Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Scarlet Pimpernel

Out for a walk yesterday, I came across this flower. Enid Blyton called it: Poor Man's Weatherglass as it closes to foretell bad weather.

This flower is also the device used by the dashing hero created by the writer Baroness Orczy over a century ago. Sir Percy Blakeney - scourge of French revolutionaries, is a romantic figure of disguise, wit and brilliance risking his life to free the French aristocracy from Madame La Guillotine for mere sport. The scarlet pimpernel is his symbol.

A humble plant. Tiny, insignificant, yet beautiful. In the moment that I saw the red orange petals I was in the armchair next to my grandmother's bookcase, passing my fingers over the embossed flower-studded cover, aged ten about to read one of my favourite stories. An old friend.

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