Saturday, June 19, 2010

Slight tinge of sadness

Apologies for not posting sooner but the last few days have been hectic in the best possible of ways. First thing I have to do with this post is provide a picture or two of a Dog rose for my good friend from across the pond, Wandering Owl. (A great one to follow by the way if you enjoy the outdoors), so here it is (looks a little paler than your shots Casey, probably due to my camera skills, or lack of!).

I have to admit that I mis-placed my first pictures taken last week somewhere on me hard drive so I had to have a wander up the trials around Nercwys woods on Friday to snap them again (I know, I know any excuse to get ‘out there’). We hit the road really early to avoid the soaring temperatures that the days clear skies promised. This time the fun cruiser’s speakers gently throbbed to some classical music and some of my favourite film themes (see, not just a metal head!). The trails were totally deserted this early, just how I like them. With only the rising chorus of bird song and the scampering bog monster for company we headed of to thickest parts of the woods.

As the trial wound on the abundance of wild flowers and exploding fresh vegetation on the trail edges filled me, as always, with wonder and amazement at mother nature’s diversity and renewal abilities.

As the temperature rose I started thinking of the best route back to the fun cruiser to afford Lucy the shade and ditch water that she craves so much. As we traipsed along the numbers of knits and flies disturbed by our clumsy foot falls and drawn to the heat of our bodies began to become more of a nuisance (note to self, remember to douse hat in lavender oil next time!) and I found myself flapping my arms at the little blighters like a demented windmill. It was then an unusual airborne predator started to take advantage of our fly ridden predicament. The predators arrival was signified by humming noises that would rival that of a small helicopter (ok a very, very small helicopter). The aerial predators in question? hover flies, but not your run of the mill little acrobatic aviators oh no indeed. These buggers were huge (well in an insect scale sort of way) a rough estimation put their body lengths at just under an inch long. It was absolutely spellbinding watching these assassins swooping in taking from the horde of blood suckers which swirled around our heads. I’m just sorry that my hastily took picture does them no justice what so ever.

We circled around to the ‘Sheppard’s Cottage’ enclosure to see how the pigs were getting on and as if luck would have it I bumped into a gentleman called Dave from the Clwydian Range AONB. Dave was generous enough to stop and chat and take the time to answer my questions on the reasons for the little porkers being here. It turns out that these eight pigs are in fact one of the oldest of British breeds and are Oxford, sandy and blacks and are part of a joint project between the forestry commission and Clwydian Range AONB. One the walls were completed it was decided to have the enclosed area as a wild flower meadow to provide refuge for a stronger diversity of fauna and flora. The choice of clearing the existing scrub was either heavy rotavation and ample use of pesticides or the pigs; I guess that common sense and the more natural method won through. Come the autumn the pigs will be removed and the area sown with a carefully selected range of plants. I assume that other grazers will be intruded in future to maintain the ‘meadow’, in a natural way (I left Dave before I thought to ask about this, Doh!). 

I'd like to thank Dave at this point for his time and patience in answering my many questions, top guy.

By now the heat and the walk were getting to us both so we meandered back to the fun cruiser and headed home. That evening as I glanced over at Lucy snoring her head off in her favourite chair, it struck me that now at over eight and a half years old I’m going to have to take a more balanced approach between her adventures and her health. She’d walk with me everyday until the trail ended no matter the distance, terrain or weather. It’s with a slight feeling of sadness that I realised that I’m going to have to reign the old girl in a little for her own good and forget my own need to have her ‘out there’ as often or as long on the trails. But I pretty sure that she’ll still be giving me plenty of tales to entertain you with in the future.

This extended break from the ‘grind’ that Clare and I are enjoying is positively flying by. We’ve managed to spend some serious quality time together but without being joined at the hip, in other words we’ve both done our thing as well. I’ve managed to return a semblance of functionality to the shrine that is ‘the garage’ and hopefully after a couple more sales to some naive punters, sorry I mean much valued customers, upon E-bay the repair kit for the ‘little lady’ shall soon be winging its way to my sacred workshop. We’ve set up new bird feeders within the small confines of our backyard and the results have been spectacular to say the least, but that’ll wait for a future post. The small area of home grown vegetables has started to for fill its promise of a few tasty meals, and the weather has been just sublime. I’ve managed to complete a host of jobs around the house including removing the huge aquarium that took far to much room (5 of us to lift and move the empty glass case alone!) and the building of a long overdue front step (6 years of a caravan step allowing access to the front door, oops!). We’ve enjoying plenty of simple but deeply satisfying meals together washed down with copious amounts of cider on my part. So a satisfying break indeed so far, with a few more days still to come, it’ll be car booting tomorrow early morning (careful on the cider tonight then), fishing down the Globe on Monday, and a trip to the Cheshire show on Tuesday to round our break off.

