Friday, 25 November 2016

Of A Questing Nature ...

A cold and frosty morning.  C and I went to visit F for afternoon tea and a chat.  Travelling home in the dark we came upon police cars and two Land Rovers down a country lane.  Two men with black scarves round their mouths - looking rather sinister.  Not knowing what was going on we surmised that perhaps they were Hunt Protesters out to cause trouble.  Arrived home  to find David had lit the stove so the room was lovely, warm and snug.  I prepared a late supper and we watched Jeff Lynn's E.L.O. concert in Hyde Park on tv.

I heard the rain hitting the window in the night and woke up to a grey, miserable morning.  Yesterday we were watching a Grey Wagtail hopping onto the pondweed and picking up fish pellets and eating them on the patio - such unusual behaviour - it must have been hungry.

Rain, rain, rain - all day, non-stop.  Finished reading Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski a sad tale of wartime separation.  Didn't move out of the house or get any fresh air (beginnings of cabin fever).

Computer troubles - no connection, so frustrating.  Rang BT who said the line was OK so I rang my friendly computer genius and all I had to do was click on RESTART.  Thankfully it worked - so simple.  I feel embarrassed at my lack of computer knowledge. It has stopped raining, thank goodness, but parts of the country have suffered from flooding.

A brighter day today - David spent the morning sweeping up leaves.  I found a book on my shelves that I had forgotten about, called How to be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith - it lists all sorts of projects or explorations, as she calls them.  A means of observing life in detail - she calls it a museum that will contain your unique vision of the world.  I think I will give it a go - something to do to pass the dark hours of winter.  I began by photographing the front doors of houses in the village.

A dry day but windy and cold. David's birthday today - bought him the latest box set of Game of Thrones which we both looking forward to watching.  To offset my generosity I bought three Shirley Trevena framed watercolours from a charity shop for myself for the grand sum of £3 each.  I have always been a big fan of hers ever since my days as an artist - so I was delighted to spot these paintings and snapped them up.

Waiting for our winter supply of logs to arrive.  A bright and sunny morning.  Went for a walk after lunch - still dry, but oh so cold - I was snug in my fur lined parka, gloves, scarf and boots, but only walked the lanes as the fields were very muddy. Spent some time making up a poem from the book titles on my shelves - a fun way to spend half an hour or so.

The Country Child
The Night Rainbow
shimmer on
The Silver Dark Sea
Beneath the Wide, Wide Heaven
as she escaped from
The Teeth of Angels
and lived
Life after Life
in the land of
Thirteen Moons.

p.s. The logs arrived - eleven barrowloads - now all nicely stacked - come on Winter, do your worst!

The horses in the fields were all sporting their winter jackets
and the young Oak saplings seem to be the only ones left hanging on to their leaves.
Still looking glorious.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Simple Pleasures ...

An entry from my diary for this week.

The weather gods must have been listening to my prayers; we had a brief window of sunshine  today (Sunday).  After breakfast of poached egg on Marmite toast I donned my Wellington boots and headed off across the fields whilst David watched the Remembrance Service on the TV.

Everywhere was very muddy after the rain all day yesterday (Saturday). Squelch.  Squelch.  Squelch (great word).  The grass was heavy with glittering dew and everywhere shone in the sunlight.  I walked a little then just stood still taking everything in, then walked a little more - even a short walk takes me an age. 
Not a sound, not another person in sight - just me and the wind in the trees - I felt like the last person on earth, it was so quiet and peaceful.

I cracked my knee as I climbed over a stile; it was very sore and hampered my progress. I struggled back up the hill, my heart thumping with the effort of it - but still happy to be out of doors, albeit limping and out of breath.

The last field near home was muddy where the cows had trampled the ground, I had to keep my wits about me to avoid cow pats and try to remain upright over the rough and boggy terrain.  When I arrived home I made a cup of tea and  switched on the radio to listen to the afternoon drama - Watership Down by Richard Adams - so long since I read the book.

Later I finished reading 'The Little Paris Bookshop' - I loved this passage:-

"With every bite of food steeped in the herbs and oils of Provence he seems to absorb a little more of the land that lay ahead, it was as if he were eating the surrounding countryside.  Already he could taste the wild banks of the Loire, covered in forests and vineyards."

Today I decided to have a mooch around the town, supposedly getting ideas for Christmas presents
 - I didn't make it much further than the bookshop, where I stayed - my idea of heaven. I replaced a book that had been totally ruined by the flood water earlier in the year (what a long time ago that seems now).

