Wednesday 26 August 2020


That would be Potentilla erecta: "As a prompt botanical in purifying the system in diseases of the blood, and discharges of bloody flux. Administered either in a strong decoction, or the alcoholic extract. It is unrivalled in accumulation of excess mucus and the many progressive disease symptoms this condition brings on. To mention a few: the common cold, allergies, hay fever, tonsilitis, cholera, dysentery, haemorrhoids, etc. It is strongly astringent and will quickly relieve pain due to its influence in arresting the discharges and effectively diminishing unwanted accumulation. It is invariably successful in summer complaints of. children, even in cases where other means have failed". [Sauce] sounds like a bit of a cure-all on a par with Lyrica -- stem-cells -- biochar -- plant stannol esters -- Footmaster but I doubt if it will work under controlled scientific conditions . . . and it tastes 'orrible!
Tormentil is, however, very pretty in an understated wild-flower way and an important indicator species for dry heath - an upland habitat in which there is considerable local interest.

I have become more directly interested in the wild-flowers of the commonage up behind our house since the last meeting of our local cumann na common.  We have undertaken to carry out three "Improve Ireland's Uplands" tasks in calendar 2o2o. 
A for A bit of controlled burning 
B for Bracken-thrashing like last year and 
C for Culture
Five of us [not me] have signed up for Fire Training; everyone has agreed to do some collective bracken and bushes cutting. When it came to Who would cover the Culture? I leapt from my chair with raised and waving hand crying "Meeeeeeeee!" . . . under the [utterly mistaken] apprehension that everyone would want something so interesting and physically undemanding. I have accordingly been the only candidate in an election for the local Minister of Arts Culture and the Gaeltacht.

I see this portfolio [I am bigging myself up here] as having a few different threads that need to be woven into a coherent plan; all having aspects of promoting the amenity value of the hill which we own in common. It is a great credit to us, especially those who actually run sheep on the hill and depend on it directly for their livelihood, that Joe and Josie Poblacht are not only tolerated, but even welcomed onto what is, at the end of the day, private property. There is only one family in our townland who has ever made money from tourism through a decade of operating as a Bed&Breakfast years before AirBnB got legs.
  • The Giant's Table, a middling impressive dolmen for the Wiccan
  • The 1950 Marian Year Cross for the Roman Catholics
  • The Lazy Beds: ancient sites of potato cultivation when pressure of population forced people to try farming higher, wetter and acider land. Then came the Famine of the 1840s . . .
  • The Built Environment. This is my gig: documenting the evidence of stone working on the mountain. Including boxed-shaughs, quarried rock-faces, odd bits of wall and once-upon-a-shelters.
    • I'll include here the peculiar horizontal shelves - possibly charcoal-burning sites - which dot the South face on the hill.
  • The Zoo.
    • Buzzard Buteo buteo, golden plover Pluvialis apricaria, wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, sky-lark Alauda arvensis, crows Corvus spp, Grouse Lagopus lagopus, kestrel Falco tinnunculus. Sika deer Cervus nippon, hare Lepus timidus, fox Vulpes vulpes
  • The Garden
  • Your suggestion here:_______________________
The Culture Liaison Officer could be quite hands off; telling folk that these assets are there and giving them the agency to find / admire / photograph / eat the whatevs. But there is a groundswell of  opinion amongst us that a bit of signage would be a useful way to spent government money on the overall scheme. Later in the week, I was on the Daily Dau.II Call. When I started to explain the onerous responsibilities which I had just taken on, she elbowed me aside and told me to listen. Pal of hers, also home-educated, is at the beginning of her career as an artist and she should be commissioned to do the drawings for the sign. As it happens young N is an artist in the old style and is very unlikely to win the Turner Prize. Indeed as I write this, I can see that she would be a great additions to the calling of Scientific Illustrator in the honorable tradition of Mary Leakey or Beatrix Potter. I'll hope for something more didactic and informative than "Hare treats its haemorrhoids with tormentil"

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