Tuesday, September 25, 2012
We're supposed to be catching the tail end of hurricane Nadia, the weather's certainly changed and not for the better so maybe it's right!
Sunday was dry with some sunny periods and a very strong wind which sometimes became filled with blustery raindrops, the sort of rain which drives itself into your face and stings...still we decided to head for the coast...lol...DH's idea but one I was happy to go along with.
I'm not a girly girl, never have been. I don't mind muck and mud or getting wet in fact, I enjoy it!
The idea was to walk part of the coastal path between two villages.
The east coast of England is notorious for erosion with paths, roads, caravans, houses and even whole villages falling prey to the rough North Sea. They used to reckon on losing thirty metres a year but that's increased now, it's so unpredictable! Some places which are now in danger were once miles from the sea.
The weird weather of very dry, then very wet this year hasn't helped any and big tracts of land will suddenly slide down and disappear over the cliff edge.
Since we were last there part of the road and path had disappeared down onto the beach to be replaced by a wooden fence with danger signs, concrete road blocks and big red stop signs.
Some of that new fencing had already disappeared in places and the beach was strewn with soil and the remains of a bungalow that had half slid over the edge, large lumps of masonry clinging to the cliff face, the rest of it teetering at a lopsided angle, it's bright blue but tattered curtains flapping in the wind with cupboards and windows, bent out of shape, threatening to fall with every gust of wind.
It must be so heartbreaking for the owners to see.
Golden dry grasses, bright yellow ragwort and pretty white camomile grew in abundance across the edge of the cliff all blowing and dancing in the strong wind.
A couple and their dogs braved the elements to walk along the beach though I suspect it might have been more sheltered down below the cliff than it was on it. They stayed well down towards the sea and away from the heavy cliff sides.
The walk was, well! shall we say...bracing!
It was what my dad always called a 'lazy' wind, too lazy to go around you so it came straight through!
The sea looked magnificent with it's churning white horses galloping up onto the beach, pausing a moment, and dashing back out again.
The foam was a frothy white plus varied shades of brown with churned up sand and seabirds seemed to hang on the wind as they tried to make headway through the strong breeze, their haunting scrieing filled the air, all at once seeming close by, then far away as the wind buffeted their cries around our heads and away out to sea.
The path was easy to follow when it was there but if it seemed too near to the cliff edge we fell back walking through the thick lush green grass and wild flowers of what used to be a farmers field though in reality it was now reduced to less than half a field in size.
Our return journey was through the fields, thick with flowers and grass, around the little medieaval church, passing through the caravan camp and back to where we parked the car. We thought the wind might be behind us on the way back but it was blowing every which way so there was no respite.
Once in the car the warmth hit us, so much so my glasses steamed up!
The silence was golden as the wind seemed to drop away. It still spattered the windows with rain and caught the car making it jostle but it was good to be back inside.
Our faces tingled with a warm glow and we rubbed cold hands together before wrapping them around a mug of drinking chocolate, piping hot and steaming as we poured it from the flask...it has never tasted so good as when you drink it like this, trying not to burn your lips yet wanting the hot liquid so much...I can almost taste it now...yummy!
It was a good and very enjoyable walk. Not too long as I'm still building my lengths up but so nice to be out in the fresh air.
Some of the pictures won't load here, it says the file's too big, as usual, but here are a few it deigned to load.
view down the beach
coastal erosion: large rocks are placed along the shore in an effort to reduce the wave power
danger sign, ragwort, grasses and camomile
grasses and flowers on the cliff edge with a breakwater in the distance
Thursday, September 13, 2012
I had a ride out with my good friend Judy yesterday.
We decided to have lunch in a small and friendly restaurant on the outskirts of the little medieaval market town of Beverley and then make our way down towards Hessle and the Humber.
It was meant to be more of a ride than a walk (she's recovering from an arthroscopy op. on her knee) but if the weather wasn't too bad we'd decided to walk along the foreshore on the banks of the river Humber which is nice and flat but with magnificent views.
It wasn't a bright sunny day, in fact quite overcast and with rain forecast when we set off but happily it didn't materialise and the sun made a welcome appearance just as we arrived at the Hessle foreshore.
Hessle is a small coastal village which fronts the river Humber.
