Friday, March 28, 2014

Wild March

This month, I have been enjoying the wild side of life......

Spring is early.
Colour in the garden. 
Tomato seedlings getting a breath of fresh air. 
Very cute lambs.

I've seen - 

Butterflies in the garden.
A rabbit hopping about on the patio.
3 roe deer springing across the field behind the bungalow.
2 red legged partridges poking about in my herb bed.
3 gold finches on the fence.  

But best of all - 

I shrieked when I saw a huge red kite hovering above us on the valley road.  Sarah tried to take a peep, whilst driving, and the Land-rover nearly ended up in the hedge.

Some wild animals need to conserve energy.

Our first crop of purple sprouting.

Big Dog likes having longer walks in the evening.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that it was high time I explored and found a new walk.  It was very 'Hound of the Baskervilles' when I started out.

I'm not scared, honest.

We walked through the village, Big Dog and I, to find a footpath which ran alongside the road.  I'm not easily spooked, but being in an unfamiliar field - I was a tiny bit worried that a bull might suddenly emerge from the fog......

Even Big Dog looked nervous

The fields were extremely wet still from the floods and smelt very sea-weedy.  I began to wonder what I was doing squelching through the fog in the eerie silence.  Once we found the village church, I knew I was on the right track though.

The 13th Century church.

We had a look at the clapper bridge nearby.  It consists of three large, limestone slabs and is probably 17th or 18th Century.

The clapper bridge

I stopped outside a mid 18th Century manor house to ask directions as the footpath went straight through the middle of the farm.  Luckily the owner was there to ask.  We eventually found ourselves in the next village and in completely new territory.

This church is also 13th Century.

I found a fork in the path and with a lot of head scratching and squinting at the map I decided to just go with my gut feelings.

We walked up what seemed like a never ending tree lined path.

The hill started to flatten out but I was so disappointed that there was still fog on the top!

Walking in to more swirling fog and wondering whether I took the right path!

All I could hear were lambs and birds.  Occasionally the mist would clear in a tiny pocket and I would have a tantalising peep at the amazing view down in to the valley and over to the hills that I have walked before on the other side.  The sun started to burn away the mist as we found the footpath back downhill.

Solid chalk footpath.

It was very exciting to be out in the middle of nowhere, although we were both flagging at this point.  A break was needed.  We dragged ourselves back past the manor house and along the road to a suitable spot where rooks cawed in their nests above us.

Big Dog had a well earned dip.

I found a very inviting tree to climb and rest my aching legs.

I ate my chewy bar whilst Big Dog acted as look out.

Luckily, no one around to see a mad, middle aged woman sat in a tree......

We slowly carried our weary bones home, along the sunny lane. 

My hay fever inducing nemesis returns, the rape seed.

The evil one.

 Back through the deserted farm buildings

Beautiful blossom by the Dovecote - nearly home.....!

3 hours and 7 miles later I collapsed on the sofa.

I think I have killed the dog!

Another (shorter!) walk with my mum.....

A very handsome house with a monkey puzzle tree in it's front garden

We admired the views of the Wiltshire countryside from the top of the hill.

My mum about to be teleported on to the bridge Captain.......

Broadleas House and gardens

We walked down Jacob's ladder to Drew's Pond, a beautiful nature reserve with a rather grisly history. 

Notice near Drew's Pond

There is a memorial in the local church to the victims that drowned.

The site of the hostelry.

Drew's Pond

Gateway to the asylum cemetery, where it is said that some dogs fear to tread.  The psychiatric hospital opened in 1851 and closed in 1995.

Bungalow bake off -

My swiss roll.

Sarah's wholemeal loaf.

I am so happy to see colour again.

I can't wait to go on some longer walks when the clocks change!  

There isn't a free window sill anywhere in the house as Sarah is planting seeds like her life depends on it - but I don't care.  Even Frank doesn't mind that he can't get on the window sill anymore.  He's found an even better place.......

Frank warming himself on the propagator.

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