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along the riverbank

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'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 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

hogweed seeds

looking across towards the village

DH having a breather on the bridge

blue skies above
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