Dogs, logs – and more important things

It was a two walk weekend, after a week of only one. And that one was to the shops. With a brief diversion into the cemetery. Those angels. They need watching over.

Angels and crosses

Something about having strangers working in the house makes me want to stay in – not because I don’t trust them, I do. But it’s as if I’m in a real office with people who aren’t home from work, but people who are at work. Like me.

As a result I’ve done more work than usual and even – the prof will never believe it (he’s in Ghana) – done some filing. I can see the floor. Most of it.

But back to the walks.

The sun shone both days. I felt grateful to Nature for smiling on me. And it was good to be free.

It took a while to break the invisible chains. My metaphorical apron strings? There’s certainly lots of cleaning to do 😦

I left the house as Saturday afternoon threatened to turn to evening and returned to the local sand dunes.

Despite all the foot-and pawfall, it feels remote and quiet

It was more perfunctory this time, exercise with a little observation thrown in, rather than the other way round.

As I set out, after several cheery hellos, I thought, ‘this has to be the friendliest place to walk.’

Little did I know the extremes that friendliness would reach …

It wasn’t every dog (the Labradors abstained).

Most of them were small and their enthusiasm reached no further than my knees or thighs. And as it hadn’t rained, the paw marks – being sandy – rubbed off.

But the biggest one was big. Very big. And VERY friendly. So friendly it came close to knocking me over – just before it licked my face.

I had to laugh. I’m not a dog person, but they do have a special something. Well, some of them.

A survivor

Which creatures are so tall they can play netball with this hoop?

Look at the curl in that trunk!

The wind section of the coastal orchestra – where’s the conductor?

Gorgeous!

That was Saturday’s walk, then, with added dogs.

Yesterday the dogs were at loggerheads. The humans were at Loggerheads too, but not at loggerheads with each other. Although they were with each other – the humans – at Loggerheads. Just not at loggerheads.

It was only the dogs who were really at loggerheads at Loggerheads. Snarling and barking and fighting

I was at Loggerheads, but not with anyone, I was alone. So I was at Loggerheads but not at loggerheads.

You’ve probably guessed by now, Loggerheads is a place. In Wales. People go there on sunny Sundays, even when the clocks have gone forward, to walk. Some with angry dogs.

The walk was a tad more strenuous than anticipated. I knew there’d be a climb, but wasn’t quite prepared for the steepness.

Cliffs!

But I made it to the top.

The Clwydian hills

Then spent the next mile recovering as I walked through the woods and back down along the river.

A family of lost limbs in a tree caress, as the fungi begin their work

Snowdrops gone, I suspect wild garlic will be pungent soon

A reminder we’re in Wales

There are many logs at Loggerheads.

I could have been a log lady if I’d picked one up.

I was fascinated by the Log Lady in Twin Peaks.  RIP, bless her. She made such a poignant appearance in the latest series.

But I left the logs behind.

They line the paths by the river

Make interesting patterns (well I think so)

Mourn their lost body parts

 

We’d have been at loggerheads if I’d seen the human who left this log adornment

Drove on to Ruthin intending to eat, buy someone a birthday present. But the crafts were expensive and the café … I just thought, I’d rather go home. So I did.

And once home (delayed by horrendous traffic jams in my home town) I put my ready meal in the tiny, counter-top oven and set to thinking of more important things.

Two people in particular brought me back to reality from my self-indulgent introspection this weekend.

Blogging friend Ardysez wrote a post – do read it – about the #MarchForOurLives.  The song she posted had me in tears.

Then my sister-in-law sent these, from recently terrorised Austin, Texas – where she’d been on a #MarchForOurLives march.

It says: I call B.S.

I’m so humbled by the young people who have created this great movement.

They’ve plainly said to their government, don’t tell us you can’t, you CAN do something.

We DON’T have to allow people to buy these weapons of mass destruction.

That’s what they are – aren’t they?

Watch this, if you haven’t already. Be patient, watch it right through – you can spare six minutes, can’t you? –  and see what I mean.

