Thursday, November 03, 2005

The trick of turning blues into reds

Apologies if yesterday’s blog was a bit disjointed – blame it on tiredness. I could go back and edit it, but not tonight, I have too much to tell you about.

The past few days I think that I have been suffering from withdrawal symptoms or perhaps it is just because the clocks have gone back and the weather has got dreadful. But I really do miss the almost daily routine of going up the lottie and ‘pottering about’ as my beloved calls it. I jumped on the scales today and I have put on 5lb in weight – not much – but enough to make my clothes feel a bit tight. All that ‘pottering about’ obviously had an effect.

I was sitting in the conservatory having my breakfast (our home doesn’t have a dining room), and Pat asked if I had a headache – which I did – so I thought if it is that obvious that I look out of sorts I am going to sort it out.

It was raining, but that did not stop me going out for a walk. Today, I didn’t change into my walking boots and waterproofs, but instead went out smartly dressed. I thought that I would get back to doing my four mile walk as I am not getting the exercise that the allotment gave me.

I only had to walk a few steps before spotting this in the front garden.

The wind had blown this huge nest out of the tree – together with an egg, not even cracked.

There were no windfall apples in the crate, but it was worth a look as I passed. I headed off along the road towards Norwich, with fields on one side and houses on the other. I must have looked like a Lowry figure as I bent into the wind with leaves spinning around me and the sound of the wind in the oak trees was wonderful, you could never reproduce that with an orchestra.

Further along I was surprised to see that the little old prefab bungalows were being demolished – you don’t see things like that in a car as they were set back from the road and behind the hedge. I cut through the gap in the hedge and through the little footpath to see demolition teams doing their thing; the cul de sac covered in mud, and the sad bald squares of land where the homes had been, but still edged with shrubs. I couldn’t resist stooping to smell a prolific flowering white rose bravely defying the weather and the chaos, almost as if it was it’s swansong – one more show before it is bulldozed into oblivion. One of the demolition men shouted out, ‘Oi, oo said you could sniff that rose?’ Which made me smile – the headache was lifting! But I didn’t linger to take a photo, but the rose really deserved it.

Once through the quagmire of mud I was just a few hundred yards from the entrance to the pig farm. You wouldn’t seriously expect me to walk past the gate and not go in would you? Well I didn’t disappoint you. By this time my ankle boots were caked in mud anyway, and you don’t worry about things like that at my age.

I just got to the inner gate right up by the allotment track and turned to pull it open and saw ‘T’ trundling along the farm track on his bike. I stayed to hold the gate open and we walked and slithered up the track together – me telling him all about finally getting chickens and the arrival of my Eglu. Surprisingly he knew what they were – and knew one of the chaps involved with designing it – who happened to live in a village near us! Small world. I walked with him right to the very top of the allotments to his plot as I never miss a chance of looking at all his chickens and seeing how they are all getting on. I think he might have thought me rather eccentric going up there as he remarked that I wasn’t dressed for working. We spent a time talking chickens and I walked back along the track and spotted the other T, he was doing some alterations to his shed, and he let me have a peek in to see his tractors – old ones – so I stood for a while and talked tractors and learnt that he worked for 43 years in the poultry business. Usually I or they are busy working down our plots so just wave or call out a greeting, it was great to have time to talk. A handy man to know, I have ‘booked’ him to dismantle a shed for us in the spring.

I couldn’t leave without a tour of my plot. I am now seeing it in a different light.
The romanesco stalks topped with a crown of leaves I am now reserving for my two chickens. The perpetual spinach and sorrel they might like too.
The fruit cage completely sealed to keep the birds out – will make a lovely playground for them before the fruit comes. They can do some scratching and pecking and get rid of any bugs. I can see that I will have to get a pet carrier for their day trips.

By now it was raining so I headed back down the track slipping in the mud and slush as I went, and was glad of firmer footing on the paths.

I took the long way home and walked up into ‘town’, then took another detour up Pottles Alley near the dutch style house and past the thatched house. The rain had stopped and the sun had come out so I walked along past another of our village greens and saw that a new little shop had opened where the old book shop used to be. I poked my head through the door and explained my windswept appearance but was invited in – I did thoroughly clean my boots outside so that they were no longer caked in mud. They were thrilled to show me their lovely exclusive Italian designer clothes and tell me all about their trips to Milan and all sorts of things, and I got invited to their fashion show in a couple of weeks time in the bistro next door, and to a preview of their winter collection. The prices are very reasonable, as the designers are smaller ones that make a small collection. That’s fortunate, just in time for my birthday and Christmas present – (if you are reading this kids, a donation instead of slippers and a nightie please!)

A bit of excitement seeing two policemen on motorbikes and a Range Rover with a big board announcing ’Police incident camera’ outside the pharmacy – we have a 20mph speed limit in the village and their prominent position meant that traffic was crawling when they saw them.

I could not resist the smell of the bakery and bought a lovely granary loaf, and chatted to the owner – everyone knows everyone in a village – and he asked about my
chickens and Eglu – in this case the Eglu has come first.

By this time I had been out two hours – and my stomach was telling me it must be getting near lunch time.
I could not resist stopping to take these photos of the Virginia creeper that covers these walls in summer and over the last few days has turned colour and moulted leaving wonderful spikes. How can you feel ‘blue’ even in the rain when you see things like this.

Going out for a walk whatever the weather is the best medicine in the world.

And all this before lunch.

Check out my Chicken Page for what I did next.

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