Last night's celebrations meant that we didn't make a very early start, but instead set off after breakfast to drive down to Devon to stay with my sister for a few days. The roads were fairly quiet so we made good time, stopping off for a coffee at the newly opened Gloucester services - well worth a visit. A beautifully designed building, with a gently curving green roof that blended into the landscape. It was sunny and warm, so we sat outside and watched a family of coots on the adjacent pond, which was fringed with native British wetland plants.
As we had a bit of time to spare we dropped into Dawlish Warren to stretch our legs and so that I could see the Sand Crocus, which only opens in sunny weather. I knew where to hunt, and it didn't us long to find the first one, even though they're pretty small - about 7-15 mm in diameter. Once we'd got our eye in we found that the well-grazed dune turf was sprinkled with these little gems. Dawlish Warren is the only extant site for this species in the British Isles, though they're locally frequent in sandy grassland in the Channel Isles.
After our brief diversion we continued to J & P's house, where we were greeted with cups of tea, scones, jam and cream, all eaten outside in the sunshine. The evening continued in the same vein, with an aperitif of gin and tonic before a delicious meal of salmon. And all the time there was plenty of lively discussion and laughter - I'm looking forward to the next two days!