Its foreshore has a long thin rocky beach, nothing to write home about as it's actually the shore to the mighty river Humber, a tidal river which serves the port of Kingston-upon-Hull, more commonly known as Hull, but it is a lovely walk with wonderful views across to Lincolnshire and their coastal ports.
There's a lovely heritage park there, it spreads out under the Humber Bridge and extends both ways for a considrable distance on the Yorkshire side of the river.
It's huge and has lots of different areas to explore with woodland walks, mountain biking trails, ponds, streams, picnic, playparks and birdwatching areas. It's a great place to walk and spend the day and we've been there a lot with grand children and husbands but we decided that this visit we'd only go to the foreshore where the park ends as it meets the sea.
We found a space to park the car right next to the river, not a lot of visitors drive this far down as they follow the signs to the Humber Bridge Park but that car park is a good fifteen minutes walk away (and costs too!) with lots of steps down through the woods so we always see if there's a space nearer in a small parking area which the locals know about, you can get into the heritage park this way too if you want, and on this occasion we were lucky.
We began to walk down towards the Humber Bridge, the suspension bridge which crosses the boundry between the counties of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
It was warm but quite blustery and the wind pulled gently at our hair and set our clothing to disarray as we strolled along the top of the grassy bank.
Seabirds scried as they hung on the wind, their feathers seeming to flap on their outstretched wings.
And a little orange tug boat chugged it's way slowly up river towards the harbour mouth.
The warm and welcome sun cast glistering silvery glints in a wide fan across the calm expanse of water as she peeked between the grey clouds which scudded along leaving patches of blue in their wake.
She gleamed on the vast structure of the bridge so it seemed to be made out of silver in the ethereal setting it created.
We sat on a well placed bench and marvelled at the wondrous sight.
Behind us the tall sail less structure of the old jet black tarred whitening mill stood sentinel against the forested backdrop, it's millstones piled in the grass as if tossed aside by a giant hand.
And the old 'seafarers' chair at the entrance to the park seemed to beckon us as if to say 'come sit a while'. The lovely double seated chair is constructed from pieces of old ship's timber and driftwood cast upon the shore by the tide.
The fresh air reddened our cheeks as we turned for home, not a long walk but a bracing one with lots of visual stimulation as well as physical...I for one slept very well last night!!
sunshine glints across the Humber
the bridge seems to be made of silver
the old whitening mill and grind stones
the 'seafarer' chair
millstones with a wood ship in the centre of the river and the distant shore of Lincolnshire
Friday, September 07, 2012
The weathermen said it would be an indian summer and so far they ain't wrong!
We haven't had very good weather at all this year, we've been from one extreme to the other with hot & dry, drought, torrential rain, flooding and cold strong winds so it's been what I call a 'green year' with lots of lush leaf and tall straggly stalks but little in the way of colour, and what did flower didn't keep it's blossoms for long.
But the indian summer's bright burst of sunshine and the warm temperatures have suddenly made the garden come alive, it thinks it's summer at last!
Flowers which haven't done well through the dismal summer days have suddenly found a new lease of life and burst forth with blooms and blossoms in an array of spectacular colour.
Insects still aren't exactly abundant, the only things to have done well this summer are the ants, slugs and snails, which we could well do without, and spiders but I like them , they eat all the flies!
Now though, this lovely warm sunshine has brought out a few butterflies, hoverflies and bees.
So far I've seen honey bees, the odd 'tailed' bumblebee, marmalade hovers, tortoiseshell, peacock and cabbage white butterflies and a lone red admiral.
There are even two pond skaters effortlessly gliding their way across the suface of the pond and I've seen two red darter dragonflies too..
The small tortoiseshell butterfly seems to be the most prolific and the smaller honey bee rather than the big bumbly ones but they are a welcome sight after the doom and gloom of warnings of a shortage of insect life, I've even seen a seven spot ladybird...alright it is only one when there are usually hundreds but it's a start.
The plants have thrown out pretty flowers, the marrow has developed two more even though it's marrows are ready for picking and the tomatoes and apples have all ripend in the warmth of the sun.
We've been eating the tomatoes a while now, picking them as they ripened but it was a slow job with days inbetween sometimes. The sun has changed all that and yesterday I picked a large bowlful of warm ripe red fruit, they taste much sweeter too.
