An old English folk song inspired the title. And to cheer you into this largely pictorial post here it is, sung by Steeleye Span.
Those ups and downs are NOT the kind I’m referring to – I’ve never asked a young man to tie my garter and gone off with him to be naughty in an apple orchard. Well, not recently.
It’s been a while since I posted.
My typing fingers have been still. I’ve been loathe to engage with the news, what’s happening in the prof’s world, or friends. I’ve been – well let’s just say, I’ve not been in the mood.
The last two months I’ve felt as if I’m living by a large, dark lake dotted with glistening islands. The lakeshore being life in general, the glistening islands escapes and evasions.
Evasions don’t work. Nor do escapes. The lake and its shore are still there when I get back. But at least I can see them shining over the murk.
Now, though, it’s time to move on.
By way of catching up I’m posting a series of captioned pictures, taken on my glistening islands. Fast forwarding to the present. And since some of you seem to like joining me on my rambles, I’d welcome your company.
My thanks to the weather gods who have smiled on us here in the rainy north west for the last few weeks. And my apologies to my blogging friends. I’ve not been commenting lately, I’m sorry. I hope to be back soon 🙂
Strands – and stranded
Way back in April I walked further along our local beach than I’ve ever yet ventured – and it was glorious.
In May we went out early one morning, the prof and I and found a fisherman stranded, waiting for the tide.
Solitary, another day, I walked on our local estuarial marshes accompanied by a musical guard of honour from the skylarks. What a privilege.
Five seconds-worth of larks ascending:
When all else fails, we have the longest iron pier in the country in the middle of town. It runs out across the main Southport beach, which often appears to stretch out to infinity. The beach is notorious for the sea being out of reach. But that and its hard-packed nature mean it has been important in the history of aviation and racehorse training.
The legendary racehorse Red Rum trained on the beach.
During World War II, Spitfires and Anson Bombers, repaired at nearby Hesketh Park aerodrome, took off from the beach. Dick Merrill made two transatlantic flights from the beach, in 1936 and 1937. Read the fascinating story of one of them here.
And I’ve written before about our spectacular annual air shows .
My neighbours, Carole and John, introduced me to the dunes that wrap around us, amid the golf course which I wrote about here – and now I’m hooked. Carole recently told me I could start from the other direction, Ainsdale village – it’s wonderful!
The dandelion clock says it’s time to stop
Hills and witches
Pendle Hill has been a looming, brooding presence in my life for as long as I can remember.
The hill and its surrounding villages are associated with the infamous witch trials of 1612. A brief account of them, on Lancaster Castle’s website, can be found here.
For me, part of the superstition was that the hill was unclimbable. I suspect that was my parents trying to avoid having to do it. Now I have scaled the beast and crikey, it is a beast! I’m not a big walker, it took us four and a half hours to climb, recover, eat our sandwiches and get back down. Our knees and muscles made themselves known next day.
Meadows and woods
One of my ‘charms’ – the special places I wrote about earlier this year, is Lunt Meadows, a Lancashire Wildlife Trust nature reserve.
I’ve learnt, in the last year, to accept that special places set aside by humans for ‘nature’ will sometimes be managed – aka brutalised – and then I need to give them a break. Lunt Meadows is one such. But now it’s recovering from savage cutting-back and drainage management. And it’s a wonderful place to be on a quiet day with the birds of the air calling – and the wind in my newly-short hair.
Romans and rivers
Ribchester in Lancashire is well known by northern Roman history enthusiasts – and possibly by others too 😉 My father’s friend and erstwhile headmaster at St Mary’s College Blackburn, Father Philip Graystone, wrote books on Roman roads (they are still for sale in the museum there). As a child I clearly remember scratching my head on a rusty barbed wire fence as we went on yet another picnic with him, looking for Roman remains.
It’s a beautiful area. We were lucky, recently to stay on the edge of the village, on the banks of the River Ribble from which the village gets its name. The ‘chester’ bit being from the Roman for camp – castra.
The Roman name of the garrison and civilian settlement, which was subordinate to Chester and lasted from 70 AD to the fourth century, was Bremetennaceum.
Here’s the eerily lovely Ribchester Parade helmet – a replica – rotating in its display case. The real thing is in London of course 😦
A perfect Sunday morning in England, sun shining church bells ringing:
And finally, for those who believe Lancashire is all mills and clogs. Clitheroe, on a sunny Sunday morning in May, clog dancers at t’owd mill
Tall ships sailing
I’ll leave the day I spent on a typesetting course for another time – if you’ve made it this far I’d be surprised!
To finish with, then, please enjoy last Monday’s glorious, sunny spectacle – the Tall Ships ‘a-leaving of Liverpool’ and setting off for Bordeaux. Lowry would have loved it. And yes, he painted the sea, the seaside and landscapes – not just matchstick men.