‘What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not been discovered,’ wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. Those delicate crucifers with their manifold faces of four pink or lilac petals striated with veins of deeper lavender are the perfect introduction to flowers for children. So delicate and yet hardy.

I spend some of April abroad, travelling by road from an unseasonably snowy Austria (‘dieses Wetter ist verrückt!’ as an elderly lady exclaimed to me) to northern France, and when I come home, it’s to a landscape responding to substantially increased light levels and temperatures.

This was the early sixties. Like many thousands, we were rehoused from Maryhill in the heart of urban Glasgow to this peripheral housing scheme which completely changed the character of what had been a village. Within a decade those glasshouses were abandoned, glass broken in the frames, and a row of shops that included a chippy and a betting shop soon replaced them, betting ‘off’ licensed race-tracks having become legal in 1961.

Emerson, R.W. (1878) Fortune of the Republic, p.3 quoted in Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Rev Fourth Edition (1996).
‘Crazy weather!’
http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/racing/our-national-love-affair-a-history-of-the-betting-shop-804966.html [accessed 11 Dec 2017]