At this time of the year dandelions are in their full flush of flowering. This is the time to make dandelion wine if one is so inclined. Not me, for my freezer is still full of raspberries, gooseberries and redcurrants and anyway, dandelion wine is fiddly, faffy and, in the end, overly sweet.
When we were children dandelions were ‘piss the bed’. I tried making chains from them in the school playground. Bigger kids taunted me. Touch those and you’ll wet the bed. I was embarrassed. How did they know? I wet the bed anyway, even when I didn’t touch dandelions.
There were counting games. How to tell the time using dandelion clocks. We’d blow the seeds away, one o’clock, two o’ clock and so on. It was always mid afternoon or early evening with dandelion clocks.
These days dandelions have other meanings. For those of us who consider ourselves ‘green’ they are no longer a pernicious and evil weed, but rather a valuable source of food for early pollinaters and caterpillars and no decent gardener should ever be without them.
But now, at this time of the year, this first flush of dandelions on roadside verges bring back poignant memories. In the very last days of our mother’s life, when I was making those daily journeys to her home and the weather was so fine, the dandelions carpeted the central reservation of the dual carriageway and every year since then when they bloom in profusion I am nearly undone.