Sunday, October 27, 2013
Well, the idea was a lazy sunday by the fire.
DH would watch the Grand Prix while I read, sewed or knitted...wrong!
DH can't just sit!
It was too wet and windy to garden so he disappeared into the greenhouse but there's not a lot left to do in there so he was soon back wanting a coffee. Then after reading the newspaper he began prowling around looking out of the window...for all the world like a caged lion in a zoo.
I knew what was coming next...
'Do you think it's too wet for a walk?'
'No!' I dutifully replied.
'Get your coat on then.'
...and ten minutes later we were in the car and on our way to a nearby beech wood, the idea being it wouldn't be too wet and windy in amongst the trees!
The weathermen have forecast a huge storm over sunday and monday which is set to rival the hurricane of 1987 which took the whole country by surprise as we just don't get hurricanes in this country!
It's been raining, cold and windy for over a week now but today the wind was a lot wilder though the rain seemed quite steady and DH was itching to get out!
Clouds whipped across the sky at a phenomenal rate of knots.
The rain sluiced down the car's windscreen as the window wipers tocked backwards and forwards wiping it from the glass.
And the wind buffeted the car as we drove along under the brooding skies.
'My' Garthie...Brooks that is...was singing 'The thunder rolls' on the cd player, which seemed quite apt even if it wasn't quite thundering, you felt as if it could any minute!
And we sang along with gusto!
The road was slick and coppery brown in the layby by the wood, covered with beech leaves blown into drifts by the wind and and then flattened and made soggy by the rain.
We parked up and noticed the wind drop almost immediately, the trees were sheltering the valley.
As we entered the wood the trunks of the beeches were dark brown, wet and glistening down one side where the rain had reached them through the trees but further in it was warm and dry, the fallen beech leaves even crackled underfoot and I waded and delighted in them as a child would, jumping in the dried, brown drifts and kicking them across the path...DH just plodded on with his hands in his pockets!
The canopy above our heads was being tossed and swirled, thrown into turmoil by the wind but the rain had eased.
Pretty white funghi poked their bonnet heads through the leaves of the undergrowth and a lone dove cooed mournfully from a lofty perch before alighting some way in front of us to feast on beech masts...he flew off as we approached.
The clear stream burbled its way along it's white chalk bed as we followed the bank side path high above the water.
Little drops of moisture slipped from the over hanging leaves making small but ever expanding circles across the meniscus.
The wind whistled through the canopy and leaves fell as if it was snowing green and golden flakes.
At the edge of the wood a field of oilseed rape plants weren't yet grown high enough to hide a hare, he crouched down unaware his ears were sticking up like two little antennae! The leaves swirled this way and that in the strong wind, showing bright green fronts and sage green backs, an ever changing light show.
There was no bird song, the wind drowned out any sound, even the stream was mute and silent as it wended it's way.
Tenacious ivy clung resolutely to the trees, winding her way up the trunks with curling green tendrils gripping the surface like a little green octopus.
We enjoyed the walk in the shelter of the wood but as we returned to the car the wind seemed stronger than ever, it began to rush through the little valley playing hide and seek among the trees and the rain began to splatter down again. Big drops sizzled and splashed over the coppery leaves turning them an ever darker hue.
Back home we stoked up the fire, put the telly on and chilled with hot buttered toast and mugs of steaming hot chocolate.
DH had missed the Grand Prix but didn't mind, and anyway there was football on this evening!
I lolled back in my chair, my knee was throbbing but I felt invigorated and refreshed...I'm so glad we went.
Copper brown leaves just right for kicking!
The little stream meanders along.
Clinging ivy tendrils.
Pretty white funghi.
Friday, October 18, 2013
We need potatoes, we grow quite a few for 'new' ones but not any keepers so I usually order a sack of them by telephone from a local farm. They deliver them to my door either the same day or the next one.
Very good service!
This morning I decided a walk would do me good, the idea being to walk up to the farm and order them in person. It's my friend's farm so I knew there'd be a hot drink at the end of it.
It was quite misty when I came to set off and cold with it so I retreated back indoors to don my thermal underwear...lol...long johns and a vest, not very becoming but it certainly keeps out the chill. My bad knee tends to ache in the cold so they help with that too!
Eventually I set off, it was quite misty in the village, not too bad and pleasant with it but when I took the path up to the farm it became denser...a proper misty morning!
