white lily. They are actually called Kungsängslilja (Kungsäng Lilies) in Swedish as the meadow is well known in the county with its large number of this flower (it’s Uppsala County’s official flower). I’m not sure whether the area would be defined as flood plain but the meadow is probably damp at the best of times as it’s close to the river and at times actually covered by water, which this flower appreciates. It’s not native to Sweden but from further south (the Crimea and Southern Europe) and here it is an escaped garden flower.
It takes me a while to spot it. Some of them look a bit sad, perhaps because we have had an unusually cold week and even night frost. But then I see more and more and, as the place is empty, I can also go into a barn where there is an exhibition about the history of the plant.
Its English name fritillary comes from the Latin Fritillarius, which means dice box, presumably because of the white spots on the purple flower.
It has a wonderful collection of common names in English – snake’s head (the original English name), chess flower, frog-cup, guinea-hen flower, guinea flower, leper lily (because its shape resembled the bell once carried by lepers), Lazarus bell, chequered lily, chequered daffodil and drooping tulip.
I was tired when I got back from what was my longest cycle ride yet. Not a great day on the reading front but I review a historical text and do my daily Bangla. And yesterday, I worked on my Dorset church project making a list of all the churches in the county and their dedications (which saint they are named after) to see what one might learn from that (I know now that there are over 300 churches to visit in Dorset, that St Mary is the most popular dedication and that the dedication of some churches is unknown). And I’ve started to nibble at an article on investment capital as part of my efforts to understand the finance sector in the UK better.