This young woman stunned me. The bravery, at her age, to stand before a massive crowd and speak – but even more bravely, stand silent. And how powerful, that silence.

All of which reminded me that I – we – should pay attention to our world. Not because we can do things, always – which is what sometimes makes me turn from the news, feeling I can’t do anything.

But by supporting those who do take action – with praise, funds, our voices whenever we can use them – that’s better than doing nothing. If we all shout, the people who can do something will eventually hear – and recognise a voter’s anger.

Though there are those, like Old Jules, who take a more cycnical view.*

*[Edit: in my haste to add his interesting views, I did misrepresent Old Jules – see his comment below. ]

But I’m eschewing cynical. And writing in Britain, where guns – and death by gun – are rare, I’ve always been appalled by the USA’s NRA.

No citizen needs an assault weapon.

It’s time to call time on the casual acceptance of mass murdering wepaons by adults who should know better. It’s as simple as that.

OK.

I’ll get back to coherent, thought-through posts one day.

Meanwhile. Welcome to summer time.

 

 

 

Posted in Art, jaunts & going out, Britain now & then, Texas, Thinking, or ranting, or both | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

That little girl in red sandals

OK, so my last post was:

heavy/silly/vain/weird/interesting/other

(no need to delete as appropriate).

On the plus side, in one comment, the seer said he could see the little girl I portrayed, running around in her pretty dress, red sandals and white ankle socks.

🙂

Exploiting the positive, then, and by way of counteracting the Dark Triad, I thought I’d post two pictures of little-me in a pretty dress (no sandals or white ankle socks visible, sorry). Plus one of several little people, including little-me, eating lunch with a big person.

After which, normal service (trees and walks and rants and things) (and relative anonymity) will be resumed.

The pictures were taken at nursery school. Probably the last time I posed for a picture and enjoyed it (going by the look on my face – I have no memory of it being taken).

I hate having my photo taken so you won’t find many of me online and where you do you will find it hard to see what I look like.

In these pictures  I was three, or thereabouts. My mum had been taken into hospital for an operation, which went wrong and rendered her deaf in one ear.

For little-me it meant that one day I was sitting on the breakfast table enjoying ‘listen with mother,’ as she drank milky coffee, next day I was all alone in the company of a load of other little human beings. And one big one. It was all rather unexpected and frightening.

Some days were good, some days were bad. I never slept during afternoon nap time, when Miss Tickell would sometimes put her stockinged feet under my little blanket as she knitted.

I was often rather scared, used to hide in the lavatory when the nit nurse came.

And I think the introspection may have started here, judging by photo two.

I have since stopped licking my plate, which was occasionally permitted. Which sounds unlikely, I know. Perhaps it wasn’t and I was just being treated with extra tolerance.

Miss Tickell is the tall one. I am beside her on the right of the picture and not yet at plate-licking stage. Bill Bull (you can tell which one he is, can’t you?) is wearing red sandals. Like we all did. (You’re welcome, seer)

I have also stopped playing the triangle. And the bang-them-together-in-time-with-the-music sticks. Things it is hard to do wrong. But odd to do alone.

One’s creative world does not always change for the better, does it?

And I still yearn for red sandals. But not white ankle socks.

 

Posted in Britain now & then, Thinking, or ranting, or both | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

The Ides of March

Beware, cried the soothsayer. Or was it the East wind?

As I sit down to write this post – amid boxes of tiles, plaster dust and paint – I calculate that it’s XIII days before the Kalends of April.

I learned the old Roman (pre-Julian) calendar system of Kalends, Nones and Ides when I studied Latin at school – which I did from the age of ten to eighteen.

One of the few things I still remember is the rhyme:

In March July October May

The Nones fall on the seventh day

And the Ides on the fifteenth.

Not exactly a work of literary genius, but it stuck.

Last night, lying awake as the East wind screeched through our window – before I closed it – I could not, for the life of me, remember when the Nones fell in the other months.

I looked it up this morning. It’s the 5th.  You might not care – fair enough – but it was bugging me.

