Monday, May 5, 2008


May blossom- the first of the heavy, nostalgic smelling white flowers of Summer- a smell that overwhelms you and is on the edge of being unpleasant, it is so powerful. First you have the May, then the Rowan. then the Elder and also the Meadow Sweet: all have variations of this overpowering Summer scent.

My mother having been born on May 1st 1900- and her second name predictably May- there was always tension, checking whether the Hawthorns were flowering on her birthday. On her 100th birthday on May 1st 2000, I found some blooming and turned her into a May Queen, with flowers in her hair- although as her African Carer had done her hair in unfamiliar "top-knots", the sprigs of may had to perch in these rather than forming the traditional wreath I had imagined.

Coincidentally, her Great Granddaughter- my Great Niece- was also born on May 1st.

It was appropriate that my mother had a flower in her name as she loved flowers and all nature. A Scot, her first name, Armyne, was also right for her, as she was passionate about the Scottish mountains and there is one called Ben Armine.

Walking in the Bath country today, on a damp, muggy May afternoon, the rain brought out the smell of the first May flowers and I remembered Armyne. I also remember with pleasure her saying on that 100th birthday: "I've had a very shiny life".

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