Friday, 26 February 2016

Enchanted Places ... A Secret Garden

It's a wonderful feeling when you come across something unexpected.
I was being the intrepid explorer - wandering into the unknown.
It was a patch of land behind a churchyard that first aroused my curiosity.
Venturing in, I did not know what I would find - probably trespassing on private property.
There were firs and tree saplings, old dried out grasses and ivy scrambling along the ground.
It was eerily quiet.
I spotted a clearing, and then gasped in surprise, there, right in front of me, was a woodland glade full of snowdrops.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something else.
An old dilapidated building.
In the middle of this wildwood.
Three plastered walls; the roof long fallen in, roof tiles shattered on the floor like a terracotta mosaic;  glassless windows with ivy hanging like curtains.

My imagination went into overdrive; what was the building used for? Who had lived there? Why had it been abandoned?
I went inside to get the feel of the place but it held on to its secrets.  It remains a mystery.

I called out to my husband excitedly - 'Look what I have found'.
I could hear him approaching as he stepped on fallen twigs; the cracking and snapping echoing round this secret place.
We poked around for a while searching for clues - but found nothing.

I had originally been hunting for aconites to photograph, and instead found a snowdrop wood and the romance of a mysterious building, or at least the remains of one.  It made my day (it doesn't take much to make me happy)!

Behind dark, twining ivy
On an old Victorian wall
Where moths and small flies flutter
And spiders weave and crawl
There's a rusty lock that's hidden
In a peeling old oak door
They who find the key are bidden
To unlock a treasure store
For behind those creaky hinges
lies a garden of delights
Only known to special people
Who appreciate such sights.

M. Nash ~ The Secret Garden


Friday, 19 February 2016

Water, Water, Everywhere ~ Walking The Water Meadows ...

Wellington boots were the order of the day.
We visited the local water meadows.
An overflow for the lake and canal.
The water meanders through the meadows in sinuous curves.
It is a very watery place.
And in winter wellington boots are an absolute must.
Mud is plentiful.
The sun was bright but the wind was icy cold and invigorating.
It was very soggy underfoot.
Following the water course is a scrubby woodland full of brash undergrowth with secret places.
The sort of untamed wilderness that I love; where tangles of branches and brambles twine together. Where ancient hawthorns stand gnarled and knobbly.
Where wild animals make their homes and birds sing, unseen.
There is freedom to roam; to explore and exclaim at the beauty of it all.
The water wends its way through the fields; tumbling over rocks and fallen branches.
Swift eddies swirling past obstacles.
A place where King Cups grow and Pussy Willow reaches for the sky.
My kind of place.


Directional arrows that can't quite make their mind up!
Everywhere water is a thing of beauty, gleaming in the dewdrops; singing in the summer rain; shining in the ice-gems till the leaves all seem to turn to living jewels; spreading a golden veil over the setting sun; or a white gauze around the midnight moon ~ John Ballantine Gough

Friday, 12 February 2016

When Gravity Takes Over ...

Or, how to lose your dignity in one easy lesson

I hit the ground with a thud.
My body jarring on impact with the solid surface of the road.
I stumbled.
And tumbled.
And fell.

It was the mud that was the culprit.
Stepping off the road to let a car pass on the narrow lane.
I lost my balance as my boots sank into the soft mud of the verge.
I toppled.
I lay sprawled and undignified in the mud and puddles.
Don't laugh.

A hand reached out to pull me up.
My husband.
A look of concern on his face.
'Are you alright?'
I was winded, but unhurt, except for a throbbing where my head hit the road.
Possibly a few bruises will show themselves later.
But no bones broken.

I told him I was fine.
But fine.
What hurt most was my loss of dignity.

My clothes were filthy; my jeans, my coat, my gloves all caked with muck.
I turned round to go home; ending the walk before it had hardly begun.
Luckily we were the only two about - no one else to see my fall from grace.
How embarrassing that would have been.
I have an irrational fear of falling.
Always have had.
The ground is unyielding; hard; and it hurts when you make contact.
The air forced out of your body with a grunt.
No, not dignified at all.

But, no harm done.
Just a dent in my pride.
It could have been worse.


Friday, 5 February 2016

And The Songbird Sweetly Sings ...

Most days I take my daily stroll on the same route around the village.
I see the same fields every day;
The same lanes and roads;
The same houses;
Sometimes even the same people walking the same way as me every day.

I know which trees the squirrels prefer and see them leaping from branch to branch.
I know where the snowdrops will appear in the ditches.
I know which part of the hedgerow the pigeons will burst out from as I pass by.
I know the territories of the robins as I hear them singing their song.
I know where animals make their nests in the bole of a tree.
All this is catalogued in my brain.
This is the advantage of walking the same route every day in every season.
You look more closely, observe and remember.

But, just as everything is the same, there are also differences.
A tree succumbs to the strong winds, the top snaps and crashes to the ground.
The trunk rent asunder.
Branches and debris scattered across the road.
Raw scars where limbs have been ripped off.
Ivy still clinging to the trunk.
Old birds nests flung into the fields.

And in the midst of the gale above the whining of the wind I hear a different song.
A Mistle* Thrush.
It's voice loud and clear.
A clarion call, so distinctive and melodic.
I stopped and stood still in the lane, buffeted by the gusts; scarf flapping; hair wild and wind blown.
Entranced by the sheer beauty of the thrush song.
High in the tree tops.
A silhouette against the blue of the sky and the scudding clouds.
Enthralled, almost forgetting we were in the middle of a windstorm.
The Mistle Thrush, or Storm Cock, who loves wild, windy weather.
Who sings in celebration.
Simply beautiful.


*So called because of their fondness of Mistletoe berries.