Sunday, 30 October 2011

Source of the Thames

On random days over the past few years we have been walking the Thames from the barrier to the source which we reached on Friday. Another perfect, golden, Autumn day; quiet water meadows, glowing Cotswold stone, placid cattle munching, our feet tramping the final eight miles from Ashton Keynes to the official source at Lyd Well and on to the Thames Head pub.

 The whole length of the river has given us so many wonderful days each a jewel in itself. Favourites have been: the sweeping park and Observatory at Greenwich, the houseboats and Georgian cottages through Chelsea, the parakeets at Ham House near Richmond, the tiny Stanley Spencer gallery at Cookham, watching the Henley Regatta preliminaries, swimming at Wallingford and Crayfishing at Lechlade. Through Spring, Summer and Autumn, through fields and cities, sparkling grey, sap green and pink with Oxford clay; racing over weirs, slow and meandering until finally just puddles in an ancient Ash grove, the history is tangible. And the lady we met with her poodle in her bicycle basket, the elderly couple parked up in their wheelchairs at Henley, the Chinese grandmother catching Crayfish - unforgettable.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Last weekend of summer...

On Saturday night the clocks go back and it will be dark by 6 o'clock. Every year I rail against it. For three blissful years between 1968 and 1971 we basked in double British summertime: long summer evenings with 10 o' clock curfews and winter afternoons with time to play in the snow. I remember watching field mice playing in the beech leaves at the bus stop as we waited for dawn and the bus to school. Any government that brings it back will get my vote! So we decided to make the most of it and drive to mid Wales for the weekend, from whence we ended up promenading Aberystwyth in the Autumn sunshine. The war memorial is fabulous, as you can see and there were plenty of people in the waves. Sunday found us in Ludlow by the River Teme. Just above the weir is a wide deep part that looked really inviting but someone held me back and I was just a teensy bit worried about an undercurrent. So we are planning to head for the beach on Saturday for that last swim of the summer before the dreaded clocks.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

mists and mellow fruitfulness

These have been the mornings: misty, dew dropped, the fresh ploughed earth like slabs of chocolate. Later the sun is warm on my back and the sky the clearest, deepest, farthest blue. The air is warm with a cool edge, faintly smelling of plums and fallen apples and in the night the stars hang low and bright. The trees are keeping their green and flowers think it is still July. Today I walked my favourite valley and ridge and revelled in the last days - is it the last this time - of our Indian summer. Scout kept me company and reminded me of what it is to be a young pup, no longer startled by the clocking of pheasants and the mewling of buzzards, he enjoyed foxy smells and the occasional rabbit bone.Soon it will be time to change my header, but for now, the rainbow over the beach, for just a little longer...