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The solar elevation was only 10.2 degrees as NOAA-15 passed overhead in the early evening today. The chestnut trees, now dense with foliage and pink-white flowers, cast long shadows on the grass. A man and a young woman (I presumed his daughter) walked up behind me, the man asking 'are you in touch with outer space today?' or some variation. I explained the image loading in on the screen, though it was too dark to make out land and sea borders, and I fear it might have looked very abstract to them. As I left the park to do an errand I noted a burst of blue underneath a sycamore tree and identified the plant as 'green alkanet'. Reading later, I learned that the five petalled, deep blue flowers of green alkanet are edible and can be added to salads and drinks. The roots were traditionally used for red dye. And the leaves, though mildly toxic, have various medicinal properties, recommended for treatment of coughs, digestive issues and fevers. When crushed and combined with vinegar and rose water they are also an effective remedy for burns and ulcers. As I walked through the neighbourhood to the grocery store, I noticed how much green alkanet was springing out of cracks in brick, in shady corners and in other uncared-for places.


7 May 2024 17:57:11


Hackney Downs, London

Country or Territory

United Kingdom


Sasha Engelmann



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Latitute / Longitude

51.554498, -0.05966