Category Archives: Communities

Waiting for the sun to rise…….

The other morning, I woke feeling a desparate need to get out and watch the sunrise. Not sure why, just one of those mornings I suppose when the urge to trundle takes over. The forecast for the forthcoming days was double drop rain so maybe I just needed to make the most of this fine day…

I showered while it was still dark and as the day started to dawn I made my morning flask of tea so it would be ready and waiting for me when I returned home to warm my cold morning body….

Coat gloves and ear muffs on, my camera round my neck, I ventured out into the early morning light. The villlage was veiled in pink on the West side, even though the sun would be rising in the east….

Up along the snicket towards the church and a lone squirrel when simply perched on the pavement pondering his route for food….

It’s always at the church gate that the first sign of the potential glory appears…Across the horse paddock into the distance, a sparkling glow of what was to come

A Robin sat on the top of the hedge chirruping away it’s morning song, so beautifully, giving me a personal performance as I stood there watching it singing , not disturbed or feared into flight by my close proximity

The lane was still muddy from days of rain, but we’re used to mud, my walking shoes permanently coated.

I reached the playing fields and saw the sun beginning to appear

Walked over the muddy grass, churned by excited children dribbling their footballs into the nets that lay waiting for their games. The small copse has several entrances, one is free from overhanging branches but I can’t always find it in the half light of early morning. This morning was one of them as I pushed away the branches that overhung the path. One stubborn one took more strength but I sadly let go too soon and I felt it whip the side of my face. The sting on my cold skin causing me to breathe in sharply and let out a yelp to no one but the trees…..a black eye for sure later, but for now I had more pressing needs….

Finally coming out into the open trees I stood and stared into the distance…..the sun just started to peep a over the trees

It’s at this point I just stand and watch it rise, slowly, majestically.

I trun around and like natures own power supply a sudden switch of light lit up the trees…

I can hear more footsteps coming towards me, crunching the leaves that lay thick on the copse floor. Another villager. We chat about the sunrise. It’s his favourite time of day too. We’d seen each other here from a distance before and knew the magic appealed to us both.

As the sun rose higher, the full beauty on display 

Time to head back, my shadow forming part of the scenary 

Retracing my steps home to the waiting hot steaming cuppa tea to warm my chilled hands, another sight of a squirrel. Who needs to take the nuts out singly from the bottom, when you can just lift the lid and take a handful 😂

And my final phot was of the church tower bathed in the morning light……

A good start to any day….

In Search of Hope…….

Last weekend I woke to torrential rain and dark skies. It was a disappointing start to the day and initially thought there was no way I’d get a trundle with my camera, but then, after lunch, the clouds started to break, blowing the wind away and the sun shone…..I decided to go out in search of hope…

We all need something to look forward to, to raise our spirits in this often dark time we’re in. For me, I find it in nature and my village as I walk around on my trundles. The sun was desperately trying to fight through the thick clouds

Camera round my neck, I set off, first to the duck pond in case no one had been out with food in the rain; although none of them would starve. But I like to think of them being looked after as they give so much joy to everyone here.

Then up behind the houses and along the back lane. The rain having giving us added mud and many puddles to navigate.

But the shrubs are full of berries, ready made meals for any passing bird who fancies a snack

The first sign of hope was in the middle of the lane, snowdrops just coming into flower. That first sign that spring is round the corner and gives us a reason to look forward……

As I reached Abbys field the sheep the paddock was empty of sheep, but Abby had warned me they had to reside in another field for a while as it was just too muddy in theirs. Another sight to look forward to once the ground recovers……the trees behind sculptured by the weather

My second sign of hope was again along the verge….daffodils piercing the winter soil, their bulbs feeding off the goodness in the ground ready to burst into flower in a month or so time….

Down along the verge I trundled beside the main road, the sun behind me lighting up the road. 

So many villagers had ventured out since the rain ceased, doing just as I was, enjoying the fresh air and all that was around us. All saying hello, some stopping for a chat, others waving from afar, all with warm smiles and warm hearts.

Another sign of hope and the primroses coming into bud

And the winter. Viburnums in full flower

Never forget to look up, look down, look all around as you simply don’t know what missable sights you might miss; gone in a second, captured for ever.

Clouds forming natures own mountains in the sky, now lighter and more friendly than the morning sky.

As I near home, I notice the farmers wife in her front garden with her two ageing dogs, one deaf, one almost blind, but her loving companions. I’d never seen her out before so I stop and we chat away. She’d had a stroke and had not been able to go for walks, so told me my photos kept her in touch with the village 😍……giving her hope that one day she will see it again and be able to go for her own walk……..

But for now she’ll make do with my photos and her two adorable companions….sat happily, waiting for us to finish our conversation….

