Sunday, 18 May 2014

Tale of Two Counties

This has been a weekend of birdsong in sunshine,angelica scented breezes and long, long walks.  It has been a tale of two counties, buttressed against each other, yet differing in their own ways.

Firstly in the footsteps of the men of iron, along a road towards a ringed ditch and former fort.  One of many in a line from Oxton to Calverton.
Through the gate and under the trees, alongside farmland and by the side of a generous hedgerow.  All the while the summer sky rings with the rising rivalry of skylarks; very much the song of Nottinghamshire fields.  They nest where miners once delved or where farmers still plough.  You have to peer to see the small brown bugler, plain in hue but bright with sound as he rises higher and higher over his chosen nest.
Stitchwort and speedwell pepper the ground, as burdocks swell and may blossoms stinking warms the air.  This is a short walk, under oaks, towards the higher ground that looks outwards towards the more northern fort of Oxton.

Trees now people the fort, amongst a carpet of wild garlic.  Little paths invite you to wander and the cool green is sanctuary from the overwarm May sunshine.  A quick drink in of this little bit of magic before our feet turn for home.

The second tale is one of a Leicestershire woodland ghost.  Now long gone, once covering the county. Cutting through the heart of Charnwood is a road of iron. Today it takes nolstagia seekers on short hop journeys, drawn into their daydreams by a puffing horse.  Along side this road runs footpaths: some new, some old, streams from the bigger River Soar and tarmac roads through long settled villages.  These paths are the ones from my childhood, walked with my Dad, Sunday after Sunday.  The sounds and smells of this countryside can bring on instant memories.
 Further south than the iron fort, this is a gentler roll to the land, softer curves and different soil. The shift is a subtle one, though there was still room for the miner to delve, even here.
The hedgerows reveal more colour, with red campion and meadow buttercup hiding between the angelicas and burdocks.  In the distance seas of wheat ebbed and flowed in the breeze.
The air is animal scented and hot, the birds song is fields away from skylark, more warbler and hedgerow tit: chiff chaff, chiff chaff; little bit of bread and no cheese.  All the while rooks squabble and cackle in the tree line and the night animal pathways wend under our feet.
Yesterday the swifts screamed and looped over head, today the silent swallow buzzed the grass in the search for flies.

We circled the iron rails through little tunnels and alongside fields, until we returned to the point where we had begun.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Tammie's neighbours

Inspired by Tammie Lee's morning post (well morning here in the UK)  I couldn't resist reproducing her photograph in paint.