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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Signs of spring

In a sunny break this afternoon, I had a quick look around the garden, and found these broad beans already flowering! We planted them in a heap of compost from the compost bins, and they seem very happy there. I couldn’t smell the flowers yet, as they’ve only just begun to open, but the scent of broad beans is one of my favourites. It doesn’t sound too attractive, but it’s wonderful – very similar to apple blossom. I can smell fields of broad beans when we’re driving past them, and they are really good to cycle or walk past.

broad bean flowers

There are a few Anemone blanda flowers out – here’s a pink one. I was experimenting with cropping pictures differently – but think that maybe it just draws attention to the out-of-focus bits. It’s bright and cheerful anyway.
anemone

I heard a bumble bee buzzing around the various flowers that are out, and we heard a frog croaking in the pond at the weekend.

Last, but not least – a pretty weed. Red dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum), which has wonderfully hairy young leaves, and ‘bunny rabbit’ flowers.
red dead nettle