So an enjoyable week just tempered with the realization that time catches us all up eventually, take the time to enjoy yourselves my friends - life isn't a practice run after all.

Your friend,



Wandering Owl said...

There's a lot to say about this post, John! but mostly I'm glad that you are having a nice break from work. Enjoy it while you can.

Absolutely great pics, and thanks for the "rosa" pics. Seems yours and mine are closely related.

It's a shame how much faster dogs age than us, eh? I've put a dog or two into retirement. Kinda sucks, but usually in my case, a new one comes along. I'm sure she'll take it in stride.

Have a good one, and good luck fishing Monday!


Tovar said...

No, not a practice run. I needed to be reminded of that just now, John. Thanks.

Then again, to put a lighter note on it, I once read this somewhere: "This life is just a test. If this had been a real life, you would have been given instructions on where to go and what to do." (Not sure if the joke carries across the pond. It's a tweak of a common emergency-test-system announcement here in the States.)

Live! Love! Laugh!

Bill said...

Very nice post John and outstanding pictures! Thanks for telling us what the pigs were there for, it makes sense now.

Looks as if Lucy had a good time out on the trails. I've had the same thoughts creeping into my head about my own dog. He's not the playful puppy that he used to be.

Le Loup said...

Ha, so I was right about using them to root up the area.

Shoreman said...

Hi John. I think the fact that the walls are made of stacked stone is amazing. It has to be a tremendous amount of work. Something like that back here in the States would cost a fortune to erect. Sure looks sturdy enough to keep the little oinkers contained, though.


Mel said...

Appreciate the visual journey and wonders of the trails from over your way, John.

Thanks for the followup on what was up with the pigs. Makes perfect sense too me.

Murphyfish said...

Hey Casey,
A dog’s short span is one thing that I don’t believe that I’ll ever really come to terms with. But as you say one always seems to come along to walk this life along side of me, not replacements just different friends.
It does seem that the two roses are closely related doesn’t it, all that distance yet some many things similar in our lives? Tis indeed a small world my friend. I’ll try and land a couple for the camera tomorrow, hopefully Clare won’t leave me in her wake this time, damn those pheromones!

Hi Tovar,
The gist of the joke does carry across the pond , anyway instructions would be no use to me, after all being your typical male the first thing I do is throw them in the bin!

Hi Bill,
It’s like I said to Casey, it’s just something that doesn’t come easily, and then again anything of worth in this life never does. Glad that you liked the photos and thanks for dropping by.

Le Loup,
Yep, great spot my good man, it’ll be interesting to see how the area is managed in the future.

Hi Mark,
To be honest dry stone walling is a practice that’s gone on in this country for many centauries, walls that are literally hundreds of years old are still performing their task in the wildest areas of Wale’s mountains with only the barest of upkeep. It has to be said though that this form of wall building is really now more an art form, with very few holding the knowledge to build them correctly. As for cost, the old walls were built with local stone and the sweat and blood of the farmers.

Hi Mel,
A pleasure my good man, glad that you enjoyed the journey.

To all,
Thanks to one and all for your comments and time,

Wolfy said...

Lots to read and comment on, but I'll be brief.

NICE pics - I enjoy the "lush" feel of the pictures

Keep on enjoying the time off. It truly IS time well spent regardless of what you do, as long as you enjoy yourselves.

I'm not familiar with "hover flies", which means I am actually smarter after reading your latest issive than I was before I started! A good day for me.

And, finally, all any of us can do with the animals in our lives is enjoy the time we have with them. You certainly do that!

Thanks for another great posting

Murphyfish said...

Hey Wolfy,
Thanks for the kind words my friend, glad that I could offer some education for once!

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

Gee, I was worn out just READING about YOUR walk with Lucy. Looks like she needed a good nap afterwords also! What I really wanted to tell you though, was that your Dog Rose, grows here in Montana, USA. We just call them wild roses, but I know it's the exact same thing. We're not so far apart after all!Hope you get some nice fish! ~ Karen