I recently returned from a visit to California, where my focus was, you'll not be surprised to read, it's flora.
Decades of flower spotting have given me an connoisseur's eye, and anything unusual elicits a cry of, "Stop!" Which must sometimes, regretfully, in the interests of safety, be ignored.
I am good. A white bee-orchid picked out ( but not picked!) in a mass of foliage besides lake Bled in Slovenia elicited admiration from fellow walkers, but my golden moment was spotting a man orchid ( which is green) from a grassy bank in Cyprus AT DUSK! Even my husband, whose hobbies run more towards chess and trains, was impressed on that occasion.
All well and good, but who, you may be wondering, was Marianne North? A nineteenth century botanical Illustrator, who got to California before most people, and painted. Her work inspired me to get off the trails, recklessly ignoring the "Beware Mountain Liions" signs, and look. Her works are displayed in a purpose-built gallery at Kew Gardens. Do go and see.
Here is my California Selection:
A Trapper's Home
Rainbow Falls Yosemite