Blooming brilliant bottled memories

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Last week, I went for my first long walk since losing the dog and it took quite a bit of getting used to.

Despite it being the middle of October at the time of writing, we still haven’t had a frost yet, so to take up my attention and to help stop thinking about her, I decided to try and see how many different wild flowers were still in bloom during my outing.

Using my digital camera as a notebook, I started snapping any that I saw still with fresh blooms. My route covered different habitats around Selkirk including riverside, woodland, pasture and arable fields, so there was plenty of scope for variety.

When I got back I reviewed my pictures and was quite surprised to find that I had snapped 20 species. The full list is as follows: forget-me-not, bush vetch, red campion, Himalayan balsam, creeping buttercup, daisy, red clover, mouse-ear hawkweed, spear thistle, harebell, white clover, devil’s-bit scabious, redshank, herb Robert, ragwort, red deadnettle, common fumitory, large-flowered hemp-nettle, sun spurge and groundsel.

Even at this time of year there’s lots of botanical interest still around.

The route of my walk took me over a wooded hillock, which used to be the town tip during my childhood and it was always a great attraction for boys with bikes.

It is virtually invisible now as nature reclaims it after years of neglect.

As my feet shuffled through the autumn leaves, my boot connected with something solid.

Looking down I saw that it was the base of a bottle sticking out of the ground.

Easing it gently from its resting place, I discovered that it was an old milk bottle.

Emblazoned across one side in bold black script were the words “Stephens Dairy Selkirk”.

Immediately, I was transported back to my childhood days in the 1950s in Bannerfield as the memories came flooding back about local milkman John Stephen delivering milk in his pick-up truck.

I couldn’t resist placing it on a nearby drystane wall and photographing it against the town in the distance.

I wondered how many of those houses that bottle had been inside during its time.

I couldn’t face throwing it away so I popped it in my rucksack and took it home for cleaning and re-use as a vase for flowers.

It was good to think that this old and efficient object of recycling was getting brought back into use after decades of dormancy.

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