Caught red, white & blue handed – the light fingered flower duet!

Pick your ownThe colourful wild flowers on the Piccotts End roundabout have drawn some favourable comments in the Gazette, including one by veteran village resident Mrs Mary Wiedman. But not long later, while I was out planting up the Piccotts End village signs, to my amazement a car drew up,  a young couple got out, walked over the road to the roundabout and started helping themselves. Clutching posies of red, white and blue cornflowers, poppies and daisies they drove off. Perhaps they had read about the display in the paper, or perhaps they were random tourists who were so struck by the splendour of the floral  show that they just had to stop to take home some souvenirs. Talk about pick your own! My photo shows the couple in question – but rather than be outraged and demand an investigation I suppose I should take the more charitable view that they were inspired by nature.

This month’s Book Club was a lively affair. We met at the home of Pip Mitchell who chose Voltaire’s Candide. It may sound like a heavy tome akin to a Victor Hugo novel but it’s quite the opposite – a mere 100 pages, with a story that races round the world at such a pace that you end up thinking you have read an epic. One bit that caught my attention was based on Voltaire’s experience in London when, in 1757, Admiral John Byng was executed for dereliction of duty. Voltaire noted that the English like to execute the occasional admiral ‘pour encourager les autres.’ I’d heard this phrase several times before but never knew its origin. There is a Hertfordshire connection in all this. The direct descendant of Admiral Byng, Robert Byng, still lives in the family pile at Wrotham Park near Barnet.