On the face of it, the London borough of Newham has little in common with Ullswater in the Lake District. However, on recent trips to and from London City Airport I have been struck by a metropolitan version of Wordsworth’s countryside - miles of brilliant yellow daffodils standing tall and densely packed into the broad central reservation of the congested North Circular.
Whilst driving around the capital is an extremely far cry from Wordsworth’s scenic lakeside walk with his sister, today’s commuters can surely understand the inspiration for what is arguably one of the best loved of all British poems.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Although not my favourite flower (in fact I am allergic to the cut blooms), these early
|Narcissis Jenny - my favourite|
OK, so these large brutish bulbs need to be sturdy to cope with traffic fumes and everything the March elements can throw at them. They in no way pretend to be subtle or sophisticated - like their more elegant and creamy-toned relatives (Narcissus Jenny are my personal favourite), but they get the job done: they announce that winter is over and spring is on its way and, in my opinion, they don’t deserve the bad press that they have been getting.
Under the headline “Why I Hate Daffodils”, John Crace in the Guardian described them as “dull” and “hideous” and wrote of his desire to destroy them all. We are also lead to believe that - due to their abundance - this sturdy cultivated variety is threatening the smaller wild daffodil that is native to the British Isles.
But what - I hear you wondering - has any of this to do with being a Celebrant?
It’s all about colour - in this case, the colour yellow, and what its meaning can bring to a ceremony.
Please, bear with me on this one … there’s more to come …