We began picking apples yesterday too, the gnarled old tree hasn't as many on as last year but it often goes in cycles of one good year then one not so good. As it is there are quite a few on but they seem to all be growing in the higher branches than lower down, consequently DH had to balance on a ladder to pick them.
We missed the so called 'June drop' where the tree thins itself of small unwanted fruit as the flowers were still on the tree, they were very late and we thought it might not do very well because of it, that and the fact that the flowers were ended within a week of blooming and there were very few insects to pollinate them.
A couple of cheeky jackdaws have been quite good at thinning them out for us...wanted or not!!!...they peck away at the fruit just behind the stalk until it falls to the ground where they then proceed to carefully empty the skin pecking it clean and leaving little apple skin boats all over the lawn.
The mish-mash of seasons is quite an unusual sight as the rowan trees both berried up early, the large one has very few left on but still has all it's green leaves whilst the smaller one is stripped clean and it's leaves are turning to it's autumn colours of yellow, red and orange.
They don't usually have berries until late September-early October. It makes me wonder what the birds will do if we have another harsh winter like the last two, all the berries will have been eaten early, even the hawthorn berries are red and ripe and the elder doesn't look to have many at all this year, so there'll be nothing left for them. The fieldfares fly in from Russia especially for this bounty, seems to me there might not be a lot left when they get here!
The Rosa rubra, a climbing rose on the side fence is leafless in places with green leaf in others and hung with dark red hips whilst the climber 'buff beauty' on the arch is putting out fresh red tinged growth and is full of blooms and buds again.
The chinese lanterns are already orange but the buddleia is in bloom for the second time.
The viburnum bodnantense 'dawn' gets a coppery coloured leaf which eventually turns to green through the summer, it sheds them in early autumn and then flowers on bare stems through the late winter and spring...this year it's been in green leaf all the time and has had pretty pink flowers all year too...weird!
It's a crazy mixed up garden...lol...colourful, pretty and not sure which season it's in.
I thought you might like to see some of the flowers and insects in my garden right now.
Just a small slection, enjoy!
honey bee on ice plant 'spectabile'
'Rosa rubra' hips
Helenium 'butterpat' and fuschia
helenium 'moorheim beauty'
Japanese windflower 'September charm' and two marmalade hoverflies
chinese lanterns and echinacea
Red admiral butterfly on echinacea
bee on pink toadflax
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I'm feeling very well.
It's been almost three weeks since my last visit to the doctor and at last things seem to have settled down.
My bloodtests were normal and my immune system is a lot higher so maybe this is the start of something good!
I actually feel different, I have more energy and I love that I've got back to my daily walks. Sometimes they're just around the village but I do go somewhere everyday.
I've taken loads of pictures over the last three weeks walks but loading them here is so frustrating...they're all taken with the same camera but it tells me time and time again 'this file is too large to save'.
It loads some and not others...mostly long shots, no flowers, fruit, insects etc...and can take ages before it tells me it isn't going to do it...aaargh! it makes me mad!
Anyway...here is a little blog and some photos it has deigned to load!
It felt so good to get back into my comfy old grey walking boots and my 'stay-dri' socks, they've been sadly neglected of late.
When I set off it was dull and overcast, we've had rain and the odd sunny day but the weather seems to be back to our quintessential English 'not sure what it's going to do' type of weather again and though it was dull it was still warm and there was a nice breeze blowing, enough to ruffle your hair, just right for walking really.
I decided I'd walk down a nearby green lane which eventually leads to a burbling little stream and a small pond to see what was about.
A green lane is an area between fields which is wide enough for a farmer to drive his tractor etc through to his other fields, they are a haven for wildlife as they go undisturbed for most of the time. They are high hedged on both sides with wide gappy spaces every now and again which gives good views out over the fields. These green avenues were the main routes for people to walk between villages in the days before cars so have been here a very long time.
This particular little lane was like a disused cart track and had sprouted clumps of green grass in the middle of the chalky ruts making a nice soft springy path for me to saunter along.
The birds were singing sweetly, I spied a flock of yellowhammers all twittering in the high hawthorn hedge before they saw me and rose enmasse into the air to disappear over the fields.
