Roughly the Same Walk as Last Week …

… except the same walk is never the same walk.  Last week, Chris and I walked from Lofthouse to Ramsgill to Middlesmoor and back to Lofthouse.  On Sunday, we did the route again, joined by eight friends from our walking group.

It was less sunny. It was more muddy.  The intervening week had been largely dry and breezy: but before the walk, it had rained all night. It was a day to pick our way carefully through mud, artfully stamped with the outlines of sheep hooves, tractor tyres and farmers’ boots.

It was a day to notice dry stone walks, scabbed with moss and lichen.

Discarded bits of farmyard furniture and buildings.

Swollen streams, tumbling and scurrying.

All of these were subjects for Jude’s 2020 Photo Challenge, requiring us this week to look for texture – rough texture.

But it was  a day too for moody landscape.  Look!  I didn’t take this view over Gouthwaite Reservoir in black and white.  But where’s the colour?

View over Gouthwaite Reservoir.

And here – this rainbow appeared more than once on our walk that day, always elusive, always vanishing as we approached.

Join us.  It’s a virtual walk.  You won’t need to clean your boots at the end.

2020 Photo Challenge #10

A Different Perspective

This is my second response to a photo challenge this week: that’s what happens when you get a bee in your bonnet.  I’ll settle down soon, don’t worry.

This time, Patti invites us to change our perspective when taking a photo.  Don’t just stand, point, shoot, she suggests.  Crouch, squat, get above the action, take a tour round it.

The weather being what it is, I can’t get out much with my camera, so these are all from the archives.

This first one is perhaps my favourite, taken in Gloucestershire.  I had to lie at the edge of a flower bed to get this shot of a house barely glimpsed through the ox-eye daisies.  Photography as exercise class.

Our friends Sue and Brian’s garden at Horton.

Here are some more shots, taken in much the same way, in gardens and fields.

And here are two more.  The back end of a festive lunch, and flags at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

Click on any image to view the caption, and to see it full size.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 86: Change your Perspective

 

Winter Walking in Nidderdale – with Added Mud

Mud. I can’t be doing with it. Viscous, squelchy, squishy, sticky, over-the-top-of-your-boots kind of mud. We’ve had ground slick with treacly mud here for weeks and weeks. But then there’s also Cabin Fever, and the need to plan a walk for our walking group in a fortnight’s time, when spring might have sprung. Walking won out over yet another day indoors.

Just outside Lofthouse, our walk begins.

My friend Chris and I set forth for the Yorkshire Dales, parked up in Lofthouse, and set off. Really, it could have been worse. It was a full twenty minutes before we came upon our first serious mudbath: prior to that we’d only had water-on-the-path to deal with.

Chris paddles across the path previously trodden only by sheep.

But climbing now, we saw what the fields were like: yes, those are fields you’re looking at. Gouthwaite Reservoir’s not here: it’s over there in the distance.

The path between Lofthouse and Ramsgill, with flooded fields down below and Gouthwaite Reservoir in the distance.

We had our rewards though. The views: the remnants of a snowscape: sheep – and oh look! Our very first lambs of the season – a little huddle of black ones, and just one snowy specimen with its mum.

This sheep inspected us as we sat on a log for a snack.

Swaledale sheep make the logo of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

And then, a pleasant surprise. The café at How Stean Gorge was open – on a weekday in February! Coffee and home-made cake while enjoying the view of the stream jostling and hurrying through its narrow ravine. I forgot to take a photo for Jo, but the website shows the Yorkshire Slice Chris and I shared.

How Stean Gorge seen from the café .
The view of Nidderdale and Gouthwaite Reservoir from Middlesmoor.

We were on the home straights now. All we had to do was struggle up a steepish hill to the now barely-populated village of Middlesmoor. Just outside its church, on the path that plunges down to our starting point are thoughtfully-provided seats. This is one of the best views in England, and despite the wind, we wanted to appreciate it.

And then, half way down the hill- a traffic jam. This herd of cattle blocked our path. The farmer asked us if we’d mind waiting five minutes. He turned out to have a countryman’s clock, but no matter: we weren’t going to argue with all those cows.

Cows make themselves at home.

Finally, the cows moved on, and so did we. We got back to the car just as the rain, and then the sleet, started once more.

It was good to be out walking again.

An entry for Jo’s Monday Walk.

Pay-As-You-Feel, Eat a Good Meal

Let’s begin at the beginning.  A couple of years ago, Alison and her husband were in Saltaire, looking for a late lunch.  They found it at the Saltaire Canteen, and soon realised it was no ordinary café.  Here, the ingredients used were all past their sell-by dates, and had been intercepted from landfill.  They’d been transformed into appetising meals, mainly by volunteers, and customers were encouraged to pay what they thought was fair, or what they could afford.

‘We could do that in Ripon’, thought Alison.

