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Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Buttercup fields

Trying to keep away from the crowds on the tow path I walked through the nature reserve where there was nobody. Then across the flood meadows which are very dry now and just one photographer at the start and 2 men standing near the end chatting. I took some pictures in the lane of the stream.

I kept to the fields and came across so many buttercups. The photos don't do them justice.

It reminded me of Wordsworth poem about the daffodils.

I ended up walking across the golf course again which is the first time since they re-opened. I thought as people were going back to work there might be nobody there but I was wrong. It wasn't too crowded so after waiting for a couple of socially distanced golfers to have their shots I walked across to the cricket field. A few people there but its a huge field so nobody near. I wont be walking on the golf course again now but I enjoyed it while it was empty.

Friday, 15 May 2020

Driving out in Lock down

As the new rules came into force, I thought I would give the car a little run. I only went a few miles to a village along the river. Usually there is hardly a soul about and I park by the village shop quite easily. Not so today as the area by the shop was full of cars and queues of people waiting to get in. The other place I can park is at the marina which has lots of spaces and a nice little tea room and clean toilets. Even the car park was still shut so I finally found a little spot in a side road and walked down to the river.

This is a part of the river that I haven't walked for a long while but it is very pleasant. I watched a cormorant diving and tried to guess where it would come up. I also saw a family of ducks with very new ducklings. At an old lock keeper's cottage there was a notice in the greenhouse that rhubarb was for sale. I have been used to having rhubarb growing in our last two gardens since 1978 and I suddenly felt I really wanted a rhubarb crumble so I bought some. I had to pay with contactless card though as they weren't accepting cash. So much for the old honesty box! The rhubarb is cooked and has crystalised ginger and sugar added and will be topped with crumble tomorrow.

I walked quite a way along the river then turned in towards a lake with fields around. Just one family having a picnic a way off so very peaceful. I then walked back through the fields and came back onto the road near the car. It seemed so exciting even just going a few miles somewhere different. The sun was shining too!

The elderflowers looked beautiful and I noticed lots of blackberry flowers so I know where to come later in the year for the fruit.

I might drive a little bit further next week and explore the next stretch of the river.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Sharing my patch

Since we moved to this area 32 years ago we have always walked the local footpaths especially the tow path of the river. After DD and her dogs moved away last summer and then I was busy preparing for my own move walking went out of the window for a bit. I decided once I had moved that I would walk for at least half hour a day and I did unless there was really torrential rain. I never saw that many people when I was out and about but that changed with the lockdown. Suddenly my patch was invaded so I found a lot of the time I was walking further afield when I could.

Some days I am busy or the weather is not so good so I have to stay with the hoards and I felt a bit resentful sometimes at all these people suddenly using MY space.

Then today I was on the tow path and a young mum with a little one in a pushchair and two bigger kids on bikes called to me from the bridge. She asked for directions and was a bit nervous of carrying on in case she couldn't get back across the river. She was amazed when I told her there was a beautiful mill just around the corner and another bridge. At that time I was concerned with a moorhen frantically calling her young to come into the river from the ditch. Whenever somebody went past they rushed back into the ditch. I asked the young boy to just hang on as the chicks were emerging again. As they came onto the path, the boy was so excited. He called to his sister to quickly look. I asked the mum how long they had lived here and she said forever but they had never walked further than the park before. Due to the lock down they were exploring and really enjoying it.

After that I didn't feel resentful just glad more people are enjoying the lovely countryside. Especially with their children. Later when I was home I saw them walking up the cycle track next to my home so I called out to them. They had loved it and turned out they lived near me. So maybe a few will carry on walking once everything else opens up. They will realize that they don't need to spend loads of money to enjoy life.

Friday, 8 May 2020

Sourdough discard

I decided to try sourdough bread. It takes ages before you actually can make any bread and once you start maintenance feeding half has to be discarded.  I hate discarding anything so googled recipes using it and there were loads. So today as my last loaf of bread is nearly finished I thought I would make Irish soda bread using the discard. It was quick and easy to make but I didn't have all the ingredients. I substituted milk and vinegar for the butter milk so that was ok. I had baking powder and bicarb of soda but no baking soda and no cream of tartar which I could have added to the bicarb to make the baking soda. I thought I did have the cream of tartar but I was mistaken. I went ahead anyway and just used what I had. To my amazement it looked good so I had to try a little slice with my homemade marmalade and it was delicious.

So on the strength of that success tomorrow I will try something else. Either scones or cinnamon bread. I wont be able to make the actual sourdough bread until next week. Waste not, want not.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Making me happy

This week DS and DDIL bought me these beautiful flowers.

My salad leaf and sweet peas are coming through. The geranium next to it was given to me 10 years ago and each summer it goes outside but back to be cossetted in the winter.

After my downsize move last November, my patio is coming together. I have started a hedge of Red Robins. Small at the moment as having to get what I can with my usual place shut down and not taking any more orders as overwhelmed. I am happy with these though as they look very healthy.

Tomorrow my friend is dropping off two tomato plants her husband grew from seed. I always grew too many when I had a garden. I didn't grow any for the last two years due to poor health so I am looking forward to home grown ones again. I am  waiting for herb plugs to be delivered. I grew some from seeds but only the coriander is doing any good. I am also waiting for scented petunia plants to go into the baskets. Friends ask if I miss my garden but I don't miss it at all as it just got too much to handle. The patio is in full sun afternoon and evening so I can eat out there quite often and just enough to grow a few bits.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Feeling a bit sad

I had planned a walk that did not include the park. I walked to the river and went past the marina intending to walk along that side of the river until I got to some footpaths I hadn't explored. However further along the path was closed. I went back and crossed the river intending to carry on with the planned walk but there were a couple of families with children running about so I crossed the field and walked along the brook until the zigzag bridge which crosses the railway. It's old and probably viewed as ugly but there is a certain beauty about it and the view from the top is good.

Then I entered the other part of the park and that's when I felt sad seeing everything shut down. There is an adventure play ground, two outdoor gyms and last year a new inclusive playground opened for younger children and the disabled. Little granddaughter loves that bit and we had such fun there. I last took her there the week before shutdown. I have been coping well and making the most of video chats but suddenly seeing that park caused a wave of sadness.

I cheered up when I saw the beautiful azaleas but decided to avoid that part of the park for now.