Swallows were chinking in amongst the corn, quartering the fields hunting on the wing, their dark blue wings hardly seemed to move as they manouvered like small fast aeroplanes.
Myriads of teeny tiny flies danced in the air.
And in the distance, a pheasant craiked.
It was still and humid in among the hedges, there aren't many insects and butterflies about this year but the lush greenery is swathed with masses of wild dog roses either in white or blushed a delicate pale pink or else immersed in the wiry tendrils of greater bindweed with it's huge white trumpet shaped flowers.
I spied a pair of ringlet butterflies fluttering their courtship dance together and a lone seven spot ladybird was labouriously climbing up a gently swaying grass frond.
Through the gaps in the hedge I could see a borage field, it's purple haze spread across the horizon like a banner. You don't see this crop very often these days so it was a joy to behold. These fields used to be awash with bees but the summer hasn't materialised this year and neither have the insects.
Tall delicate towers of wild oats sprouted from the wheat fields on spindly stalks, head and shoulders above the crop...my son used to walk the fields pulling these for a meagre sum when he was a student home from university for the holidays, he always slept well after the exercise!
Nearing the stream the phragmites was in full frond along the field edges, this common reed is so beautiful when it first fronds up with a gorgeous magenta-purple tinge to it's feathery plumes, it's so pretty.
There were a few insects buzzing around the water, mainly little flies, and I watched a water boatman lazily dipping his oars to propel himself across the stream. The meniscus seemed to dip beneath his feet and appeared almost too delicate to hold him, but it did.
A water spider lurked in the edges near the reeds ready to trap the unwary, she withdrew quickly when I tweaked at the reed she was sat on.
A large arched and gnarled branch from an old ash had fallen, the jagged scar on the trunk was already darkening and would soon be a home for woodlice and the like, the farmer had moved it acoss the gap in the hedge, thus it made a wonderful seat for a welcome rest.
I sipped from my water bottle as I gazed at the magnificent panorama spread before me. I was enamoured as I looked across the barley field with it's huge round bales and then beyond to the far horizon with Mother Nature's handiwork displayed in a beautiful patchwork quilt of irregular fields and hedges in a multitude of greens, browns and yellows. The dull bluey-grey of the horizon appeared to edge the quilt with it's haziness.
At last the pond appeared, sadly naked!
Not a duck or coot to be seen though I had heard a coot as I quietly approached but then in the dark shadows by the farthest edge of the pool I spied a grey heron...but he'd spied me too and the resultant blurred shot is the luckiest yet as seconds later, feet tucked below him, he was winging his way over the hedge never to be seen again!
I sat a while drinking in the peace and quiet, watching the wind ruffle the pond's surface and set the reeds to a gentle sway as it soughed it's way through the green spears. And that little coot finally appeared, paddling her way round the pool edges stirring up the mud and calling softly every now and again as if to reassure herself.
When she left I did too, making my way back to the ash tree seat for another rest and as I sat there what should appear but a little brown bunny rabbit. It was grazing happily, quite unconcerned it got nearer and nearer until it was about two feet away from me before it suddenly sensed I was there and hopped off at high speed back down the track, it's little white scut bobbing gently and the last of it to disappear through the bottom of the hedgerow.
Well, that's my walk.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Friday, August 10, 2012
It was a glorious day yesterday.
It didn't look very glorious when we got up, I looked out of the bedroom window and couldn't see the bottom of the garden it was so foggy!
However with-in a couple of hours it had all disappeared and the sun was showing it's bright countenance to the world.
We decided to go for a ride to Wrench Green, park up and walk the banks of the river Derwent.
We set off with water bottles and kagoules...just in case!
DH was also armed with three pairs of binoculars...he likes a different pair to me and then we have a small pocket sized pair too... and me with the ubiquitous camera.
The air was cool and fresh through the car windows, the birds were singing and everywhere looked peaceful and at rest.
The wind turbines on the horizon turned their uniform sails in the breeze and the air around them seemed to quiver in the heat haze.
Cows grazed undisturbed in fields and little white sheep, now minus their fleecy coats, munched contentedly on the lush green grass.
Combines droned their way over the ripe barley fields, corn carts in attendance at their sides.