Actually, that’s not the beginning of the story.  We need to go back to December 2013, when The Real Junk Food Project opened its doors in Armley, Leeds,  as a café offering meals made from food destined for the tip.  People ‘paid’ for their meals with money, by offering skills or even food.

It was the brainchild of Adam Smith, who had a Road to Damascus moment on a pig farm in Australia, where the pigs were eating discarded food he’d have been happy to put on his plate.  Back in England,  The Real Junk Food Project was born, firstly as a café: then as an ever-expanding movement helping others develop their own models; as a Sharehouse sourcing and distributing waste food for those cafes; pay-as-you-feel supermarkets of discarded food; Freegan boxes of intercepted food designed for families; for distribution in a school setting (breakfast clubs, or for families in need for instance); even outside catering.  I’d like to get married all over again for the pleasure of having a Junk Food catering team deliver the party!  You can see why Alison needed to talk to Adam.

She found a co-conspirator in her friend Janet, and between them they located premises at Community House, equipment, cookware, crockery, cutlery, napkins… everything you need to feed the masses.  I’ve dismissed that task in a sentence, but I don’t underestimate the achievement.  They found volunteers too.  I wasn’t in at the beginning, but I’m part of the team now, and I wouldn’t miss my stints for anything.

A year ago, the café opened.  It’s on Thursdays, Ripon’s Market Day.  People start to drop in from 11 o’clock for a coffee, maybe a cake.  From 11.30 they’re eager for lunch.  Seating is at refectory-style tables, so whether you come with a friend, family, or on your own, you’ll be sitting with others and soon be talking to those around you.

Look!  Here are a few sample menus.

The cooks for the day will have been to Wetherby the day before to collect supplies, considered the random collection of ingredients and devised and cooked a varied and tasty menu to suit everyone: there are always vegetarian and vegan choices.  There’s nearly always a soup or two, and good old fashioned nursery puddings are hugely in demand.

The volunteers have been in since 10 o’clock, setting tables, chalking up the menu, getting everything ready.  At 11.30, they become waitresses and waiters: taking orders, collecting and serving the food to the diners, taking turns to wash up, and finding time to chat and be welcoming.  Newcomers become regulars: regulars become friends. We have office workers; young families; elderly people who welcome a hot meal in friendly company; visitors to the city …

At the end, people put what they feel in a box by the door.  The point is to save food from landfill, not to make money, so those who can’t pay don’t need to feel embarrassed.  Some offer services instead – there were some electricians in one week ….  There are costs of course – notably the rent: so far donations have kept us in the clear.  Any profits are re-invested in improved services.

Then, for the volunteers, it’s time to wash up, tidy up, put things away, swab the kitchen floor, pack away the tables and chairs, vacuum … and finally go home for a rest and a nice cup of tea.

Wholemeal has become a real asset to Ripon community life. And look at the food that’s been intercepted from landfill!  Win-win.  Thank you, Alison.  Thank you, Janet, thank you Adam … and everyone else who’s made it possible.

Radio York transmitted its whole morning show from Wholemeal last Thursday.  Anyone who’s super-interested can listen here, on BBC Sounds.

A Line of Trees

I don’t know about you, but I need a break from the world and its vicissitudes.  And I’ve got just the thing.  One of our favourite walks, near Masham, near home.  It offers wetlands with waterbirds, calming pastures of sheep, woodland, a stretch along the riverside – all available in a four mile stroll.

This month, Jude of Travel Words invites us to consider Pattern.  This walk has plenty, starting with the skeins of geese often to be seen designing sinuous flight lines across the sky.

Marfield Wetlands.

I’m going to show you a particular line of trees that I’m fond of, towards the end of the walk.  A repeated pattern, tree after tree after tree.  Sometimes, especially in high summer, these are enough to fill my mental screen.  At other times, I notice the pattern echoed.  A line of sheep, maybe.  A different line – of fencing.  Even – and I never manage to catch this in the same shot – a line of snagged sheep’s wool caught on nearby barbed wire.

Stark winter trees.  Fencing edges the nearby field.
Winter again.  I like the shadowy trees lower down echoing the crisper line above.
Another much longer view of those trees. With sheep below following the same horizontal line. It’s still winter.
That line again. It’s summer now, and other stands of trees draw the eye down to the lower edge of the shot.
Sheep again. They just left their wool behind.

I’ve chosen in many cases to echo the linear nature of the pattern by a spot of judicious cropping.

There.  Did you forget the headlines just for a few moments?

Saying ‘Thank EU For Being Here’

North Yorkshire for Europe made the best of a very bad job yesterday: a party for locally-resident EU citizens, to say ‘thank you’ for making their home here.

It was a great night, with fun, friendship … and tears.  More tomorrow ….

An entry for Six Word Saturday.

Longer Daylight, More Sunlight = The First Flowers of Spring….

… spotted on a walk through our village yesterday.

Snowdrops – first spotted on January 1st.
These daffodils by the village pond are always extra-early – even though it’s North Yorkshire.
Aconites bravely push up through the gravel.

January Light