Saturday, 16 February 2019

A Saunter Around Rothwell with Lunch at the Blacksmith's

It was a cloudless morning yesterday as Heather and I drove out of Grimsby on the A46.  We turned off at Swallow and wound along lanes to Cuxwold and onto Rothwell to meet up with friends at The Blacksmith's.  My wish was granted as we turned sharply at Cuxwold church for, not only was this sunny bank covered in snowdrops, the early primroses that grow here were also in flower; another early sign of spring as were the first lambs of the year out in the fields.

Before we rewarded ourselves with lunch at the pub, however, it was first time for a perambulation around the village.  We started up the slope of School Lane towards the church.  Although only a very slight slope, my legs soon tired; an indication of my fitness or lack thereof. Unfortunately I am not quite in Munro shape yet!!!  The well-kept church yard was attractive as always, the perimeter studded with snowdrops.  From the church we dropped down to the Binbrook road which we followed for a short way before turning off along the track to Rothwell Top Farm.  The tiny stream here issues from a spring and was lined with snowdrops and aconites and the ground was carpeted with last year's beech leaves.  Beside the track different species of dogwood glowed in the sun and added a real splash of winter colour.

My legs are still only managing a mile and a quarter but, nonetheless, lunch was welcome.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Heart Surgery and Home

Normal service has been interrupted somewhat.  My last walk from Barnoldby to Brigsley was punctuated on the return by a phone call from Castle Hill requesting that I attend on Tuesday 29th form my planned open heart surgery to rplace a severely stenosed aoortic valve.  This procedure, I have to say, has gone remarkably well and I have nothing but praise for the surgical team, ICU and Ward 27.  The care and attention I received was second to none.  Looking back now I can't believe that it is only two weeks since my surgery and I am already out and about following the physiotherapists' instructions regarding daily walks.  My regular walk is round the cemetery, only 5 mins walk from us and I am already up to just over a mile.  

While in hospital I was fortunate to have a bed by the window and was able to look out across the roads to the comings and goings of the local rookery as the birds began to busy themselves with their nests.  On the way home we drove through the small village on Melton Ross where the display of aconites is always a spectacle.  On my walks around the cemetery I have been enjoying the snowdrops and yesterday spotted some orange crocuses already in full bloom.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

RSPB Garden Birdwatch

I had received the summons to Castle Hill for heart surgery las t Friday and had been to avoid catching cold or flu.  Consequently I was hibernating in the house and the Birdwatch was a welcome distraction.  Normally we get few birds in our garden and this proved to be the case today, although I was excited at my first bird, a female sparrowhawk, which swooped in, settled for a brief moment and then flew off again.  My list is included below.

Sparrowhawk, female  1
Blackbird                      2
Chaffinch                     2
Wood pigeon               3
Long Tailed Tit             2
Collared Dove              2
Starling                        5
Blue Tit                       1
Goldfinch                    3
Greenfinch                 1

Friday, 25 January 2019

Wandering from Barnoldby to Brigsley

Parking up at again at The Ship in Barnoldby, the decision was made to don wellies as the ground is getting stickier.  As we set off in the opposite direction from last week we noticed that already the daffodils in the village are already begining to open.  These are always early and I used to enjoy them when still at work and making home visits to parents of new children.  I was rather a dreer gloomy start to the walk and the brisk wind made it feeler cool, despite a temperature of 12C.  As we passed through the woodland it was interesting to note that old oak woodland had, at some time, been inter-planted with serried rows of poplar trees.  I understand that these were at one time destined for the match industry, although I am not sure whether that is still the case.  Soon we came out into open fields with rape crops just begining to grow and enjoyed views across to Barton Street and the scarp slope of the Wolds.
After a short circuit of Brigsley past the church we headed back the same way with skies gradually brightening.  Once back it was time for a welcome lunch in The Ship.
Replete, Heather and I then drove on to Scallows to top up the feeders at the feeding station.  Changing the feeders to smaller mesh squirrel proof ones seems for the moment to be keeping them at bay.  There was a flurry of activity as we arrived and whilst walking through the front meadow we enjoyed listening to the mewing of the local buzzard.  The tawny owl was calling as we were walking down to the west end of the wood.  I have it in mind to put up a tawny nest box ready for next year's breeding season which begins in the autumn with courtship and territory establishment with eggs being laid any time now.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

More Horsefield Meanderings

Having photographed the brick wall and visited the post office, I continued my walk out to my local Horsefield edgeland.  The idea, as mentioned in my last post, was to be 'in the moment' and, as Roger Deakin did, to explore the undiscovered world of the nearby.  It was a wonderful afternoon and I enjoyed focusing in on the less noticed side of nature and as Deakin did to enjoy nature by seeing through the eyes of a child.  I think that we all need to do this more often and be amazed at the unseen, unnoticed side of nature that is all around us. 

The Wild placs of Lincolnshire and a Mini-wilderness.

I have recently watched an excellent Natural World Broadcast narrated by, and based on 'The Wild Places' by nature writer Robert Macfarlane.  The programme was called The Wild Places of Essex.  It was very interesting and I couldn't help but think what a suitable photographic project it would make up here: The Wild Places of Lincolnshire.  My dissertation for my recently completed photography degree was entitled: Wilderness and Its Representation in Contemporary United Kingdom with Particular Reference to Lincolnshire.  My major Body of Walk centred on walking in Lincolnshire woodlands and was related both to my dissertation and Macfarlane's Wild Places to which I made reference in both.  I am minded to compile a body of work with the title, The Wild Places of Lincolnshire.  I am also currently interested in the idea of Mindful Photography: using photography as a vehicle for being 'in the moment'; a human being rather than a human doing.  Consequently whilst walking down to the village to post a letter I was struck by the micro-wilderness on the top of an old, slightly crumbling brick wall.  Rather than being smooth, clean and pristine it was a miniature forest; not of trees but moss.  I was reminded of a quote made by Robert Macfarlane in his programme when talking about fellow nature writer, Roger Deakin: he explored the undiscovered country of the nearby.  This perfectly describes my observations of the brick wall and my explorations of The Horsefield and also our Lincolnshire coastline where the extensive areas of salt marsh must count as one of Lincolnshire's truly wild places.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Last Light on The Horsefield

Following a quick trip out to the feeding station to top up the feeders, we belatedly decided to go for a walk around The Horsefield in the hope of some sunset images.  The hedge behind the school had been cut and cleared out to reveal a huge amount of discarded litter, especially along the length of the playground!!!  We soon discovered that we had made a mistake in wearing walking trainers; after last night's rain, wellies would have been the preferred option.  Sadly the sun disappeared behind cloud without colouring the sky but there was some interesting light.  No walk is ever wasted.