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Friday, 20 March 2015

Was that it?

How was it for you?  These pics were taken from the back door this morning - eclipse?  What eclipse?!!  No need for special glasses here we couldn't see across town it was so misty so no sun in view!  No birds going to roost, no odd silence, no nothing really here!! 

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Daffodils - Wordsworth eat your heart out!

 Like London buses first no posts and then three come along all at once!

Beside the lake beneath the trees.....

  Fluttering and dancing in the breeze....

 Well actually no - these were alongside a busy main road!

As was this carpet of beautiful crocus/es (what is the plural of crocus?)

Traffic rushing by just a few yards away.

And even in the town centre at the bus stop the daffodils were blooming!  No need to travel to the Lake District to see flowers in bloom eh?!!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

What a difference a day makes!

Another day another walk this time with our neighbours.  We couldn't have picked a better day weatherwise and such a contrast to yesterday's walk.

We left home at 2.00 and our walk took us to East Coker - where we stopped at the cafe for tea and cake and a sit down.  East Coker is the resting place of T S Eliot and is immortalised in his Four Quartets poems.

Having enjoyed our sit down, conversation and refreshments we set off for home by now it was almost 4.00 pm - I love the longer days and the fact that you can go for a walk after lunch now unlike in the winter months when it gets dark so early.  I am not sure what these trees are but they turn golden in the sunlight - beautiful eh?

 On the home straight now - that's Mr M and the neighbour with the dog.  Mrs Neighbour and I are trailing behind busy gossiping!

We got back at 5.45 - sun sinking in the west but we'd enjoyed our lovely walk and unlike yesterday we'd stayed dry and enjoyed the sunshine!

I mentioned how important I feel it is for me to be in contact with Nature and came across this lovely poem recently which sums up why I love to walk in the countryside:

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Wendell Berry

Monday, 9 March 2015

Walking in the rain!

After several days of bright spring weather today dawned dull and dismal.  I was to meet up with a friend and we hoped to do a walk weather permitting.  Sadly it was raining when we met up at the Broadwindsor Craft Centre at mid-day so we decided to have some lunch and see if the weather improved at all.

After a bowl of carrot and parsnip soup with the biggest chunk of fresh bread I have ever seen, a sit together and a good catch up chat we noticed that it seemed to have stopped raining so we set off  for our walk.  There were snowdrops on the banks along the lane...

... the ones on one side of the lane were all but over whilst the other side they were still fresh  - more shelter on one side I suppose.

 Primroses looked lovely here and there - always fresh looking they looked especially beautiful in the dampness of the hedgerows after the rain.

As you can see there would have been little point in hoping for distant views but the misty effect was beautiful nonetheless.

We had been walking for about half an hour when the rain came down again and after a while we decided to call it a day and make our way back to the village for tea and cake rather than get even wetter than we already were! 

Not far now....

Christmas roses and primroses back in the village...

... a quick look round the church and before long we were back at the cafe and divested of our wet jackets and with hair looking as if we'd been through the hedges backwards - having had our hoods up and down - we happily sat over our hot drinks and cake before wending our separate ways home through the fog and wet.

I enjoyed the walk and as long as I don't have to stay wet I like walking in the rain even if the views are veiled in dampness and as I said in my previous post to be in touch with Nature fills a need in me and to judge by many of your comments I am not the only one.

I have the maps and booklets etc out planning this year's Bus Pass Trip.  I am thinking of staying in one place this time and going out from there rather than constantly moving on.  We'll see what transpires!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Fun in the woods and a gift

 On Valentine's day I received a beautifully packaged little heart gift - no not from Mr M although he did buy me a card - but from Ann who blogs over at Love Making Things and who had a little giveaway recently to all those who commented on a particular post.

Inside the little package was this dear little wooden heart - isn't it cute?   Thank you so much Ann - a letter is in the post to you.

I decided to walk to to the post office to post the letter to Ann, as I also had one to post to Australia and it would need to be weighed, and to take the route through the woods, it had been raining this morning and it was very muddy but it was lovely - I noticed the different barks on the trees and the moss and lichen and what with the birds singing and it not being as cold as of late I really didn't notice how muddy it was at all and didn't want to come home!  On my return I passed a granny (I assumed she was his granny by her age) with her grandson a boy of about 6 and she commented on the mud and she said she thought they probably shouldn't have come to which I replied that it was lovely and worth a bit of mud and she agreed that it made a nice change from staying indoors.  I noticed she was holding the lad's hand and wondered why he wasn't dashing about sliding on the mud and getting filthy as boys of his age should!!  Maybe his mother would not be best pleased if he got his wellies dirty.  I do sometimes wonder if there is a generation growing up with no real contact with the natural world and what a lot they miss out on if so.  It's not just knowing that milk comes from cows but how to make dens in the wood, scooping up mud and making it into pies, playing houses or shop in the roots of the trees and learning to whistle with a blade of grass or how to climb trees ripping one's clothes in the process - or am I remembering my childhood through rose tinted glasses?  There is something about being in touch with Nature that fills a need in many of us I think and I fear for those children growing up indoors and not being allowed or perhaps able to get muddy and to play in the woods as I did this afternoon - no I didn't actually make mud pies nor did I climb any of the trees but in my memory I did!!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Coffee in the garden - yes really!