This calendar without weeks is based on the moon’s cycle and not exactly the easiest thing for twenty-first-century-types to grasp. It’s possible some nerdy classicist has designed an app for it – but I doubt it will make a fortune.

Anyway.

Why was I thinking about the Ides? Well, mulling over the last few days, I thought how strange they’d been. And for some reason I heard, ‘Beware the Ides of March,’ in my head. Then realised. It had just passed.

Thursday the 15th (Ides) of March was my day for meeting other lone-workers. We gather fortnightly above a cosily crowded café in a spacious room of our own (Virginia Woolf would approve). There we work and network (gossip) for a few hours, in the luxury of company.

The café’s ten miles down the road from here, in Crosby, north of Liverpool. I usually take my backpack and walk to the station – about three quarters of a mile. Watch the golf courses and pine woods speed by for twenty minutes before the next ten minute walk.

But last Thursday I felt wretched. Drained. And not wanting to stray too far from a room with a loo.

So I drove.

My usual lunch – the café’s nourishing soup – sounded more like punishment than reward. Instead I struggled – such a penance – through a cinnamon bun, to a slice of banana bread, washed down with loose-leaf rooibos.

By two o’clock I was cold, tired, had done no work and wanted to go home. Yes, even to the sound of drilling as the joiner worked in the echoing kitchen shell.

As I strolled towards the car, I looked up, through a spattering of fine almost-rain, and gawped.

A giant rainbow bestrode the view. From below it looked like a double rainbow, two joined together. But my pictures – taken on my phone – say it was two.

If you look closely there is a faint rainbow above the brighter one

 

I fled for the car and home, feeling privileged to have seen such a sight.

But as I drove, the rainbow grew bolder and bigger and brighter and, seven miles later, as the dual carriageway petered out, a lazy arch spanned the entire sky.

It was an inverted smile, from the extreme left by the coast to the far right, where views of hills appear at the edge of the saturated moss.

And as I drove under it, the rainbow faded, like the Cheshire cat’s grin.

It felt as if I’d gained access to a magical kingdom – not just the nearest village and the main road to our house.

That was Thursday.

As the XV day before the Kalends of April dawned, I dragged myself into the day, ready for the joiner’s arrival.

Showered, dressed, make-up and jewellery applied (trying to make myself feel efficient and work-friendly by dressing up) I sat at the computer.

And sank my brain into London, 1977. The book, needing tweaks.

Two hours later, the phone rang.

The printer of my Little Match Girl story. His elusive typesetter had emerged from an inexplicable absence and – could I get over there soonish?

I drove the eighteen miles across the squelching moss. (On the roads not the grass. It’s very wet out there, looks more like a lake than fields)

After two joyous hours spent watching and learning, marvelling at the intricate mechanical processes, I left – with my name, cast in lead, in hand.

Here’s where the brass matrices are waiting to be freed by being ‘typed’ into…

… this beautiful waterfall of a chute then …

… into here where they meet the hot metal

Dave, who’s holding these, tells me there’s a difference between the two sets of matrices (I hope that’s right, one of the brass things is a matrix – a mould for the letter that is to be cast in lead, tin and antimony). I was wrong when I said I could see it …

I couldn’t resist – have a green stamp pad and had to try it

But driving the high road over the sunken fields, I had to rein in my eyes, which were desperate to scan the unfolding skyscape. The ditches beside the narrow moss roads are unfenced and precipitous – concentration is essential.

A strip of sullen, sulphurous light lay over the trees, meeting the grim grey of the lowering sky. The bare branches, crackled and gnarled, festered in frustration at the slow advance of spring.

The light changed, the sun lifted the veil of grey and a smudge of starlings formed a small murmuration – and was gone.

A chance observation on an unexpected drive.

And then the sky cleared, the sun shone, the birds sang and danced their naughty spring dances.

And now. Today. XIV days before the Kalends of April.

After a sleepless night, haunted by the howling, shrieking, wailing wind, (and thoughts of my partial namesake, Cathy in Wuthering Heights) the East wind blows.

And we have snow.

And, like the soothsayer, I say, ‘beware the Ides of March.’

Who knows what they may bring.

