5 APRIL 1957, Page 36

Country Life


KISSING is not in season, the old saying runs, when the gorse is not in bloom. This being the time when the young man's fancy fondly turns to thoughts of love, it is appropriate that the gorse, which blooms a little at most times of the year, is a veritable bank of gold that makes a daffodil display look pale. The dog fox, say some people, sleeps out in the gorse, and who can blame him for having a liking for a perfume almost soporific in its heaviness, or the small bird for hanging its lichened nest in the spikes and thorns of the green and gold bush? Fond of sleep- ing in the whins used to be a jibe against the in- dustriousness of a farm lad. When I was a boy I spent many an afternoon lying watching the clouds on a sunny knoll while the breeze sighed in the gorse around me. Good wine can be made from gorse blossom, but I have never tasted it. This should be the time to make it, when the gorse is in splendour. If cowslip wine is heady stuff, surely a brew of the brighter-than-butter gorse must be equally potent? I was watching a shepherd searching for a ewe and a lamb in the gorse behind my house today. He looked up and called, 'If it weren't such good shelter I'd fire this lot,' but, of course, gorse has a practical purpose and the shepherd knows it.