Monday, 20 November 2017

Sunday afternoon walk on Bredon Hill

Mr Gaucho and I are on a winter holiday, staying with family and friends, between Worcestershire and Devon.  Happy days!  Yesterday we took a walk up Bredon Hill, which can be officially called a marilyn (think munro in Scotland, and yes, there is a connection in the choice of the name marilyn!) There are 176 marilyns in England, which have to reach 150m in height.  From the top of this hill we had wonderful views to the south, over the western edges of the Cotswolds.  Lovely.
There is plenty of mistletoe in this part of the world.  Large round lime green clumps of the stuff, which can be clearly seen in the trees, now that the leaves have fallen.  
Part of our walk took us across the Overbury Estate.  They have a significant number of handsome, but disused, barns on their land.  They are all kept in good order but sadly they stand empty.
We were not quite at the top of Bredon Hill, but the views were wonderful.  
 From "A Shropshire Lad" by AE Housman
In summertime on Bredon 
The bells they sound so clear; 
Round both the shires they ring them 
In steeples far and near, 
A happy noise to hear. 
.......
The bells they sound on Bredon, 
And still the steeples hum, 
"Come all to church, good people," -- 
Oh, noisy bells, be dumb; 
I hear you, I will come.

Further on up the hill there is clear evidence of the earthworks of an Iron Age hill fort, called Kemerton Camp, now the domain of sheep!
We passed an abundance of spindle berries, which made my day. I love the gorgeous colour combination of the hectic pink outer casing of the berry and bright orange seeds inside. 
 At the bottom of the hill, in the lane leading down to Conderton, we passed some extremely large and luxurious horsetail plants, Equisetum arvense.  They were so big they looked as though they should have been growing in a botanical garden hot house!
And then these ........
Snowdrops in November?  Sorry, that's just not right.  

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Early morning skies

We do enjoy some wonderful sunsets here, but in recent days the early morning light has been equally beautiful.  Last week, there were still lots of leaves left on the trees, but a couple of sharp frosts has brought many of them down - but not before I managed a couple of snapshots to record them in all their autumn glory.  
The sky last night was vivid with another lovely sunset.  I like the idea of the sun disappearing over the horizon and travelling down under to shine on my family and friends in Australia, before reappearing here again this morning! 
This week the morning light has been more gentle.  The silver birch trees are looking particularly lovely in the soft peachy light, and today I finally remembered to take my camera with me on our walk at around 7.30 am.



Sunday, 5 November 2017

Weekend walks

More golden days!  We have had a great weekend of clear blue skies, lovely sunshine, and late yesterday afternoon an absolutely massive orange moon emerged in the darkening eastern skies.  It was quite a sight to behold!

On Saturday, the dogs and I walked along two sides of a huge field, which was playing host to some swans.  Their number will swell over the coming weeks, and they will stay here, to overwinter well into next year.  They were slightly flustered when we appeared on the edge of the field, a few stretching up and flexing their wings, just to show us whose field it was!  We kept well clear, skirting around the edge, and enjoying the views across to the Lammermuirs in the south.
Does anyone remember the opening sequence to the children's programme Ballamory?  Do you remember Archie's pink castle?  Well, Fenton Tower, below, is Archie's castle, painted pink for the programme, but usually a soft yellow ochre.  It looks rather more vivid here because of the golden light.
Today we walked along a short stretch of the estuary, where the River Tyne (nothing to do with Newcastle) comes out into the bay, just to the west of Dunbar.  It's one of my favourite places to walk, and today we were in luck because there were a few curlew, pecking around in a field of winter wheat.
 And then home for a quiet sit by the fire!



Thursday, 2 November 2017

Golden November afternoon

We had a beautiful sunny afternoon today, and in the golden afternoon sunshine a friend, the dogs and I had a short walk along the coastal path from Gullane towards North Berwick.  We were only out for an hour from 3pm but during that time the November sun quickly changed from being warm on our backs on the way out, and sinking very low and dazzling in our eyes on the way back.  
The sea buckthorn bushes growing throughout the dunes behind the beach at Gullane, are laden with their glorious orange berries.  They are rich in vitamin C and I would love to be able to pick and cook with them, but they seem to be impossible to harvest.  If I try to take one off the tree, it just squishes and explodes in my fingers!  If anyone has any good tips for picking these berries, please let me know!  I once had a sea buckthorn souffle at Tom Kitchin's restaurant in Leith, and it was absolutely delicious, but any attempt to recreate it has been thwarted by the tree, every time!
At this time of year large skeins of geese commute daily across our east coast skies.  Out in the morning, back in the evening.  They are a wonderful sight.
By the time we were almost home, the sun had gone down and the bay between us and Edinburgh was a glowing golden yellow and the sunset picked out the distinctive outline of Arthur's Seat.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Annual reccy

Wherever we have lived, I have always kept a close eye on the local holly trees!  Once they have produced their new crop of berries, I make a mental note of which trees are looking abundant, and which appear to be a bit sparse.  All this, of course, is with Christmas in mind!  Since we left Edinburgh, I do have a favourite holly tree which I return to each year.  I went to check up on it yesterday afternoon.  Unfortunately, it is not looking very promising, berry-wise, but there are other trees I have earmarked to avoid a dearth of holly at Christmas time (which is not an option!) 
Once we had checked on the tree, the dogs and I enjoyed a walk around familiar fields with much loved views.  
I think the beech tree gives the best of autumn colour.  Glorious rich colours which make the countryside glow.
We walked along this lovely grassy path, with crunchy ginger biscuit coloured leaves on either side, and then back up the hill to the car.  A very enjoyable sunny, autumn walk.