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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wed 10th Sept 2014 - Fort Victoria, Yarmouth.

Carrie's Photographs.

Sue's Photographs.

Once again, it was head west for our GG session this week and back to one of our old favourites, Fort Vic. After a bit of a trek through the woods we were directed to a "clearing" that had become somewhat overgrown during the summer months. This area had previously been planted with hazel saplings but they had become outgrown by numerous sycamore offshoots, brambles, bind weed etc. Team GG were soon spread out attacking the overgrowth with lopers and shears and by tea break the area was looking a whole lot better. Refreshed by a cuppa and a biscuit, we were tasked to tackle another area of overgrown woodland, clear brambles from the seaward side of the fort and to dig up a redundant BBQ post. Whoever installed that post had certainly done a good job.... we had to dig down around 2 foot before the post could be wrestled from the ground!
With the end of the summer approaching, it was decided that we should take advantage of the good weather and have a BBQ after this session. The picnic tables were soon weighed down with all sorts of yummy treats and with both the fire griddles full to bursting, everyone was soon tucking into an excellent lunch. Well done to Steve and Tony for being "chefs of the day" and big thank you to everyone who brought along the food and drink.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

This week’s find - courtesy of Geoff and Tony - is Bryony (scientific name Bryonia Alba).  Its stems climb by means of long tendrils springing from the side of the leaf stalks, and extend among trees and shrubs often to the length of several yards during the summer, dying away after ripening their fruit. They are angular and brittle, branched mostly at the base, while the somewhat vine-shaped leaves are very rough to the touch, with short, pricklelike hairs.

The flowers, which bloom in May, are small, greenish, and generally produced three or four together in small bunches springing from the axils of the leaves.  The berries, which hang about the bushes after the stem and leaves are withered, are almost the size of peas when ripe, and coloured a pale scarlet. They are filled with juice of an unpleasant foetid odour and contain three to six large seeds, greyish-yellow, mottled with black, and are unwholesome to eat.

The name of the genus, Bryonia is derived from the Greek bryo, meaning one shoot or sprout, and appears to refer to the vigorous and active growth of its annual stems.  These grow from the perennial roots, and rapidly cover other shrubs by adhering to them with their tendrils.
Historically under the name of Wild Nepit, this plant was known in the fourteenth century as an antidote to leprosy, while in Norfolk the plant is still called Mandrake.  Its fleshy root contains a milky juice, which is very nauseous and bitter to the taste and of a violently purgative and carthartic nature.  It was a favourite medicine with herbalists, and also much used by the Greeks and Romans.

Thanks to Sue for her photographs and to Carrie for her photographs and Nature Lesson.

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