The poetic 'seasons of mist' and all that!
It was very quiet and muffled, almost eerie, every sound seemed to come from a distance and hedges and trees loomed at me from their grey surroundings.
The church bell tolled ten o'clock sounding far away like it was in another village and not our own.
No birds were singing.
The lane to the farm was rutted and wet with puddles after the recent bad weather, they sat flat surfaced and sullen in their boggy mire and showed no reflections.
The hedges on either side dripped steadily and the wet cloying mist clung to me making me feel damp and cold. I rued putting on my fingerless mittens, proper gloves would have been better as my finger ends felt frozen to the marrow...I use fingerless ones so I can take pictures without having to take my gloves off!
A horse neighed, sounding far away in the distance but there he was resplendent in his trendy green waterproof coat beside a looming chestnut tree. He wandered over for a stroke and the apple he knows I usually take for him. His mane was wet and glistening but he was happy enough, tossing his head and breathing little wisps of steamy breath from his nostrils as he munched steadily on my offering. He cantered back across the field as I continued on my way.
Bedraggled burdock, brown and hooked, hung their heads as if in shame and sheep's wool caught on the barbed wire fences seemed gathered thick and limp instead of in their usual soft and fluffy bunches.
A bright yellow horse chestnut leaf made a welcome beacon in the glistening mud as I plodded on up and over the brow of the hill towards the old stone farmhouse.
I'm still pretty slow at walking but I made good progress and was pleased with how I coped with some of the trickier muddy patches...perseverance and also knowing that my friend knew I was on my way and would come to look for me if I didn't appear.
I always take my mobile 'phone when I'm out walking but there are lots of places around here where it doesn't work and it would be just my luck to fall into a ditch or something and not be able to get a signal...lol...so it's amazing how peace of mind can help spur you on!
Eventually the farmhouse appeared on the horizon, the mist made it seem nearer than I knew it really was but it was a welcome sight.
It's eighteenth century, squarely and solidly built with bright eye like windows which twinkle at you. The whole house seems to have a benign presence like an old and favourite uncle sat waiting for you. Usually it's a crisp shining white but the bleak morning made it look grey and dull against it's backdrop of gloomy trees.
Ben, the black labrador, appeared from the gloom and barked a welcome, I rubbed his head, his rheumy old eyes looked up at me trustingly and suddenly I was in the old square fold yard with rusty ginger chickens clucking around my feet and a disgruntled tabby yard cat watching me stealthily from the doorway of a building.
The house's solid old wooden door opened to my knock and my friend stood there in the glowing brightness of the doorway welcoming me in with a dazzling smile.
I enjoyed a chat, a hot drink and a piece of delicious home made chocolate cake before venturing back out into the mist which had lessened considerably while I was toasting my toes by an open fire.
Just one bugbear...lol...
I forgot to order the potatoes...DUH!!!
Not many photos today, it was too cold and depressing...my hands stayed in my pockets!!
It was a proper misty morning
Horse, tree and mist!
Bedraggled burdock heads
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
This last week has been horrendous weather.
It started raining last wednesday afternoon and it's hardly stopped since.
The wind has been mostly at gale force and it's so cold we've got the heating on! Friday was a doozy of a storm with no power and trees blown down.
Sunday we ventured out for a ride, in between the downpours it was quite pleasant at times though still very cold and windy, there were lovely little dry periods which even had a bit of sunshine managing to break through the dark clouds! DH actually complained it was hot on his arm as he was driving!
We went up into the forestry.
The leafy canopy was wet and glistening and under foot was muddy and slick with lots of fallen leaves, some of them still green where the wind had ripped them from the trees.
It was drear and gloomy under the trees, everything seemed heavy with a sense of forboding, the fallen leaves seemed gelatinous and slippery as water dripped from leaves and boughs.
We'd stopped off at a favourite spot, a little typically English wood of beech trees hidden up a loggers road. They're gradually thinning out the tall, dark pines and the native undergrowth is springing back to life as sunlight reaches the forest floor again.
Everywhere was still green, Mother Nature hasn't reached out her hand of change there yet.
It was pleasant to stroll on the mossy forest floor, the beeches were still clothed in their green foliage and the canopy stopped the rain from reaching us though the drips were cold and shocking if they hit you on the back of the neck...