We all need hope…….sometimes you just have to look at the world more closely……

The first real frost of winter…

Between Christmas and New Year, the village had it’s first real frost of winter and a sprinkling of snow.   Snow doesn’t appear as readily as years ago and I remember villagers at the bus stop telling me the tale of when my road and the whole village were snowed in.

Local tractors came to the aid of those needing help and the village was just one white world. But it was spoken about with fondness of memories where the villagers came together again to help each other survive…….

So the appearance of a frost sounds quite pathetic in comparison really, but it made for a different trundle.

When it’s icy my daughters often call me ‘Bambi on ice’….as I gingerly try to keep upright..it was misty as well which added to the magical landscape….

I stepped out of my door and immediately started to slide down my path😳….turning round, I went back in and got my tub of salt crystals and scattered them along the path and threw a few down the road for good measure….

Back on track I stepped cautiously down the road, icy patches here and there to be avoided..I decided to go along the main road first towards the duck pond with a veil of mist hanging over it.

Then decided to cross the road before the disappointed ducks realised I’d come without food, but the 3 amigos gave me a beady eye as I walked on passed…

Up through the houses to the back lane and as I turned the corner a blackbird and Robin stood as still as me just watching

The playing fields would remain silent of games today, for and frost changing the landscape

Something as simple as a nettle leaf, avoided at all other times but takes on a beauty of it own when covered in frost

The lane lay empty of companionship, just the mist revealing section by section as I trundled further

A pheasant in the horses field, oblivious to my presence rummaged for food

Before it saw me and took flight, it’s signature squawk echoing in the cold air

As I approached the graveyard I could hear morning chatter and smiles greeted me as I appeared. Dog walkers passing the time of day warned me not to venture further up the back lane as it was a sheet of black ice this morning, so, after a chat and a cuddle with the dogs,  I turned right past the church and towards the Shetland ponies. 

Suddenly I heard 2 voices behind me calling my name. It was Val and her hubby who own the ponies carrying bucketfuls of treats. Someone had had a go at them for not providing a shelter for these little ponies, but as we said the clue is in the name ‘Shetland Ponies’. Their habitat is outside in all weathers. When Val provided a shelter some years ago, they didn’t use it. Anyway I’m sure she educated the person…..

Before Val came into view Ginger Biscuit looked content in their frosty field and knew that Val wouldn’t be the only one bringing him carrots and other treats….

The ponies all headed for Val at the sound of her voice and the pheasant decided to go into hiding for a while in the full knowledge that when the humans had gone, it could surface again and sample whatever delights had been left

As for me, well I headed home for a warming cuppa tea……

From Sunrise to Sunset…..

If I couldn’t trundle, couldn’t take my camera and snap away, I’d be totally lost right now. But I can and it’s been my life saver, my new routine, my way of coping since the words  ‘Covid’ and ‘lockdown’ entered our vocabulary.

One morning I woke pondering the thought of an early morning walk, undecided whether my body could make the effort….whenever I feel like this I shuffle into my back bedroom, my dressing gown hugged close, and simply look out of the window. It’s here I can see the start of night changing to day and the prospect of what might be to come. In the right hand corner of my view I could see the sky starting to light up…..it might just be a beautiful sunrise…that swayed my decision.

In the time it had taken to shower, get dressed, pick up my camera and headed downstairs, the glow of a sunset filled the air. Coat and gloves on, I turned the key and headed out into the cold dark morning air…as soon as I reached the corner, here was my first view…the Dog and Duck pub having been closed for so long due to Covid restrictions. Two of our 3 lovely pubs currently surviving, one having lost it’s battle to remain in business in the autumn….😔

The sky all around turning a glorious sunset reddy pink….as I crossed the road up towards the church, this side of the village was bathed in a sunset glow. No lights showed in the houses and I wanted to shout to everyone to come and see, wake up and see what you’re missing! But me thinks that might not have gone down very well 😂

The church yard lay silent, its residents the keepers of so many memories.

Along the back lane I trundled through the mud, heavy rain having fallen in the night and left a cascade of misplaced gravel and mud. The skeletons of trees and twigs outlined against the glow

I could feel time was running out  so I quickened my hobble to reach the playing fields 

Then along the snicket where I could finally catch sight of the rising sun

I stood and watched a while, the sunset fading with each breathe I took before heading home for my morning cuppa…the ducks quacking as they heard my stick approach. But I knew Simon and Peter the Duck man would be along shortly with their first feeds of the day….I’ll go later…

So lunchtime arrived and off I went for my second trundle…the ducks first, able to snap one simply chilling before they saw my arrival

Then another let out an enormous quack, signalling to the others that food was imminent

As soon as I threw the seed into the air the chaos began

Playtime at the duck pond in full swing

Until all my seed was gone and I stood at the edge watching them ducking and diving for the last remnants…

Empty bag in my pocked, I shuffled up towards the church lane, passing by the Shetland pony field. They seemed to have acquired a new resident, there most days now…

Turning into the back lane, Wally posing his cutest pose

I turned left down the never ending lane, knowing I’d only go halfway today

Before retracing my steps, my shadow my constant companion

And time for my next cuppa tea……

My final trundle of the day was hoping to see the sunset. Back along the lane and a squirrel caught my eye in the sheep’s field, digging up long buried nuts..