One thing about having double glazed windows and doors is that it cuts out the sounds from outside - sometimes this is a good thing but I love to open the back door when I come down in the mornings just to hear as well as see what is going on outside!  This was the view this morning about 8.30 am - the frost was white but the sun was shining and the sky blue.  We've had some lovely bright days here recently but the north easterly wind has made it bitterly cold but this morning the wind seemed to have dropped and the birds were singing in the wood and all was well with my little world.

I had a wander round the "estate" and noticed that the snowdrops were almost in flower and there were also a few brave primroses in bloom (and a lot of tidying up needing doing too!)

 Back indoors the daffodils I had bought at the Trading Post when I did my shopping there over two weeks ago are still looking lovely and fresh out in the unheated conservatory where I put them on the table so I can see them from the living room.  They wouldn't have lasted long in the house in the warm but seem to be happy out here.

 I also bought these little irises from the same place the following week and they too are looking good.

And the geraniums seem to be happy enough even though the temperature is rarely above 7 or 8 degrees in the conservatory and often almost freezing at night - in the summer when the sun is higher I have to move the plants or they would get burned to death but just now there is no danger of that! The daffodils in the background are the remains of a pot of tete a tetes I bought before Christmas which lived out on the table till recently.  Once they have properly died off I will plant them in the garden.  All these flowers gave a real lift to my spirits and made me feel happy.  I am no Pollyanna and can be a miserable as the next person when I get one of my grey blanket periods but it's hard to be "down" when the flowers and birds are sounding and seeming so bright and happy and there is a real feeling of hope and that spring can't be far away now.

By 11.00 o'clock the sun had a certain amount of warmth to it although the frost remained where the sun didn't reach and when I noticed that the blue bench was in full sunlight I wiped off the damp and took an old cushion and my mug of coffee outside and sat there for 20 or 30 minutes.  Sheer santosha moments as I closed my eyes listened to the birdsong and felt the heat of my mug bringing warmth to my hands, my sleeves pushed up a bit to maximise the Vit D I might get, my mind wandered and for those few minutes I was truly in the moment and at peace with the world!  I checked the temperatures and discovered it was 15 degrees on the bench in the sun and only 5 in the shade.  When I came back into the kitchen there was a welcoming smell of casserole wafting from the oven as lunch was cooking another moment of happiness and I felt a sudden urge to make some flapjacks since the oven was on and they would take but a moment to make.

The washing had finished by then and I put the sheets and towels on the line - I did manage to get a couple of big bath towels dry outside last week in the wind and wondered if the sheets might dry today.  There's something so pleasing about seeing washing blowing on the line knowing that when it comes in it will have that wonderful fresh air dried smell I think.  I really can't imagine not being able to line dry my washing although I know not everyone can. By the way that isn't one of my sheets on the ground but some agricultural fleece in an attempt to warm the soil a little in readiness for the spring planting - looks filthy as cats or badgers seem to have walked all over it leaving muddy prints!

As I write this I have just had a cup of tea - not outside as there is no sun in the garden now - and a piece of flapjack and then fetched the sheets (dry) and towels (still damp) in from the line.  It gets cold very quickly once the sun goes down but it is so lovely to have the daylight till 5.30 or so now.  I don't think I would cope with living any further north where although the summer days would be very long winter would be so dark.

During the time that I haven't been blogging nor using the computer as much I have had more time for other things and have completed a crochet shawl started some months back. I used yarn I bought to make a bolero years ago and never finished!

I have been reading too and this was one of the books I read.  It was a well researched book at times shocking, frightening, horrifying and many other similar adjectives and not an easy read but one that maybe should be read widely as just becuase we don't see or know about what is going on in our world doesn't mean it isn't happening.  The book is about climate change and capitalism and whether or not one shares the author's views there is no doubt that climate change is happening.  There is a blog too under the same name if you are interested.  If you have read it I'd love to know your views as it is a book that cries out to be discussed.

 As a bit of light relief to all this doom and gloom I also read a book I'd bought in a charity shop just before Christmas thinking that if the Wanderer who was to visit then wanted something extra to read it might suit - she didn't read it but I did and I loved it!  It tells a story of a friendship between two very different women. There have been others, books I mean, but none I can particularly recommend or perhaps it is that I can't remember what they were!