The wind had swept through and there were drifts of leaves underfoot too, brown and green, all slick and slippery with their watery coating.
There were two trees down too, mature beeches blown over with the gale that had hurtled through the little copse.
The soil coated roots towered high above our heads as the forlorn tree lay, still clothed in green, across the forest floor.
Here and there were dotted little funghi in varying shapes and colours, most of them were spoiled by the rain but the occasional newly emerged one glistened in the darkness of the leaves. Here a pretty fan shape or there clusters of little brown umbrellas!
We didn't stop out long as the rain became more persistent and it began to thunder and lighten but the afternoon foray was a lovely change from sitting huddled by the fire though, of course, it was very welcome when we came back home!
A few pictures for you:
Pretty fan shaped funghi
A nice crop of little brown umbrellas
Fallen beech tree
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Five weeks ago I was referred to a gastrologist to try and sort out bile duct, liver and kidney problems and various allergies I'd developed.
I also had a low immune system.
I already knew I was allergic to lettuce, pineapple and latex and though nothing was really proven, they think I'm allergic to artificial sweetener.
The upshot is I'm now off anything containing artificial sweeteners.
One report showed that artificial sweeteners are more chemically related to DDT than sugar!!
There are various symptoms reported from the use of sweeteners including heart palpitations, headaches, aching joints, liver and kidney problems, chronic diarrhea, sleeplessness, skin conditions, immune system, numbness, nausea, vomiting, migraine, blurred vision, weight gain...and still more!
All unproven of course as the companies won't do trials on them but there nontheless.
Weight loss can be hard as the sweetener isn't converted into energy by the body so the body craves more sweet things.
I'm hoping my weight loss will improve now as it's certainly seemed harder to lose weight just lately.
They say it may take quite a while to get out of my system.
Anyway five weeks on...
I feel loads better.
I'm sleeping eight hours straight each night.
No more heart palpitations.
No more lethargy and tiredness.
No more upset stomach.
No more headaches.
My blood pressure is down.
My skin is much clearer, even though I do have psoriasis.
My liver and kidney tests are almost normal.
My immune system is higher than it's been in years and is still rising.
My arthritic knee seems easier, even though I have a broken kneecap at the moment.
I've never drank tea or coffee but I did drink a lot of flavoured water and low calorie drinking chocolate without realising just how much sweetener they had in them.
Now I just drink plain old tap water and have a proper cup of cocoa before bed.
I like mints but they are mostly made with sweeteners, though I've now found some which aren't...don't be fooled by diabetic or vegetarian products either, they use sweeteners too!
I was amazed at what artificial sweeteners were hidden in when I began label reading...it's in the toothpaste I used and my blood pressure tablet from the doctor.
I also take glucosomine and calcium tablets...it's even in them!
And almost everything which says 'no added sugar' has them!
I'm now trying to live in an artificial sweetener free zone
Sunday, September 22, 2013
I haven't blogged in a while as I haven't been walking much.
I've broken a large piece of bone off the front of my patella (I already have arthritis is this knee) which has been very painful, I'm waiting for an MRI scan to see if I've damaged cartilage too but I've been advised to keep walking as it might stiffen up if I don't...so for the first time in weeks I went for a limp...sorry a walk!
DH has been getting birding and walk withdrawal symptoms...lol...and was desperate to go to our local nature reserve. He's been hinting for the last three weeks. I feel a bit sorry for him as he doesn't like walking without me so I agreed.
It's a large reserve with a choice of different walk lengths and habitats but I figured if the worst came to the worst I could always sit down somewhere, send him off on his own and wait for him to come back.
I'm really pleased I went.
I managed just over two miles at rather a slow tortoise pace...lol...it took two and a half hours, with lots of sitting down on just about everything that looked high enough for me to get up from again!
The weather's been a bit erratic of late, but today was positively balmy.
The sun shone, there was a gentle breeze and conditions couldn't have been better for my first walk for a while. I set off with great expectation!
We drove down winding country lanes, the car windows were down and a gentle breeze ruffled our hair as we went. The temperature gauge showed 24 degrees, wonderful for September.
The hedgerows are just beginning to turn to their autumn colours and bright red hips and orange haws decorated the branches.
Dark purple elderberries made the boughs sag with their abundant crop and crab apple trees were hung with their tiny red-green fruits...they look so inviting but the wary know the oh-so-sour fruits make you screw your face up with the bitter taste, even the birds leave them alone.