Posted in Britain now & then, Lancashire & the golf coast, Liverpool, Nature notes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Through a glass, brightly

I did think about calling this post Chicken Oblivious. But you know how it is. The cyclist would have been offended. If he’d known.

I’d spent the afternoon engrossed in watching a kind of ballet. Two people, dancing a pas de deux, ceaselessly moving around each other, with fluid, choreographed steps. Except I suspect they’d deny the choreographing bit – and they’d probably be right.

But choreographed sounds better than ‘managing to avoid each other’ or ‘without colliding or tripping up.’

Which is all quite important if you’re holding something that’s heated to over 1000 degrees C.

Say, what?

Where?

Why?

I was in Mawdesley, Lancashire. Escaping the house.

Our kitchen is a scene of much banging and clattering. Its infrastructure has already been consigned to kitchen afterlife. Some to the Sally Army, some to other forms of recycling. Some – I’m afraid – to the tip. Or landfill, I suppose I should admit.

Those ceramic tiles (many cracked) are going too… aaargh

I’m sorry. I would have liked to keep it, but its twenty-seven (or so) years of service weren’t just showing, but demonstrating.

So, we’re soon to be the, ‘yeah it’s ok, it’s a kitchen, it works, but why is it so expensive?’ owners of a new, tame, sober, pale kitchen.

Which is why we’re buying the lights.

Not these – white flexes and three not four – but similar

 

Lights.

Such a puny word.

They are – I now know, having watched the making of them – a work of art.

Clear glass, the starting point

 

One form the colour comes in for adding to the clear glass

The other way of adding colour – chop a bit off this and heat (a lot)

Couple at work: Léona and Stephen Lindars , in between bouts of calm pirouetting around each other

In the furnace – apparently called the ‘glory hole’ (I know)

Stephen shaping the glass with a pad of wet … newspaper! Yes, 1065 degrees C meets paper

About to be removed from the rod and put in the heated cabinet next to this to cool down overnight

Over the years we have accidentally subscribed to William Morris’s view on stuff. Wanting nothing in our house that is neither useful nor beautiful. These – Mr Morris might be thrilled to know – are both.

So, perhaps you can see why I adapted the quotation, ‘For now we see, through a glass, darkly,’ which comes from St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. But I can’t honestly say it was that version rattling round my brain. Nor was it the Bergman film of 1961.

I resorted to Google. My random choice – from a long list of possibilities – introduced me to Arthur Hugh Clough. And the Liverpool-born-poet’s poem, ‘Through a glass darkly,’ contained these lines:

Ah yet, when all is thought and said,
The heart still overrules the head;

Which is appropriate, given the context.

We didn’t need the lights.

We could have bought an off-the-shelf fitting.

But we saw these and our hearts said, yes!

Bland, safe, though the kitchen shall be, dull the lights shall not.

Hmm. I’ve gone a bit purple. It’s that Victorian poet. Let’s get back to my afternoon.

It was fascinating, watching the performance.

The movement never stops, rolling, swinging, blowing – can never stop till the piece is complete.

And now I have three unique pieces of glass – pieces I find it hard to describe as mere lightshades –  sitting, waiting for the day when they can be installed. Hung in our sleek kitchen. Switched on to illuminate our messy table.

There was one disappointing thing about my voyeuristic afternoon: I spent too long taking pictures and filming. Not enough time watching, absorbing, enjoying.

Or admiring. So much to admire.

But at least I saw more than the chicken did. Or the cyclist. Both of whom passed the open door without so much as a glance inside.

Chicken.

Utterly.

Oblivious.

 


Find Slyglass here, but not over Easter 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Art, jaunts & going out, Lancashire & the golf coast | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Bread and butter(milk)

Well, lots of people seemed to read my last post [on online porn] but very few commented  … I suppose it was a bit of shock, after all that nature and beauty and introspection.

Well, it’s a respite post, this time.

Before I move on to all the flotsam and jetsam riding in on the wave of gender fluidity that’s washing up on the shores of our being – [gasp, pauses for breath] – how about a recipe?

Yes, a recipe.

