Monday 24 December 2018

Bringing in the green...

It's been a tough few weeks - one of those periods where even stopping to reflect has been difficult. On a dark windy solstice day I decided I needed to take time out to just take stock and listen to the wind as it whispered through the trees.

My favourite local hollow lane, holloway, dark lane or deep lane is just up the road from me. It's short unlike some of its more famous neighbours, but I find it the most atmospheric. Iv'e foraged here, brewed tea, slept, day dreamed and generally switched off, but today I just wanted to take in the air. I see it in all seasons, but like it with its thin winter cloak.

It worked. As soon as I dropped down into it I knew I had done the right thing. The quiet, other than the eery tune of wind above, was just the tonic - I walked, slipped and stumbled its full length before turning back for the steep climb.

I found, or it found me, the perfect yule log which is now drying by the fire for the festive days ahead. Some holly to green the house and all is looking good. Make time to stop. There will hopefully be more opportunities in the dark days ahead, but for now I am content to have heard the sound of the wind on this the shortest of days.  

Friday 21 December 2018

Rude veg

It's juvenile I know, but what with the current craze for wonky veg (you're all light years behind me by the way) I couldn't resist these two recent finds. The carrot was my very own and the butternut squash was in our veggie box - I am sure the box chaps do it on purpose as this is not the first ummm, well you know, appendage, ummm thingummy shaped won't be the last either I bet. 

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Gone, but not forgotten

Elements of the landscape or items that form part of a buildings structure should never be taken for granted. It's easy to do so as these things we have likings for just tend to be in the background giving us comfort as we go about our everyday business.

One such example is my post box - not a local post box for me, but one I have passed, admired and visited often on my travels. I have liked it so much that I reserved it for the posting of my extra special mail. 

I remember the time the bees took over the box - I watched them for a considerable time as no vehicle or pedestrian came down that country lane. It formed part of an old tumbling cob farm out-building. I have a liking for the building as well with its corrugated iron and general untidiness.

I shall post my special post from this box no has gone, but certainly not forgotten. 

Friday 14 December 2018

The social pike

I hadn't been fishing for weeks and weeks. You know how it goes....stuff comes up from all angles and it just doesn't happen. The date had been in the diary for weeks. It was never going to move as it is one of the most eagerly awaited trips of the fishing season - The Christmas Pike Social.

I fish with my pal Jim regularly, but this trip involves another good friend who I sadly only seem to see on this festive social trip and we enjoy the day from the minute we start planning where, what food, what libations and then it stumbles to tactics and weather until the day finally arrives and we greet each other like excited schoolboys.

The Dorset Stour is always our venue of choice and we were lucky after some recent lumpy weather that the river was just fishable for our day. Colour had only just dropped out and the level was down by quite a few feet. We exchange small gifts before we start and then the most social of days begins.

It's not just about the pike. I am pretty sure we three have fishing as an excuse for actually just being there in the landscape, in nature, breathing it, smelling it and seeing it. Each year this trip provides us with pleasure for what we see - otters, egrets, lapwing, water rail, kingfishers galore, sparrow hawk and an amazing rook display at dusk. 

Even though an otter had obviously taken a liking to my pike at some stage during its life I still do get a feeling of complete excitement when I see one on my fishing trips. 

The wind was biting. One of those squally windy days which Simon said "send kids and cats loopy" - it was cold too. They generally are from the east. We would be fine though as the social provides - Kelly Kettle tea, pork pie, mince pies, stollen, whisky and pickled onions.

The fishing was hard as it can be on such days, but the river did grant us a wish to see a fish or two and bring some Christmas cheer. We three, kings of the river for a day reflected on what had been a special day as we trudged across the fields to the twinkling festive lights of the village and home to warm fires and liquid cheer....