Autumnal feeling

A stroll of a couple of miles, mainly along the canal, as an afternoon’s “constitutional” on this Bank Holiday Monday. It feels like autumn – the hips and haws are brightly coloured (though not yet attacked by mould or birds), and the acorns are starting to fall.

hips

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haws

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acorn cluster, with one empty cup

Visiting Mum

Over at my Mum’s for the weekend due to covid, my first visit for five months! Sadly, I was too late for any of the orchids on the common, but I did catch the very last of the orchids that are gradually colonising her lawns! Early Purple, Pyramid, and Bee orchids have all staked their claim over the past few years.

On the Common, harebells were dancing in a gentle breeze. I do love them!

I’m used to a wide variety of birdlife in the garden there, deep in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, but it gave me quite a shock when I opened the front door this morning to encounter these two! They seemed to want to come indoors, but I persuaded them otherwise. After about five minutes, a farmer came up the drive, with loud exclamations of “there they are!”, and asked if it was OK to take them away. So they were last seen being gently encouraged down the road and then up the bridleway.

Harebells

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two hen turkeys
two hen turkeys

finally …

After several chilly and very windy days, this afternoon was very pleasant with blue skies and warmish breezes. I managed a decent walk, rather than a hurried pavement scamper! Down to the bridge at Merrimans Hill, where I ran into Matt Jenkins for a pleasant chat. Then up the towpath to bridge 14, and up the hill to home.

All told, just under two miles – the furthest I’ve been for a week.

bridge 14 on the canal

garden bits

This morning’s opening (well, actually, it opened in the dusk last night) a white Iris in the pond. Sadly, there only seems to be one flower-spike this year: I think I need to do a sort-out of the assorted plants this autumn, as it’s all rather crowded. I’ll hack back the very vigorous mimulus before then, of course!

Also just opening this morning, the very lovely Wandflower (dierama “Blackbird”). It’s a delight to watch dancing in the breeze – a bit less of a delight trying to get it to stay still enough for a photo!

Scorchingly hot all day – well over 30C. I managed a short walk of a mile after supper, starting around 2100h, just down to the canal bridge and back again. A glorious sunset, but difficult to see through tree and building – this is over the roof of St Barnabas primary school.

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Black Lives Matter

A good attendance at the Black Lives Matter socially-distanced largely-masked peaceful and responsible rally this lunchtime. Due to distancing, the crowd was very spread out, so difficult to estimate numbers, but I think more than the 700 the organisers said they were hoping for.

The first time I’ve been on the e-bike, or into town, since 13th March – exactly three months. The tyres needed a lot of pumping up, but otherwise fine!

Back home, and in the evening the first handful of raspberries – there will be bowlsfull in a few days! Bulked out with some strawberries (I don’t grow enough strawberries to ever give a full bowl – I normally just munch the odd one when going round the garden).

Black Lives Matter on the Pitchcroft

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raspberries and strawberries

swan family

Due to my unexpected trip to WRH, I hadn’t managed much in the way of walking for a week. On Tuesday, I got as far as the Bilford Road locks, and noticed that the swans nest was devoid of swans, but had been taken over by a couple of rather shifty-looking ducks. I kinda hoped that that meant a successful hatching, rather than interference.

Today’s rather longer walk (2.34 miles) took me past there again, and down to Gregorys Mill top lock, where I encountered this delightful family. I’m pretty sure it’s the same lot – I haven’t seen any other swan nests in the area. Three gorgeous little fluffy cygnets – one hiding behind a parent.

ducks on swans nest

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swan family

garden bits, and a short stroll

In the garden, the first raspberries are colouring up – I should get a few to snack on shortly, and a decent bowlful by next weekend.

Out of the garden, I don’t normally do walks that are just on street pavements – I usually like to see a bit of greenery and wildlife! But taking it very easy after last week’s hospital trip, so planned a route where if things got dodgy I could stop and ring for a cab! As close to level as possible round here, and almost exactly a mile (in 22 minutes). I wouldn’t have wanted to go much further …

raspberry in close-up

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map of route

flags

Just over two mile walk this evening. The first of the yellow flags have just started opening – on the other side of the canal, so rather a struggle for the little camera! It only does 4x zoom, but it’s the one I usually take on walks ‘cos it fits in a shirt pocket, is “waterproof”, and does excellent closeups for flowers.

yellow flags (irises)