Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Herbs, bathing and in the sand.

1. In the hills, away from the moisture-bearing sea winds, the vegetation changes to low prickly bushes that are all elbows and knees. Leaves tend to be small and sometimes slightly sticky. Everything smells wonderful – partly the heat and partly to discourage grazers. One minute you brush against rosemary, the next against cistus and then against something sagey.

2. We drove across the mountains, zigzagging round hairpin bends and then along narrow, unshaded roads to a flat, sandy bay. It was our first properly hot day and we changed into our bathers and swam to cool off.

3. Sea holly pokes out of the sand. It doesn’t look like holly much, apart from the spikiness of its leaves. It’s an annual growing not much higher than a wine bottle and it has bluish, chalky leaves. I believe it’s a sort of eryngium. We also saw sea daffodils growing directly in the sand. They crouch right down and their lily-like trumpets seem too big for their height.