Once Upon

Once Upon

Friday, 31 May 2013

A Peace of Wood...

After dropping Sarah off to attend her meeting, a very important meeting, a meeting of some importance mind you....I decided to pay a visit to the nearby 'reserve' to fill in the time rather than sit in the bar and drink beer. I wavered on this decision I admit....but the call of the wild insisted.....and I was pleased it did....

I tend to keep my rucsac/wellies/outdoor gear and the like in the boot of the car, so after a quick roadside transformation into garb more suited to an evening woodland walk....and in the space of a few yards, I left the car in its urban surroundings and instantly stepped into another world. 

Still, calm and at rest, the trees and undergrowth were warm and faintly glowing in the moistened, misty air. The steady tuneful underscore of blackbird, pigeon and rook gave further testament to the evening's arboreal peace. I quietly and slowly walked along the lushly greened rides in the softly fading light and absorbed the whole ethos of these natural surroundings. The atmosphere absorbed me. The distant, faint traffic noise disappeared and all was silent but for the living, breathing sounds of the slumbering wood. I saw nothing. No bird, no animal.....no furred or feathered life.....nothing......but was fully aware of it all around me....I stood awhile leant up against a sentinel beech, and simply just remained still........in all senses......peace...naturally. The restful dappled shadows merged around me and I was......there.
........Anyway.....45minutes later....back to the car, quick change, into the bar, beer and home.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Just another.....

 Today saw the sun shine, so off we went for a bit of a walk. Nothing of any note to report. No stunning sightings of wildlife, no spectacular landscape vistas or outdoor adventures.......
.....just a quiet, peaceful and beautiful stroll amongst the blissful local countryside that surrounds us. Ancient woodland, meandering secret river and lazy meadow and hedgerow. Innit.

County Queues and Crafts...

So...Bank Holiday Monday...what does any self proclaimed 'loner' and seeker of solitude do.....yep....goes where everybody else in the region goes.....Sits for an hour or so in a static traffic queue.....queues for ages to actually get in (at exorbitant cost)...queues in shuffling irritation at every 'feature'.....queues for another hour in the car to exit......ah, the joys of attending the County Show.....
However, Sarah discovered a latent talent for goat appraisal....an unlikely appreciation of chickens,  and succeeded in the purchase of a rather jaunty and stylish specimen of country millinery. So all was not wasted. Have to be honest....despite the crowds of inappropriate  people and some questionable 'attractions', we actually had an enjoyable sort of day. We saw horsies, sheeps, moo-moos, chickens and rabbits....drank beer and ate pork sandwiches. Watched people sitting on horses and perused local craft stalls and consequently developed an admiration for a Ms L Manners who achieved 1st prize in everything imaginable related to country crafts. (Glad we didn't take Brian, the thumb stick.......he would have been made to feel inadequate by the others on display)......back home to freshly purchased roast mutton and home-baked scones and regional Stilton cheese. Life is sweet.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Sandy Crack (not a medical condition)

Honest Guv......I have a whole bunch of pertly arranged photographs and comments related to my away-days in 'The District' (as Millican would say).....and as soon as I can work out how to electronically transpose said pics from their current restrictive Facebook imprisonment.. to tablet, dammit ......meanwhile........going for a quick troll up Simonside ....haven't been for a while....wonder if anything has changed....and for those of you in the know....wonder if Sandy Crack still defies me to get off the ground....!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Howay Days

It started a while ago.......being only a couple of easy hours drive from my home, to get up early-ish and spend a full day's energetic saunter amongst the hills in The Lake District, and then return home mid evening the same day, has become a bit of a pleasurable habit of mine.
The 'Monday Meander' may actually occur any old day of the week.....but as the first few jaunts just happened to happen on a Monday.....well, the name stuck.
For a whole raft of reasons, I instinctively head for Borrowdale.....an area I know well,  and a landscape I have emersed myself in over the years.
 As a rock-climber, I have dangled joyfully by my fingertips from it's crags and buttresses....I have sailed and kayaked it's waters, have camped and bivouacked amongst it's fells,  tramped over it's summits and passes, had ridiculous escapades in it's ghylls, gorges and woods..... and have many vague, slightly blurry recollections of succumbing to the fruits of it's various hostelries on many an occasion. Good times.
Anyway, nowadays, my days away on my away days.... away for the day,  tend towards the 'fell-walking' mode.... always highly enjoyable, but alternating between gentle hill-bound strolls and more challenging characteristic adventure..old habits die hard, it would seem. Photographic record of these errant escapades may become a bit of a feature amongst these bloggy mutterings.....bear with me.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Silvas et Flumina

