Your points land well. The same is true (for me) of plants. We loved city breaks - and used to have one every year - sometimes mentally pinning a map with a dart - occasionally arriving at the same dart-hole by delicious coincidence.

Food & drink played a big part in memories, but so did plants. Whether it was the envy how easily bars & cafés adopted living plant walls (I was struggling to get going in the UK), or it was a garden, a native species or the way plants were designed into a city in such different ways to the UK.

Recently - I lifted, divided and liberated a ton of invasive ground elder out of some Agapanthus left in a small forgotten corner of the garden. Those deliciously Mediterranean species in their rich hues of blue on long, tall slender vibrantly green stems came from Valencia. The seeds took bloody ages to germinate - but having finally shoved their first monocot heavings through the compost were tended obsessively until the 9cm pots found a home in large pots here, with a couple of horticulturally-responsible friends - and my mum. Yes - you can buy them here at any garden centre - but where is the fun in that?

I always marvel at how a Spanish strain (rampant there btw) can also fins solace in our miserable (by comparison) climate and throw up the summer firework display they do.

It's then made me look harder at bluebells that are Spanish natives over the UK-centric ones and being able to make judgements where ones may be better placed than the other.

I have quite a vast library of horticultural tomes here - all useful - but none as exciting as liberating those seeds personally - and remembering their parent stock in the flesh. Or, the enormous deep-blue gentians growing wild in the mountains of Montenegro. Alpine flowers at the highest altitudes. Ferns that take on an almost Tolkien like quality in rural Ireland. The lucky explosion of a flowering desert in Arizona after El Niño in the late 1990's.

Darwin exploded knowledge of global plant knowledge in a manner - his predecessor - Gilbert White did not. Visiting Selborne (White's home) it was touching that he truly believed the hills bordering his village were the tallest regions known.

I see the point. We are in danger of regressing in our discoveries. Travel is not about selfies, or dinner-party one-upmanship - but of experience and memories.

It must be accessible. The right to roam is a basic human one. What we make of them is uniquely ours. If you clip a bird's wing - you'll rightly have the law down on you. But, what of humanity now?

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Great, thoughtful comments Richard (as always). I may re-publish as a post over on the Tomatoes substack if that'd be okay.

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If your interests are good food and travel and this is not a rant about government public health measures why offer unsupported anti vax opinions and whining about public health measures.

Going without something you love for a bit can be a positive experience. Why the need to be a whiny anti public health voice here?

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The New Era has been consistent in its opposition to CCP-inspired lockdowns and "public health" measures. I'd suggest you go elsewhere if you want to engorge in government propaganda.

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