Carrying straight on to the sunset vantage point, a Robin hopped along the hedge beside me before settling down on a wooden sign

A few feet along another, or was it the same one, hopped on to a nearby branch

As I came to the top of the lane, the sunset was at work, the windmills on the horizon bathed in the different light of the sunset. More an orangey glow at sunset..

 Reaching the bottom of the road, crossing over to climb once more and another wonderful viewpoint

Almost at the horses paddock and a gap allows me silhouette the branches against the burning sky

Finally heading home before it got too dark….

One last photo of the day, but that entailed standing in my back garden and capturing the last beauty of the day, the moon, low in the sky so branches lit up in front of it….

From sunrise to sunset in my village……My Fitbit told me I’d done over 20,000 steps that day and my legs told me the same, but oh what a lovely day of trundles I’d had……..how lucky am I…?

Time for a Shuddle…….

Well 2020 is behind us thank goodness. Let’s hope 2021 is a kinder year for us all.

I’ve still be writing my blogs over the Christmas period, just not publishing them. If you’ve read my book, you’ll know the tragedy that nearly occurred when I stopped typing over the Christmas break a few years ago, so I’ve never stopped typing since. Anyway some of the first blogs will be about the trundles I had over the last couple of weeks……..this is the first….enjoy…

Just before Christmas and when all my pre Christmas blogs were written, I had a lovely message from one of the villagers, Abby. She owns the little family of sheep who I’m always taking photos of when I pass their field because they’re so adorable, each one with their own particular character. Some of their wool had been sent to Philly Hare in the Western Isles last year; little did they know how well travelled they were….and by pure chance Philly launched her own Etsy shop yesterday of her wonderful felting craft – you can see her works of art here:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/FullMoonFelting?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

Who knows maybe some of my lovely sheep helped inspire these! And Philly took me to many of the places on the photos when I was lucky enough to visit her…..

Anyway, back down to here….. Abby invited me into their field to sit with them and have a ‘shuddle’ – a cuddle with all her friendly sheep. To say I was excited was an understatement. There’s 8 I think, some of whom were tiny lambs last year, but now fully grown with characters all of their own.

Lots of rain had fallen lately so I knew it would definitely be a Wellie trundle. 

When hugs are sadly missing as they are now it’s just nice to simply touch animals. Billy the cat gets smothered in cuddles but now this would be something different. The only people I get hugs from are Gemma and Stuart and I always hold tight for those few seconds more, such is life devoid of contact at the mo, so when I’m there I’m reluctant to let go…..

Anyway, now I would be having a shuddle with the sheep instead. I really didn’t know how friendly they’d be, after all I was the whacky lady who often stood at the opposite side of their fence taking photos…..

I ventured up the hill and through the small gate. Abby wasn’t around so I simply stood and watched them. All of a sudden a cheery voice came from the side of the house and the sheep all chorused a welcoming ‘baaaa’.

I stood as they fled this stranger in their field but as Abby emptied their veggies into their troughs they all decided to ignore said stranger and come and see what treats they’d been given 😂…as they munched away, Abby said the first to arrive for a cuddle would be Teddy followed by Wally. Wally approached me and I sunk my gloved hand into his thick coat, carrot still in his mouth

As Wally stood there allowing me a shuddle, Valley came across to see what Wally had left for her

The others stood a little way away, sizing me up

I then sat on the log and was in heaven. The sheep adore their lovely owner and all came to crowd round, each one wanting their own piece of Abby 

but since there was me as well, they huddled round this extra pair of hands willing to give these friendly sheep a cuddle. I seemed to have scored a hit with the adorable Wally

His horns showing the scars of a recent squabble with Valley. His eyes almost hidden from view by the thick soft coat of wool appearing every so often as he cocked his head to one side

They clearly adored Abby and nudged and shuffled around to get her attention. Teddy on the left always gets grumpy if she lets go of him so the others fight for her remaining hand

The twins behind were lambs in the flock last year and were a bit wary to come too close,so stood behind simply watching

Eventually one came within touching distance, had a little shuddle then retreated. 

I’m not sure how long I sat there, just enjoying their contact, their presence, their funny little characters, but I eventually got up off the log, my wellies having sunk into the mud. It was hard to stop my feet coming out of them 😂…..

