Tag: Natural History
How can I lose two 18″ rulers in my studio? All I could find was my old typographer’s ruler, which I haven’t used for years. I can tell you that this morning, having cleared a path to the studio from last nights download of snow, the snow is 650 point deep in the garden.
It was 650 points deep on the drive too. Our drive is quite steep, so it needs clearing quickly before the snow gets wet and too heavy or to trodden and compacted to clear.
This year I was prepared. I’d made up a snow shovel with thin ply and a stick. I will redesign this. It needs a longer handle to get more leverage on wet, heavy snow.
I discovered the best way was to work in chevrons across the drive. There is hardly anywhere left to put the snow! In snowy countries, they put snow tyres on for the winter. Here we poison the place with salt and grit so that the drains will block up for summer flooding.
Cars spray snow all over the pavements, so there is nowhere for pedestrians and no where left to shovel the snow. In the grand tradition of a quick tidy up, (i.e. bunging everything on the sofa) I found the garden bench a very useful place to dump some of it!
It’s slightly warmer today and the quality of the snow is changing, softer and a bit slushier. You can here it in the video of me walking above.
I walked up to the woods, the sky was dark, it looked like a mist was trying to form and there was no one about. They’ve all gone back to work and school today.
I walked around what would probably be called scowles around here, but I’m not sure they really are, more slag dumps from quarrying. The forest has an ancient heritage of mining and quarrying which has helped to shape the landscape. The trees and moss and snow soften them making the paths in between really quite romantic.
Scowles are a Forest oddity, best seen at the wonderful Puzzle Wood. I’ll have to go and have a walk around there one day.
The storm clouds are gathering, the ground is frozen solid, My Daughter has left college early, fleeing the snow that is falling already in Hereford and that has started falling here. And through it all, the Japanese Rose, Kerria, outside my studio window has decided to flower!
Just one flower in a cold, frozen, barren garden. A little hope that spring can’t be that far away!
I sometimes lie in bed and stare out across the fields and golf course on the other side of the road. Somehow I’ve been either too busy or unable to get someone to come with me and walk around that view for eight years now.
So today I walked up the hill to find my way round the footpaths that circle the comb-like top of the valley above Coleford to get the view from the other side. I’m so glad I did. There’s nothing like knowing what’s under your nose.
The first half of the walk is across the golf course. I’ve never walked over one before. What lifeless, boring places they are! I’m sure Capability Brown could have made a beautiful golf course. The landscape is tortured into an unnatural shape that is all about function not beauty.
The footpath back was squeezed in between two house fences, ugly or what? And intimidating. You have to be quite brave to go walking on your own! Public footpaths have been sacrosanct, so building boundaries are built right up to them. Interesting, in that you get to see into back gardens and see what other people do with theirs, but the downside is that the owners don’t really want you walking past them, so they make it an unpleasant experience. Barking dogs being only one of the hazards.
I caught a glimpse of a fox running away at the start of the walk. I caught him later. I’m quite impressed with my camera – it can really get quite close up.
More ice pictures too. Different to puddles as the stream is still running so it makes the edges all crinkly, like Norway!
I had a meeting this afternoon which gave me the excuse to have a walk round Lower Lydbrook, a long, straggly village with a coal mining history, that meanders down from the Forest of Dean to the edge of the River Wye.
I came across a fabulous bit of Ice. Cars had splashed water from a puddle over a fence and the lower branches of the hedge, where it had frozen to create fabulous shapes.
There seems to be a lot of mistletoe around this year. One clump of trees over the river, they look like may trees, looked as green as summer.
I walked up a very steep footpath and found a massive stone bulkhead at the top. It seems there used to be a viaduct crossing the valley. I’ll have to find out why.
The path took me down to the main road, which I have driven down many times in the past twenty years. It’s amazing what you see when you are walking. I was taken by a flattened shed – it must be dug out inside because you couldn’t stand up.
On the side of the road was this now dried up spring – I say dried up – of course it could just be frozen up. I feel there must have been a trough underneath it once for the horses to drink from.
I felt quite brave walking on my own of my immediate turf. I guess the more you do things outside your comfort zone the more normal it becomes.
