Yesterday when we walked the dogs on the moor in freezing temperatures, flat, dull grey sky and biting cold winds, we didnít even bother to take a camera because neither of us could imagine getting a half-decent shot. Although it was dry, every other weather feature was bleak. In fact, we know exactly what it was like because a friend and neighbour has a weather station. It was +2⁰C but the wind chill made it feel like -2⁰C.
Although it is still unseasonably cold, the actual weather could not have been more different today. Sunshine has made everything that was grey, cold and grim now seem hopeful that spring may be coming. We took advantage of the lovely weather to take JD swimming in Golddiggings, an ex-granite quarry that many people will recognise if they have ever seen Stereophonics video for ďWhy does it always rain on me?Ē because it is the place they jump off into the water. We ambled about thoroughly enjoying the day.
I have a complete fascination with mosses, liverworts and lichens and there are loads of them to see around here. There is an endemic species Ė Cornish Path Moss, that is only found in two places on Earth and both of them are within a mile of our home. There is also a strange species, Schistostega pennata, which glows Ė itís known as Goblinís Gold. Itís not that unusual in as much as itís found in many countries, but it needs very specific conditions to grow and it likes it around here. I am by no means an expert in these things but I can tell that there are many different species present but have no idea how to go further to put names to what I see.
Iíd been photographing a black lichen with amazing red fruiting bodies protruding above it among other things but then I noticed what looked like a dead fox on top of a dry stone wall. When I got closer, I realised it wasnít a fox but this incredible moss. The seed pods are the most glorious colour and I can assure anyone who is like me and has to touch everything, they felt completely fantastic too.
One of these days, when weíre back on our feet financially, I am going to buy a good field guide to these amazing things and go and find out what it is Iíve been looking at for all this time. Iíve tried to find a photo of something similar and the best I can find is something called ďredshankĒ thatís also got red seed pods although the photo of it looked quite different.
Did you know that mosses are not like other plants? Whereas most plants reproduce by pollination, mosses reproduce by motile sperm that swim around in the damp conditions that mosses like to find a suitable mate. Isnít that weird?
Ooopps - what an idiot - it is Travis not Stereophonics! Thanks Christa!
For a look at the video with the place where JD was swimming go here.