We don’t often go walking in the evening. But yesterday we did, and found ……. orchids – I only know the last one, the bee orchid, by name…..
…… trees stalking the skyline……
…… inquisitive young calves huddled together: they thought we were scary ..
….. and best of all, this sheep. Naughty thing, she’d escaped from her field, and was having a high old time eating the contents of this wheat field. We told the farmer when we saw him later. Was he bothered? Not a lot.
I wonder if she left this wool behind?
On Christmas day I posted a scene from our days living in the Ariège. I felt very nostalgic for the Pyrenees, for snowy peaks silhouetted against clear blue skies, for cold clear air.
Today gave me the chance to remember that our countryside, though so very different, has its own charms and pleasures. We walked from nearby Masham and past the gravel pits of Marfield, now home to water birds of every kind: though only Canada geese and a few proud swans got a look in this morning.
We passed stands of ancient oaks, saw stark lines of skeletal trees marching along the horizon, watched the sky turn from Pyreneen blue to moody grey and purple then back to cheerful blue again. Sheep in late pregnancy cropped the short grass. We stopped to chat with fellow walkers walking off a calorie-laden Christmas. The River Ure was never far away. A pretty good morning’s work, actually.
Back in England, it’s time to dust down our walking boots again. As we stepped out today, on a beautifully fresh and clear early Autumn morning, we contrasted our walk from nearby Masham with hikes we’d gone on in Korea.
It was the weather we noticed first. Probably it’s colder there now too, but then, we wore t shirts and battled against the humidity. We wore fleeces today. We tramped through fungus-laden woodland in both countries. Here though, as we glanced at the tussocky meadowland near the River Ure, we saw sheep, sometimes cattle . There, valley floors were terraced with paddy fields, citric green with young rice.
Here, there were distant views of solid stone barns and farmhouses – even a country house, Clifton Castle. There, we were more likely to come upon a hidden Buddhist temple, its solid, yet graceful wooden form painted cinnabar, blue-green, white, yellow and black.
In Korea, woodland in the countryside is dominant once you get away from ‘civilisation’. Here, we drifted between woods, meadows, ploughed fields and ground by the open river .
We enjoyed the lot. But today, we appreciated saying ‘hello’ again to our familiar local landscape.