Other fields were filled with golden bales waiting to be taken to their stacks...round and oblong in the shorn fields.
Arriving at Wrench Green we drove through the village to the road bridge to park.
I call it a village but really it's a hamlet, there are only about twelve houses to the whole community. No shops or amenities except an old red George V postbox set into the wall of one of the buildings which used to be a carpenters shop but is now closed. It once belonged to an ancester of mine, many years ago in the dim and distant past.
Not many people go to Wrench Green as the main road signposts it as 'village only' making it sound like it's a dead end but those in the know can access the forestry through the village if you know which way to go.
We parked the car at the road bridge over the river.
The air was seething with warmth but a gentle and cooling breeze floated up from the water.
Swallows jinked and dived over the surface collecting insects and dipping their beaks, they had three youngsters with them. Their nest is under another smaller wooden bridge just downstream.
We used to be able to walk both sides of the bridge but now one side is fenced off with three large wooden slats nailed across and a small gate with a shiny new padlock. Above it nailed to a tree is a sign reading 'Private fishing only'. The ivy is no respecter of signs and showed it's disapproval by meandering across it, clinging on resolutely as it's shiny green leaves wound their way up the sign and the accompanying tree.
We stood a while on the bridge, letting the wind ruffle our hair as we gazed across the river to the herd of cows grazing on the opposite bank, they looked so calm in their rural setting. It reminded me of times past before cars and roads intervened and life was supposed to be a rural idyll...I don't suppose it was really, probably a very hard life but also probably more sedate and stress free.
The stile beckoned us, I love the way someone had painted the bottom edge of the lower rung red...not sure what for or if it was made from old timber but it stood out in the sunshine.
We crossed over it and made our way down the bank to the side of the water which swirled and eddied it's way along. It was pretty full, the rain we've had had brought the level over the top of the bank at one point but the last couple of weeks it had lowered to it's present level. There were marks on the grass bank showing where the water had got to at it's highest.
It was so quiet and peaceful with just birdsong and the murmer of the water as it burbled along, flowing quite fast. Occasionally we saw a fish's shadow or bubbles erupted to the surface causing the ripples to spread around them in ever increasing circles as the swallows swooped and jinked over it's suface their wondrously blue plumage shining and flashing in the sunshine.
The grass was long and lush after the rains, it caught at out feet and made us highstep our way like prancing dancing circus horses.
Wild flowers hid their faces in the tangled stems as they tried to reach above the tall grasses for their share of sunshine.
Buttercups, hogweed, queen Anne's lace, dandelions and pretty pink herb robert all vied for a place alongside the ragwort...I can't pass ragwort without wanting to pull it up...lol...it's poisonous to horses and farm stock, my friend's dad would verbally berate us if we walked past it and always made us pull any we saw...that has stayed with me but I resisted the urge and just looked. It's quite a remarkable flower with it's tiny bright yellow florets making up a bigger head and the insects and butterflies love it...not that there were many to be seen, it's been a bad time for them this year.
The hogweed is in many stages of growth, some are white and flowering freely whilst others have passed that stage and are seeded up for autumn.
We rested near an old tree stump covered with moss and sipped from our water bottles as we soaked up the sunshine.
The hedge and trees cast black shapes across the water and dappled the river's suface with sunlight and shadows.
I lay back and looked up through the delicate leaves of the tree branches at the blue sky beyond and marvelled at nature, we've had the driest spring on record, the wettest June & July on record and though some things succumb or are changed you can't keep Mother Nature suppressed for long, she might be down but she's definitely not out!
We walked in a circle, braving the main road for a short distance before gladly turning into the small lane which led back to the village.
The car was sparkling in the summer sun and we had to open all the doors and windows to cool it before we could set off for home...lol...it was like an oven!
We arrived back tired but happy with lovely memories to savour.
I was pleased with myself as I'm still building up my walking again after the last bout of illness, this was the longest I'd done in a long while and though it was a slower more meandering nature watching walk than I usually do I now know my body will soon be up to my doing five miles a day again.
river looking down from the bridge
stile down to the riverbank and fields
DH on the riverbank
cows on the other side of the river
the old gate across the field
looking across towards the village
DH having a breather on the bridge
blue skies above
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