If it wasn’t so cold, I’d expect to see them wheeling around in the air. They love the thermals that shoot up from the sun-warmed ground. The warm air catches under their wings and shoots them up on high. At the top, the slide off and glide to the next thermal. Effortless flight.
For some reason, I have an eye for Buzzards. I see them all over the place. I have an instinct for looking in the right places. But I couldn’t find one this afternoon. I felt at least one would be hanging around on the top of and electricity pylon. They like the wooden ones.
Eventually I found it. The forestry have cleared a large stand of larch up behind where I used to live. In the middle of the waste they have left a dead tree. I hope they left it for the buzzards on purpose.
It was the first time I’ve really pushed my new camera’s zoom and I was really pleased. I think I need a tripod to get it really steady. Anyway, there was the buzzard sitting in the tree the way buzzards do, just hanging out looking for something easy to catch and eat.
Looking at the pictures, I’m really very lucky to be able to go out of my front door one way, and walk up to a view like that. Or I can go the other direction and walk into town in five minutes.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to get out a bit more. That is to get out of the studio and stretch my legs a bit. I’m sure it’s not good to sit hunched over a desk all day.
Now that I’ve been CRBeed, I feel okay going off for a walk in the woods on my own. If I wait for everyone to decide if they are coming and get themselves togged up, it’s not worth going in the first place. So I’ve decided that going for a walk is part of my job description.
To those of you who go to work, this may sound a bit self-indulgent, you do at least leave the house once a day. We who work at home start in the morning in our pyjamas and finish the day with our laptops in bed, feeling that we probably haven’t worked hard enough in the day.
The only way to get out for a bit is to make it part of the job. So I will take my camera and see if I can find interesting things along the way. That makes the walk proper work.
Of course that doesn’t stop people treating you suspiciously as a lone walker in a very suspicious hat without a dog. But hey! I’m working – so now I don’t care what they think. Isn’t positive thinking an amazing thing?
Anyway, It was cold today and I found these wonderful frozen puddles for your joy and delectation.
Yes, another youTube drawing lesson. I was asked to do this and thought it might be difficult. It turned out a lot easier than I thought.
I had my Annual walk with my friend, the crime fiction author, Andrew Taylor, yesterday. We over do it once a year and today I’m feeling a little stiff. We must have walked ten miles or so.
Starting out just below Staunton, in the Forest of Dean, we walked up to the Kymin Naval Temple that looks down on Monmouth, where we headed for lunch in a pub. I don’t know what the people next to us were eating, but I’m not sure it was dead! Made my stomach feel a little heavy as we headed off upstream along the river Wye footpath.
It was glorious, the beech and the oak turning a riot of autumn colours. We stopped into the tiny Dixton Church for a look around. It seemed to be inhabited mostly by the Griffin Griffin Family who sound like they should be put into a book. A new, carved oak organ loft has been put in, at some expense, I should think, It’s a bit fab and ready to last another 500 years or so – if the floods don’t get it first.
We crossed back over the river on the Biblins Footbridge, which is very squeeky, swayey and I’m a celebrity get me out of here-ish. It was getting late by this stage and we hightailed it back up to Staunton. Luckily Andy’s sense of direction was perfect. we went past the Suckstone, an enormous slab that looks like a crashed spaceship, and the wonderfully named Far Harkening, a cliff that, I imagine, acts as an amplifier when calling across the valley.
As ever, we resolved not to leave it so long next time. We do have a route planned for next time, so maybe we will do it sooner rather than later.
Please vote for the Pink Car Rally coach to win the bling my coach competition by voting for them here
The Pink Car Rally is in aid of a fledgling children’s charity, called the Little Princess Trust, which provides children who have lost their hair (primarily through cancer treatments) with ‘real hair’ wigs. If we win this competition, we can take 49 pink passengers on the coach and if each one raised an average of £50 Sponsorship, we could raise in the region of £2500 for the charity!! How fantastic would that be? It means that the charity could provide wigs for 8 more children!! We NEED to win!! Please help us…..
Please look at the short film, which is introduced by Gail Porter, on the Little Princess Trust’s website (www.littleprincesses.org.uk) It tells the story of how the charity helped Melissa….