Eventually the winding roads passed through the beautiful flat, see for miles, now harvested fields of the carrs where deep straight sided ditches and dykes criss-cross the field sides and the tall phragmites-phragmites reeds wave their purple tinged feathery heads in the breeze.
We were almost there.
We crossed the weathered old stone bridge over the Barmston Drain, a drab sounding name for a fast flowing wide river that's a haven for wildlife, turning in to the reserve and passing a heavily laden apple tree standing amid a magnificent stand of weeping willow trees all drooping their delicate green branches to the ground, they rippled and rustled gently in the breeze.
The car park was quite full, hot weather brings people out, and as we made to get out of the car a couple of pretty grey squirrels, delicately holding their tails aloft and twitching, ran across to the trees on the other side of the tarmac. They circumnavigated the trunks as they ran up them before disappearing into the leafy canopy as quickly as they'd appeared.
A lone bluetit was scolding us from a branch in the hawthorns as we opened the gate into the reserve and a pheasant craiked from the undergrowth but we never saw him.
We decided to do the boring maintainance road first.
I've always hated it, it's just a straight manmade concrete road that seem endless but it is one of the shorter routes and leads into a lovely secluded woodland area. One side of the road is bordered by the reservoir wall and the other by a high hedge and the walk down it seems to go on forever.
It's used by the reserve wardens to move machinery etc when they're working but today was quite a surprise as we watched the frenzied dancing of countless dragonflies.
Never still they hovered and darted on flashing rainbow wings, tantalising me as I got them in camera shot only for them to zoom off before I could press the button...lol...I gave up in the end and was just content to watch them.
They were an absolute joy, their bodies a myriad of colours from the drab brown hawkers to the beautiful jewelled blue and green tones of migrant hawkers, handsome red darters and the magnificent emerald of the emperors.
Plump purple-black brambles glistened in the sunshine and we ate a few, sun warmed, the little juice filled round berries which make up the whole were so sweet and juicy and refreshing. The wasps in their stripey black and yellow outfits thought so too and were on almost every fruit, we had to faff them away before we could indulge...
Most of the pretty summer flowers are over, their now muted browns and greys dominated the ground under the hedges but occasionally there was a pretty creamy white delicate Queen Anne's lace still flowering or a bright yellow spikey leopards bane shining like a beacon in the sea of browns.
I spotted a beautiful hoverfly on one of the flowers and managed to get a shot of him.
Stones, logs, and steps called to me and I sat frequently or leaned indulgently to give my knee a well earned rest. The sun was positively hot on our backs and we were glad of the shade when we eventually turned into the woodland area.
It was so peaceful, just the bird's twittering and the distant mournful cry of a whooper swan from the reservoir.
Bright shafts of sunlight filtered down through the canopy lighting patches of leaves as if a spotlight had been turned on them and yellowing fallen leaves crunched underfoot.
Most of the sycamores have tar spot fungus, not nice for the tree but it does look pretty.
In a quiet sheltered glade a small pond glinted in the sunshine, the reflections of the trees shimmered on the water's surface as the dragonflies silently dipped and darted over the rustling reeds.
A coot's haunting cry rang out across the water as we relaxed in the warm sunshine on a solidly construted wooden bench.
Peace and tranquility, the only way to describe it.
The grey squirrels were by the gate again as we completed our slow walk, their little heads bobbed up and down appearing and disappearing from view as they foraged in the long grass, they looked so comical.
No photos I'm afraid, they were too wary and too quick for the likes of a slow old woman like me...lol...
Driving back across the sun warmed carrs, around the little green lanes with their berry jewelled appearance and back towards town my knee throbbed to a steady beat but it was worth it and now as I sit at my computer my leg is pretty swollen but the pain has eased a little and I'm so glad I went.
Oh! I almost forgot, we rounded off the trip with fish, chips and mushy peas eaten piping hot from a cardboard box (why don't they still use newspaper?) burning our fingers as we tucked in, parked up by the bank of a beautiful river glinting with sunlight watching two magnificent white swans gliding up and down...perfect!
The tranquil pond
Hoverfly on leopards bane
Tar spot fungus on sycamore leaves
Shafts of sunlight light the leaves of a horse chestnut as if a spotlight is on them
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