For bread.

This kind of bread:

The pan is there for a reason – read on down…

I’ve occasionally toyed with bread making, over the years, in a dilettante-ish way.

I first made bread at school in domestic science lessons (those were the days, learning why not just how) with real yeast – awed by the magic that happens when you cream it with a soupçon of sugar. But I have never, ever recaptured that springy, delicious, yeasty, crusty – mmmmmm – bread.

And I like wholemeal, granary – that kind of bread – now.

A few Sundays ago, the prof saw a recipe – tore it out of the Observer (yes, a real paper newspaper). It was for bread made with buttermilk.

Sounded good – in fact, I was eagerly awaiting his first attempt.

But, the man has a demanding day job so… the recipe sat. And sat.

Then, one cold day last week, at lunchtime, I thought – I’ll make that.

A bread with no yeast, that takes just a few minutes – no, really – to weigh and mix. Doesn’t need kneading (ha). For 25 minutes it bakes in a lidded pan in the oven and after ten minutes spent resting it’s ready to be scoffed with anything you choose – or nothing at all.

Delicious bread ready to eat within – let’s say – 45 minutes, max?

It is DELICIOUS and SO EASY!

I had to share it.

I am not a big fan of its creator, Nigel Slater. To me he’s one of those cooks who’s a bit style (writing) over substance (food that actually feeds human beings on a normal basis). But he does have three recipes I love. One of them is this, so without further ado.

No, hang on – a little further ado.

I used pumpkin seeds, not hemp and ground flax not whole golden linseeds.

The tubs of buttermilk from my local supermarket are 300 ml so I topped it up with plain natural yoghurt.

That’s it.

Please, try it. It’s fab! I won’t be buying shop made very often from now on…

And yes, I’ve taken the lazy way out. To spare my still-complaining wrist.

Here you go:

Oh – I do spray a little oil in the pan to make sure the flour adheres… It seems to work, but make sure you have good oven gloves!

Feeling hungry now…


 

Posted in Simple Food for Simple Folk (like me) | 26 Comments

Gagged and bound. It’s no way to treat a dog

England, it is said, is a nation of dog lovers.

Imagine, then, the furore that greeted publication of an image which – well, I’ll try and describe it as I don’t have access to it.

A dog is tied to a post in a cage, but not by its neck. Its front paws have been pulled up backwards behind its head, tied together and then tied to the post so it has to stand on its back paws.

Bad enough, eh?

But there’s more.

The dog’s mouth has been taped shut. It can’t bark, can only breathe through its nose. And around that cage, a load of people stand, laughing and taking pictures as it writhes around.

Shameful, isn’t it?

And I imagine it would create a furore if it were published. But as far as I know it doesn’t exist.

The real image features a young, attractive woman, in a very short skirt, legs akimbo, buttocks resting on – divided by – the ‘post’ which is actually a pole.

If someone had described this image to me I would have assumed it was taken from a soft porn magazine, a lap dancing club, or similar.

It’s not.

If/when you get to the end of this post you’ll see it. It’s a Getty Images/Evan Agostini photograph, taken in Amsterdam at a trade exhibition. As in, a place where ‘things are ‘exhibited’ in order to make sales.

It was an ‘adult’ trade exhibition and thus aimed mostly (and please don’t do that ‘not all men’ or ‘but some women’ to this post, you can take that as read) at a male audience.

For a while now I’ve been reading, watching – deploring – what’s going on in the world women inhabit and it’s way too complicated for a short post, but it’s time to start getting it out of my head.

I’d like to talk about gender fluidity, too, because it’s become a serious concern, not just for women, but for anyone who cares about freedom of speech. But that will have to wait.

First, I need to talk about porn.

So, to you all, women and men, I address these questions:

1 Do you have:

  • children
  • grandchildren
  • nephews, nieces, cousins, younger siblings?

2 Do you:

  • teach young people
  • coach them
  • hope for a better world for them?

If so – and if you haven’t yet noticed, or have avoided noticing, the pernicious influence of online pornography, please, read on.