Same view at 5.40 and I'd better stop waffling on now especially as it's Sunday today and not really one of my 3 days a week computer days!

Monday, 19 January 2015

A January walk

I've been on a bit of a retreat!  My laptop which I told you about here and which I had eventually got to grips with threw a wobbly just before Christmas and I could neither shut it down properly nor turn it on and thought it would have to go back to John Lewis under guarantee.  As my nearest John Lewis is in Exeter it was likely to be a couple of weeks or more before I would be able to take it.  I took this as a sign and decided to give up on using a computer so much although to give up altogether would not really be feasible now that my friends all know I can be e-mailed and I speak to a French friend on Monday mornings via Skype but I decided that a 3-day week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) might be sufficient and give me more time for other things which has indeed proved to be the case.  It's been more like the old times using the computer only to e-mail friends and for Skype and I have not felt inspired to write a blog post nor to spend much time reading those of other bloggers either I'm afraid - sorry!

However now that the computer is feeling rested - it ran down completely since it couldn't be shut down properly and then Mr M had a look at it and it seemed to be OK - to tell the truth I was half hoping it would stay in the cupboard for ever - and having just returned from a walk which I thought you would like to share here I am again.

 It has been very chilly today and the frost hasn't melted all day in places where the sun didn't get to it but the sky has been blue and the sun shining so having some letters to post to France and not having the appropriate stamps I set off to walk to the post office going the long way round.  I set off up the hill towards the A30  This is a busy road and I seem to have managed to capture it with only two vehicles on it here!

At the top of the hill I joined the A30 which I walked alongside for a while and then turned off  here.  The noise of the traffic was soon left behind as I walked along the sunken footpath ....

.... listening to the birds above and noticing this tiny violet in bloom in the bank.  Yes I know you will need your glasses on to see it but it's these little things which always get my attention!

I wondered what the view would be from here and clambered up the bank to find out.....

... and was glad I had as it was lovely!

 After a while I came to these steps and once again wondered what the view would be so climbed up for a look....

 ...and once again was glad I had.

 It was so peaceful down in the shelter of the path and I stopped for a moment to look up - not wise to continue walking on a path like this if not looking where one puts one's feet- as I could hear a robbin singing above me.  This was such a moment of santosha - I was absolutely in the moment just me and the peace and the birdsong that I actually said out loud "Thank you God"!! 

See how the yellow catkins are already on the trees too.  The path eventually comes out onto a residential road but still quiet and peaceful and I continued on my way eventually coming out at the post office on the busy main road.  Having posted my letters I made my way home via my usual route through the wood - no pictures here as by now the sun was lower in the sky and it was all in shade though....

 ... the town was still in sunshine. 

Monday afternoons for the past 5 or 6 years have always been my time to don my volunteer's hat and go and visit an elderly partial sighted lady on behalf of Somerset Sight but since she has been moved to a nursing home which is a round trip of 40 miles instead of the 3 miles I used to cover I now go every other week which is how I was free today to do this walk.  My thoughts went to last week when I visited the nursing home and to the contrast between that day with all those old dears (some may not be any older than me of course!) sitting in their armchairs waiting for someone to bring them a cup of tea or to take them to the toilet, two televisions on which nobody seemed to be watching (why do they think old people want to sit in front of the television all day I wonder?  It would be my idea of hell!) many without visitors and today when I was free and able to walk in the countryside and I thought that if I ever get to the point when I can't put my coat on and go for a walk then I'd rather die than spend my last years institutionalised like my friend Rosa who hates it too but has no choice!  I thought then of my great aunt - my maternal grandmother's youngest sister - who had lived in the house in which she had been born and lived most of her life which had no electricity, no mains water just the pump outside the back door and no mains sanitation either let alone an indoor toilet or bathroom.  She was a sensitive soul I think and when she died I inherited some exercise books filled with poems she had written - not particularly good poetry but she obviously liked to write - so maybe that's where I get the gene from!  I often think of her sitting by the range which was her only form of heating and cooking on a dark winter's evening with no more than a candle or maybe a paraffin lamp and wonder whether her last years might not be preferable to Rosa's even though she is at least warm and dry and there is light and even if having electricity does mean all day television! Perhaps if I ever reach that point I will think differently but at the moment it is my one fear, needing to be in a home one day and I remember my great uncle (brother to the great aunt I am speaking of ) saying how he feared ending up in the workhouse so I guess it is not something any of us would choose!

However I will not dwell on such things but rather think of the dainty little violet and my moment of pure santosha listening to the robin's song this afternoon and let the future take care of itself.