So.....here is the thing.....I am obscenely fortunate to live no more than a minute or so, as the corvid flaps,  from an area of ancient deciduous woodland. It plays host to several miles of unspoilt wooded river bank,  all of it bordered by undulating hedgerowed fields.  A beautiful local landscape which is a more than adequate, and much appreciated substitute, for my 'first choice' environment of mountain and crag. (which actually are not too far distant anyway).
 Inter silvas et flumina habitans.......as we say.....well....sometimes.
It is hard to describe (without sounding all hippy-drippy) the almost spiritual pleasure I get from wandering these familiar  woods, welcomed by the Beech, Oak, Birch, Chestnut, Ash and Hazel.....and accompanied by the abundant bird-life. Heron, Jay,  Merganser, Kingfisher, Mallard and Swan, amongst many others...all make star appearances heading the chorus of Tit, Blackbird, Thrush, Finch, Warbler, Wren and Robin etc etc etc.....with
Fox, Badger and Otter occasionally producing cameos.....
To be able to take an easy relaxed hour or so of quiet escape into this most natural of surroundings right on my doorstep..... is a gifted luxury. (I could, I suppose, pepper this bit of blog with a miriad of photographs accordingly, but I won't....don't want to give the game away too much....it's mine I tell you....all mine, mwah mwah mwah.(plus a few dog walkers).
 I live in a quiet street. In a small rural town.Pubs, shops, restaurants and local services all in a pleasant attractive locale. If I believed in karmic reincarnation....good for bad / bad for good  blah blah...I fear I am in for some deep dooh-dooh in the next life !!

Wordsworth, Brian and goulash...

It was with a degree of surprise and the effect of biblically moist weather that we found ourselves being guided around Dove Cottage......of all places....along with a gaggle of similarly dampened 'elders'. However.....gotta say.....despite deep-seated misgivings about this sort of activity and an almost pathological resistance to the like...ahem....*whispers behind own hand* I reluctantly enjoyed the Wordsworth experience... Enlivened by the affair, we then decided to complete the silliness of the deluged day by going in search of all things Beatrix Potter......I know.....However, our imperished souls were saved by accidental entrance into a Hawkshead emporium of surreal character. A walking stick called Brian was purchased along with some pretty rocks....
Don't ask....Bonzo Dog lyrics were quoted / swapped with the ukulele strumming shopkeeper and we collected a parking ticket on our way to a date with some Hungarian Goulash in the Keswickian Dog and Gun.  Ho hum....

Millican and Me

Along with many other things, when it comes to my 'outdoor' escapades, I am strangely inspired by the life and times of Mr Millican Dalton......self proclaimed 'Professor of Adventure'....If you want to know more about this remarkably individual man then I urge you to 'look him up' through the witchcraft that is the web....and I defy you to not embrace the legend of the fella.....no matter how scanty the info is on him.....(there is actually a thing called a book however...made out of paper and everything ?!).
I like to think that my own  suspiciously blissful and regular forays into the hills of old MD's beloved Borrowdale, echo the spirit of the man himself.....So much so that if I could get away with it, I am, in moments of lyrical silliness, actually tempted to temporarily adopt his unique sartorial style whilst meandering the fells........but maybe not.......the high altitude branch of Social Services may be subsequently scrambled.....I shall content myself with continuing to enjoy the lifelong interests that unknowingly yet spookily exactly
mirror Millican's individual activities.....and outlook. Yay me.

In the beginning.....

I venture into this world of the blog with no real self-promotional purpose really....  it may prove to be of passing interest to others, but there again, it may not.
 I have had, for some time now, a periodical habit of writing haphazard 'diary' entries into a moleskine notebook when the mood takes me, so I thought I may as well go digital and cruelly subject innocent bystanders to my scribblings also......and let that be a lesson to them....!

My long-standing notebook habit was undertaken more through a weird liking of the idea of making 'field-notes' ...or making 'journal' entries...y'know, like some sort of latter day gentleman explorer or diarist ....than anything else. In fact, this long-held fanciful notion even prompted me to purchase, at some expense, a rather sexy brown leather cover for my notebook....and I often look for excuses to open and use it .....simply to progressively increase it's 'weathered' appearance....that's how sad I am....All I need now is an excuse to don a battered old fedora, holster a service revolver, jauntily hang a bull-whip from my belt, sling a worn leather satchel over my scuffed leather-jacketed shoulder and make off on an adventure into the wild yonder...
In the meanwhile....
Most of my bloggy things are likely to contain accounts of my regular perambulatory (?) wanderings, either locally or further afield, with interest in the flaura and fauna encountered and descriptions of the meander itself. Obtuse random thoughts, rants and musings will, undoubtedly, whether invited or not, also make an appearance.....Day to day trivia, pointless cogitations, photographs, drawings and plagiarised notions et al, will be unashamedly broadcast too.....You have been warned......good luck, dear reader.