Thursday, 10 June 2010

back on track

Almost a year after completing the Ridgeway and a few weeks before midsummer we were back. Last time we were tired from the final push and didn't have long enough to explore so with visiting friends to entertain over the bank holiday which should have been Whitsun, the time was right. (Am I the only one irritated by the fact that Mayday is not on Mayday anymore and that Whit weekend is postponed almost into June?) Anyway May blossom and cow parsley lay thickly on the field margins and the air, the beech leaves were at their greenest and the chalk paths beckoned. We arrived early and Colette got some great shots of the stones before we followed the 5,000 year old avenue towards Silbury hill, at an awesome 130 feet the tallest prehistoric constructed mound in Europe. We spent the rest of the day walking to the long barrow at West Kennet, the Sanctuary and on the Ridgeway circling back down to Avebury - amazing views and vibes.
Inspired to be back on track our next outing was on the Thames Path from Eynsham to Moreton. We have now walked / cycled from the Thames barrier to this area north of Oxford and decided to take the bikes again. Maybe a mistake... It was quite hard going through wet water meadows and along narrow, nettled paths in the occasional heavy downpour but a couple of very pretty pubs helped raise our spirits. On the path we passed only a couple of people all afternoon and the fields were pastorally full of buttercups and fat lambs. The Thames is still wide but shallower and slower and looking very swimmable. Dark, snaking reflections, glittering leaves and lush greenery: salves to the soul.
Finally I got myself back on the lake! I haven't taken out a boat since last November, cowed by the memories of bruised shins, grazed knees and chilled bones but as the high pressure came in and school was out I finally made it. The breeze was light so I took out a laser with a full sail and skimmed lazily back and forth among hundreds of electric blue damsel flies with paper white terns dipping in alongside. Magic, even with the achey legs next day.