I also found a  card, which I loved - and bought that too - it is a picture of a member of the Auxilliary Territorial Service (ATS) sitting on her suitcase beside the luggage trolley as she waits for her train.  She is accompanied by a dog identified as the unit mascot (1944).

I finished my small buying spree with a bunch of flowers and made my way back home.

Simple Pleasures by Angela Wybrow
In our lives, there are little pleasures,
Little moments we love to treasure,
Things which, on your face, put a smile,
Even if only for the briefest while.

Friday, 11 November 2016

November - Damp, Dank, Dismal and Dreary ...

11 November Martinmas. The Feast of St. Martin, Martinmas was a time for celebrations with great feasts and hiring fairs, at which farm labourers would seek new posts.

I woke to a frosted, crisp morning with a pale watercolour sky.

The bright sunny autumn had retreated and the weather has become typical November.  Damp, dank, dismal and dreary.  I went shopping, determined to find some colour to cheer me up.  I found it on the fruit and flower stalls at the market.

As the day moved on it turned bleaker  bringing with it the sort of cold that seeps into your bones.  After lunch I wrapped up warm and walked across fields until I came to the top of a hill with a panoramic view

I could see the Grand Union Canal stretching away in the distance

I looked for colour and found Gorse and Holly bushes

I didn't linger - it was too cold and miserable - I made my way back home to a hot cup of tea, buttery crumpets with honey and a roaring log fire - a perfect end to the afternoon.  I refuse to let November dampen my spirit.
Whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul, I shall recall the memory of warm, sunny, late summer afternoons like this one, and be comforted greatly.”   ~ Peggy Toney Horton

Friday, 4 November 2016

Bewitched, Beguiled and Besotted ...


Saturday, 29th October
The village was full or horses and riders - a hunt meeting.  The roads congested with hunt followers in their 4x4's.   There is one old gentleman who always follows on his bicycle - he cycles a long way to keep up with the riders.  He must be in his late 70's/early 80's by now - fit as a fiddle.  He has been doing it for years. (shame about the quality of the picture, I took it through the bedroom window)!

In the afternoon I collected sloes from the blackthorn bushes to make sloe gin and sloe and apple jelly.

Sunday 30th October
A dull, bland day, with no weather to speak of.  The clocks were turned back and it began to grow dusk at about 5 o'clock.

Monday 31st October
After a really foggy start the sun came out and stayed out all day - so warm.  I worked in the garden spreading my home-made compost as a mulch around the plants; raked up leaves and swept paths.  A very satisfying day - a bonus day really, and I am happy that I made the most of it.  As the afternoon began to fade the fields around were hazy with blue mist.

Wednesday 2nd November
Frost overnight.  Sunny morning - blue skies.
I have taken a lot of photos this autumn - because it has just been so spectacular - I don't think I can remember one that has been so colourful, so pleasant to be out in and one that has lasted so long without rain to spoil the effect.
Mother Nature has put on a wonderful show this year and I don't want to forget it - in years to come I will say 'do you remember the autumn of 2016, wasn't it grand', and I will have the pictures to prove it.  Even the words to describe the colours are beautiful - copper, russet, amber, and gold.  I have become besotted with trees.  They way the sun shines through the leaves; the way a slight breeze sends showers of them floating down to carpet the ground.
What could be better than kicking through the leaves; finding horse chestnuts still in their cases; seeing a little mountain of perfectly formed fungi or chopping logs for winter in the sunshine. 
Yes, this autumn has me bewitched and I don't want it to end.  We have already had a frost and the temperature is dropping and the evenings drawing in rapidly - so end it must, but it has been beautiful while it lasted.


Thursday 3rd November
After Wednesday's early morning walk where I saw many people, riding, walking, pushing baby strollers and horse driven carts I decided that today I would prefer solitude on my walk so I followed  the WayMarkers over the fields tracing the paths that have always been used by village folk as shortcuts, via the scenic route, to their destination.  I hadn't taken this path before and was excited to see what I would find.  I found a particularly curious horse along the way.

Friday 4th November
A rainy morning to start so I stewed the last of the tomatoes for the freezer and cooked the apples and sloes and set them to drip for the jelly, but after a couple of hours the weather changed and brightened up.  After lunch I went for a walk on another footpath I hadn't taken before to see where it would lead me.

So that's it for another week - a new month lies ahead.  Sorry for the long post and the autumn overload I just can't help myself :)


p.s.  A collage of October miscellany that didn't quite make it to the blog :)