I’m of the generation which saw bunny girls in Playboy as porn.

I have vivid memories of seeing the magazine for the first time. I was off school, revising in my dad’s study. Being nosy – a lifelong trait – I opened a cupboard door, started poking around.

I was shocked. And fascinated. Semi-naked women with big boobs in provocative poses.

If that kind of thing, but more explicit, with a bit more exposure, is still your image of porn – you’re in for a shock.

I reached the point of ‘this must stop, something must be done,’ when I saw – and nearly ignored – yet another online petition.

It was protesting a deal whereby ‘Ann Summers,’ a chain of ‘adult’ shops supposedly aimed at women and which I assume sells merchandise like vibrators and crotchless knickers – linked up with Pornhub.

Pornhub?

You may have seen it. Your husband, father, brother, uncle may have seen it.

Your teenage son/nephew/cousin/brother/grandson, or someone male you know, is very likely to have seen it.

Because in 2016 there were 23 BILLION visits to Pornhub.

Read the introduction to this petition and you’ll see why this deal – in many people’s opinion – is a very bad idea (warning, it tells it bluntly):

https://www.change.org/p/ann-summers-dump-pornhub

On Pornhub, ‘5246 centuries worth of footage was viewed. In just one year,’ according to  Tom Farr, who wrote this piece for the Medium.* Worth reading if you care about the young in today’s world.

[*NB: There’s a video embedded in the article which I haven’t watched. My system warns me the site owner doesn’t comply with my blanket request for commercial sites not to track me.]

The article may shock you – it shocked me. I’m linking to it because I don’t want to cover the details myself for fear of attracting hate mail, or weirdo bots recording my online whereabouts and thinking I’m into violent, painful, degrading porn.

If you veered away from that one, perhaps you might read what Jo Bartosch, in mainstream (if lefty) news magazine New Statesman, has to say.

The content of these articles should concern us all.

What is porn doing to the behaviour of youngsters?

In particular to girls who feel they MUST do things they don’t want to do, but who don’t know any better. Things which may hurt them, or injure them for life?

What is it doing to young men who feel obliged to prove their virility by force, pushing unwilling girls to submit to sexual acts in the belief it’s what men do?

“Porn is now a multi-billion dollar global industry, with revenue anywhere from the $2 billion mark to upwards of $90 billion per year depending on your source” according to Tom Farr.

A powerful global force, unpoliced to a large extent simply because it’s online and international, is adversely affecting lives.

It demeans and exploits women and girls.

It affects men, whether young or older. It can damage families, spoil relationships and affect people’s working lives as men become ‘addicted’ to its extreme stimulations.

“As porn consumers become desensitized from repeated overloads of dopamine, they often find they can’t feel normal without a dopamine high. … They experience strong cravings and often find themselves giving more of their time and attention to porn, sometimes to the detriment of relationships, school, or work…”

Fight the New Drug (link below)

So far so calm.

Now it’s time to get angry!

When some people in this world get turned on by watching men forcibly damaging unwilling female orifices, or watching a father molest his daughter – and this criminal filth is overtly available online – isn’t something seriously WRONG!?

Think of the abused participants: exploited, trafficked girls. Drug addicts. The vulnerable, poor, dependent on aid.

Whatever your politics, think about the people you care about who may already be, or may become exposed to this degrading, inhumane stuff.

We must protest, speak out about this in whatever ways we can. Write to the people who represent us in governments, if nothing else.

I mean, if you wouldn’t treat a dog this way …

 


Links

I make no claims for these sites, they are just ones I have come across when trying to find anti-porn research or campaigning organisations. There are, it seems, many groups – and Twitter is a good place to find campaigners.

UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children advice to parents – PDF with some useful links:

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/advice-and-info/online-pornography-keep-child-safe.pdf

Actively campaigning against the selling of sex including porn:

http://www.notbuyingit.org.uk/

Scottish-based women’s organisation with a useful website:

http://www.womenssupportproject.co.uk/content/home/1/

American site ‘Fight the New Drug’ which claims to be research based:

https://fightthenewdrug.org/overstatement-to-label-porn-a-public-health-concern/

Mumsnet always good for an honest opinion:

https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/_chat/3164750-Ann-Summers-teams-up-with-Pornhub-not-OK

https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/in_the_news/a1467052-Why-you-shouldnt-support-legislation-blocking-internet-porn

Posted in Thinking, or ranting, or both | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Slacks, golf – and George

When, in 2004, we moved up north to Liverpool, we bought a house in complete ignorance of the district’s main attraction: ten minutes’ walk from our front door was a long, sandy beach.

I knew the land came to an end not terribly far from our road, but in my imagination the shoreline was merely a muddy – possibly smelly – estuary.

It wasn’t. It was sand. Golden, glorious sand.

Which , soon after we moved in, was invaded by a load of naked men. Iron Men. An installation called ‘Another Place’ by sculptor Anthony Gormley (a favourite subject of  photographer Ron Davies who blogs as Traveller’s Light ).

And they were soon followed by wind turbines – which I happen to like.

Ron had a series of postcards made of some of his stunning pictures

We loved the Iron Men – and the views to North Wales. On really clear days we could see Snowdonia and another distant wind farm off Great Orme.

And the beach was ideal for spotting passing tall ships whenever they visited for Liverpool’s maritime festivals.

And then we moved. Ten miles up the coast.

This time there were no misconceptions about the beaches. This is our nearest, taken just after the tide had gone out on a windy, wintry day last month:

We knew our house nestled snug as a bug in the ‘rough,’ between two greens of a golf course. And we knew the course was one of three in the immediate area, the most famous being Royal Birkdale, where the British Open was held in 2017.

Less than a mile up the road, we knew there was a hillock called the Round Hill and a patch of green where local dogs walked their humans.

And we knew the whole coast was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, being home to a few rare plants, such as Dune Helleborine, and rare creatures like Natterjack Toads.

So, we also knew the land was safe from predatory developer. For now, at least.

But.

In the four years since we’ve been here we had no idea that, within walking distance up the road,  to one side of  the ‘Round Hill,’ is a hidden gem. A new ‘charm’ to add to my metaphorical bracelet of places treasured for solitary walking and pondering, for observing nature in all its mysterious ways.

For this gift of a new place to walk, we have Olly, the dog next door – and Carole and John, the humans he walks – to thank.

We set out for our first trip, bundled in cold weather gear, on Sunday, not long before noon.

The morning was frosty and calm. Outrageously sunny – and impossibly-deep-blue-skied.

For an hour and a quarter we tromped, amazed. Returned mentally revivified, the world and its woes back in their context.

I hope you’ll enjoy our sunny Sunday stroll on England’s north west coast. The sand dunes and stunning, sun-wakened trees. The beautiful ponds (called slacks) which lie between some of the dunes. And dogs. Like George. A transient friend.

I’m not writing the walk, but posting the pictures.

And if you read my last post, I should warn you, the rant’s still pending, you haven’t escaped. It’s written. Lurking…

But for now – have some sun and blue skies.

This one was completely frozen even at midday

Odd effect – the ripples kept rippling but stopped where all around they met ice

There’s an offshore platform at the very left of the sea on the horizon …

Such clear water – and the prof reading the information board while I drink in the views

Budding amid the thorns

Seaside = gorse of course

Looks like a stream but a drainage ditch I presume? Not what I expected to find amid sand dunes

Titania and her fairies might like his bower of ferns and mosses between the several trunks of a sprawling tree. At midsummer, of course.

George the dog and his human in front of Royal Birkdale club house. George, once introduced, adopted us as extended family for the rest of our walk. Had to crop the pic hard so not great quality but I thought he deserved to put in an appearance

Despite my instinctive aversion to all things golf, I love the simple ‘1930s aerodrome’ style, like something out of Agatha Christie, of famed Royal Birkdale, which, along with Hillside, frames this treasure trove of nature. This is, I must add its plain back side 😉

 

 

 

 

Posted in Britain now & then, Lancashire & the golf coast, Nature notes, Socks, spoons, stones and sunsets | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments