Saturday, March 19, 2011

Esther busts the Dam

Esther came up to Rutland Water to take part in the Dambuster duathlon.  An early start for all of us, brilliant weather - frost followed by sunshine.
A magnificent effort from Esther, considering her admittted lack of training, or even proper sleep beforehand.  She herself was less than impressed  by her times, but intends to concentrate for a while on shorter distances. A nine-month-old son can limit the time available for training!
Sarah, Andria and Mable the cocker spaniel came round to ours for lunch - not sure the cat approved.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Drayton House, sun and St Paddy

An early start this morning - picked up at 8.15, start walking from Lowick just after 9. Across tracks and minor roads to Twywell, more paths to Slipton, pausing to see the church in a hollow, detached from the village. Then it was up the road to Drayton House, with its elegant buildings, statues and parkland. The road leads part way round the house, then down through a seriously pin-coded gate and back to Lowick.
For some reason talk turned to the enclosure acts and the verse (one of many versions)
The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from the goose
We finished at 11.30, just before the sun emerged. Barry related the tale of people his home village in Ireland going to drink from St Patrick's Well - but we seem an irreligious lot.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More mist...

blue horizons
shrink to grey
a daffodil shines

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


What a contrast - not so cold, but misty, nay foggy. Certainly until past ten o'clock, when I came back from Kettering in the third car I have driven since last Friday - including my own. Oh for the totally self-repairing car.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunny walk near Ryhall

Over fields, not muddy, across the Gwash twice. A few small roads, and a disused railway line whose bridge has been filled in. Lambs, llamas, rooks and a red kite. A set of scarecrows made from replica birds of prey attached to a stake in the fields, and rabbit traps baited with carrots. Daffodils, purple and white violets and an outsized cottage by the river, in Tolethorpe. Walking for a couple of miles with my coat stashed in my rucksack. Just over 8 miles.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Woodpecker and kite

Out on the road near Pipewell, we heard a woodpecker drumming loudly, and watched a kite flying low, its wing colours picked out by the late afternoon sun.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Back home to the magnificence of the amaryllis!

A week in Doward Farm

Highlights of the week's stay on the edge of the Forest of Dean, with sixteen of us there for some of the time.

Almost everyone managed to come along, at least for the first weekend. No Gabby or Silas, or Leonie and family - NYC is a long way away.

Two or three nights of brilliantly clear starry skies - looked at through the new telescope. Excellent view of the moon's surface too.

And I can now recognise Leo and Gemini, thanks to Harry, Esther and Dan's google skies app on his phone.

Walking through the woods to (we think) King Arthur's cave.

Seeing Finn and Isaac entertaining each other.

Watching Rose making Joseph laugh for ages as they both sat on a bed.

Playing Pictionary and About Time in teams.

Making pancakes in the big kitchen on Shrove Tuesday. I gave up trying to toss them with such a weighty pan - Harry succeeded.

Charlie the pot-bellied omnivore.

The walk to Penallt Church along with Finn and Isaac. Dan and Sara took it in turns to carry Rose in the back carrier. Well done Chloé, too, for climbing up the steep path!

The views over the Wye from Symonds Yat Rock. You can't quite make out the cows like two-dimensional toys trailing shadows in the pic, as it's so small.

The walk near the Yat Rock and the masses of frogspawn that the frogs were clearly intending to increase further.

Having to reverse the hire car on a narrow lane near Symonds Yat West!

Esther's long detour via Tintern Abbey.

Thanks to Esther's phone for all photos except the moon!
Thanks to Harry,  using his  telescope and  Adrian's camera for the moon picture.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Manton to Brooke and back on a chill day

Approximately 5 miles - 1 hour 30-40 mins. With Marta.

I walked this for the second time today. We parked near the pub in Manton, walked down the hill past the new section of cycle track, under the railway bridge and along beside the A6003. At first there's a good path - part of the cycle route. Then there's a shortish stretch of fairly wide green verge. A footpath crosses the main road, so we braved the traffic to reach the other side. Patience is indeed useful. This path leads across the railway line, and through some woodland. A lot of this has recently been felled, so the path is a little tricky and indistinct. We went across a field and through a gate on to the small road to Gunthorpe. Daffodils not yet out, snowdrops still there. At a junction with a choice between 'hall' and 'farm' we followed the right hand fork to the farm, and picked up the path through a gate at the end of the road. All fairly clear leading straight along a track, then fields. As we approached Bridge Farm in Brooke we were channeled into a well marked path with fencing on either side, and a myriad of stiles. Two distinct varieties of sheep here - one rather like the Lake District Herdwicks with slender legs and faces, the other more like cuddly toys with furry trousers.
In the village we walked past the church to a junction, where we turned left. There's a fair bit of road walking here up to the top of the ridge. The wind cooled us down pretty quickly, as we passed a big sign advertising rare breeds and Rutland sausage, then a farm called America Lodge, before the road surface turned to mud track.
All straightforward until you reach an information board about the deserted village of Martinsthorpe. The hall was demolished long ago and all that is left now is a chapel with bricked up windows. The walls and stones near this board are an ok, if a little cold, place to stop for a coffee from the flask.
The first time I did the walk I carried blithely along the track down the hill, and had to come back up. This time I had learned my lesson well, and we took the path to the right of the chapel - across another field, and then on to the track leading back to the A6003. You hit the road just at the junction to Manton and Rutland Water.
A great short walk, but rather muddy today.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

No daffs for Dafydd?

In 2008, on St David's day, I posted a photo of mini-daffs in a pot outside my door. None of mine are so advanced this year - though I still have snowdrops, crocuses and iris reticulata.

Yay, there are some in the next garden - obviously a more southerly aspect, or better established bulbs!