Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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Talk of the Devil

Bit of a gap over the summer. Like Red Hen here: http://redhenrun.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/so-many-blog-posts-so-little-time/#comments (links don’t seem to be working properly for me at the moment), I’ve been writing blog posts in my head, but haven’t quite got round to getting them online.

My themes included butterflies, running on a beach, Welsh gardens (including a labyrinth), dolphins, seals, jellyfish, cliff top walks, Henry Moore and Rodin. I’ve got all the pictures sorted out (good ones too!), it’s just a matter of putting it all together.

Anyway. Maybe I’ll get round to it next week.

Meanwhile, I got up early this morning and went out for a walk/run (more walk than run, but better some than none). The fields had been ploughed, so I kept my eyes peeled (weird phrase) for fossils, as this area was once a huge Jurassic lake.

Edge Hill

View towards Edge Hill where the first battle of the English Civil War took place in 1642

I found this Gryphaea, aka Devil’s toe-nail.

Devil's toe-nail

Jurassic fossil oyster – Gryphaea

Mind-boggling to think about when it lived – more than a hundred million years ago. Some nice folklore about them here: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/earth/fossils/fossil-folklore/fossil_types/bivalves.htm

I can’t resist picking up smooth stones. As far as I can remember, we get all sorts of different stones round here because they were brought in by the glaciers way back when. It’s a lovely colour, and feels good too.

Heart-shaped stone

Heart-shaped stone (if you’re imaginative)

There are still some wild flowers around. Hogweed has an unattractive name, rather ugly leaves and it doesn’t smell too good, but the flowers are really very pretty.  Usually they are white, but this one had a pink tinge on the outer petals.

Hogweed - Heracleum sphondylium

Hogweed – Heracleum sphondylium

As I’d got out early, the sun was still quite low in the sky, and I liked the way the light caught on the trees and sheep.

Sheep grazing

Sheep grazing in early morning light

So – which of my missed posts should I aim for first?


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Blue cockerel and gluten-free pizza

On Monday, I had a trip to London, to the National Gallery, for a training day for school.  I enjoyed the museum –  we were looking at St Michael triumphs over the Devil for the Take One Picture project, but no photos from inside of course.

I loved Trafalgar Square in the sunshine.  It was a glorious day, and there were a variety of performance artists to distract the tourists, including a couple of ‘hovering’ human statues.  The tuba player had flames shooting out of the bell with every note (though my timing was wrong to catch it for the picture).

What do you think of the bright blue Hahn/Cock on the spare plinth?   According to Wikipedia, it is about “regeneration, awakening and strength”.  I just liked the colour against the sky, and its boldness.

The photos are not as sharp as I’d like, as I only had my phone on me, but I couldn’t resist doing the tourist bit.

For lunch, we went to Pizza Express, where I had my first pizza since finding out I was coeliac, just over a year ago.  It was gluten-free and really good – it didn’t taste noticeably different from an ordinary one, which was a very pleasant surprise, as most gluten-free bread is seriously disappointing.  I’ve just looked at their website, and they are clearly making an effort to keep the gluten-free hordes happy.  I’d definitely be happy to go again.  Recommended.  🙂

 


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Chipping away at the mile pace

10:55 min/mile today, only the second time I’ve managed under 11 minutes for a complete mile, and a better pace than three of the four 4-min runs yesterday.   Cooler weather, and a breeze, definitely helps.

This afternoon we visited Compton Verney, an art museum in a Capability Brown landscape just down the road from us.  I enjoyed the Turner and Constable exhibition focused on sketching from nature, and we all enjoyed climbing up in the ‘Empty Nest’ sculpture to see the view over the lake.

Empty Nest tree sculpture

Empty Nest tree sculpture

We had fun making shops to add to the public-participation display – a response to ‘The Narb’ (one of the several pictures that show at this link).

Spar

Spar

Street of cardboard shops

Public participation art – a street of shops – good fun, not sure how much art is involved though! Quite a few quirky ones including The Body Shop full of skeletons, and The Inconvenience Store stuck as high up the wall as they could reach.