I said my goodbyes, her little boys and hubby now in the yard with their new puppy and I went back through the little gate and ventured home, but not before one last look. Moments before I’d sat on the log, now it looked as though I’d never been there as they all settled back down to simply being in the field behind the fence

Take a last Pre Christmas trundle with me…….

After all the excitement of the Scarecrow trail Sunday would be a much gentler day to enjoy. No rushing about hiding pebbles, I would just be able to enjoy the promised sunshine. The scarecrows would still be there for their final day so hopefully more big and little people would be out trundling too….

The day dawned clear and bright, showing the promise of a nice day ahead…

I did think of going for an early morning walk, but thought I’d wait until daylight for my first of the day. As I sat having a cuppa watching the morning birds come and see what was on offer for breakfast, my Robin waited in the queue patiently waiting

My first trundle was around 10am. It had a purpose as the couple I bought my house from still live in the village and I often get the odd Christmas card for them. So I headed towards their house, passing the house with the Chinese lanterns still trying to outwit winter

Back along the lane, saying good morning to the horses 

And the morning sun beginning to light up my path

Wally the sheep posed beautifully 

So many families out once more taking in the final day of the Scarecrow trail. Many today with maps and scoresheets, children racing round from one to the other getting lots of exercise as they are so well spread out….

The church looked lovely bathed in sunlight

And remaining seed heads from the summer held a beauty all of their own

Along to the duck pond, stopping every now and then for a chatter and hello, the ducks waiting hopefully for their next feed…..unaware of my arrival

As I threw the seed into the air for the first arrivals, those at the other end of the pond raced to be in on the act

And suddenly it was playtime at the duck pond

Back home for a cuppa, watched a couple of Christmas programmes on my ipad…..but the sun kept shining and looked so enticing for a mid afternoon trundle and hopefully a sighting of Saturn and Jupiter. All the reports said 4.30 pm was about the best time, so maybe I’d catch the sun setting too.

I could feel the air getting cooler as I stepped outside, the light staring to fade already

but I had that feeling of a special sunrise in store. I headed towards Gemma and Stuarts for a cuppa and a chat before heading back outside into the now decidedly cool yet clear air.

More people to smile and chat to on my way, also making the most of the dry weather. I turned the corner at the end of the road, stopped and smiled at the view

I hadn’t been disappointed, the sunset was glorious. I perched on the street sign and simply stared in awe at the beauty nature offers if we just take the time to watch it at work

I turned to my left and there was the moon shining bright in the sky

What could be more perfect on a still clear cold winters day? My body telling me I must move, brought me out of my thoughts and I wondered up the lane, an aeroplane soaring through the dark sky

The horses in the field now shadows in the distance yet here is a lovely viewpoint for the sunset too

It was just a tad too early to find the colliding Saturn and Jupiter, so I walked down the never ending lane accompanied by Tia the dog and her owner Liz. We chatted amiably as Tia investigated hedgerows and puddles left from the overnight rain…I ventured a little further as Tia turned round for home and was greeted by a swooping white owl, surprised by my appearance so too quick for me to snap. I stood still watching for a moment, hoping it would reveal itself once more but it was probably watching me watching it and refused to make itself known..

So I too turned around retracing my steps, one last photo of the fading sunset

If I was going to see the planets at all it would be about now, so I trundled back down to the corner, clouds annoyingly drifting across the sky. I searched the sky for the bright lights in the sky and had almost given up, when a twinkling caught my eye. I zoomed in with my camera, my cold shakes hands refusing to keep still for long enough but I could tell it was them. I must have clicked 20 or 30 times, hoping to get just one shot….and I did….just….

I could get far closer but just couldn’t keep still enough to get the perfect shot, but at least I got one further away at least showing the closeness of the two planets…..

My hands aching, my head buzzing from the excitement and concentration, it was time to turn my back and head home…….another beautiful day from start to finish…..

This time I’ve been hiding Christmas pebbles ……

So after the success of the poppy pebbles, I couldn’t help but do the same for Christmas.

The villagers had gathered safely of course, for the Christmas light switch on around the pond at the end of November so I knew this would all be safely done too.

Weeks ago Rachel from the village Preschool had posted on the village Facebook page how they wondered if anyone was interested in a Christmas Scarecrow trail and whether anyone would be willing to make one to raise funds for the preschool. Well, I replied saying a scarecrow was probably a tad beyond me but I could make pebbles to hide close by the scarecrows on the walk…..the villagers all came to life and within days many household were busy beavering away at Scarecrow making while I was wondering what I’d let myself in for 😂…..

Well the first I got from t‘internet and then playmate Gail came up trumps again and made a video with simple designs. I was off…

The weekend was to be the 19th and 20th, so last weekend.  We obviously had to keep it amongst the villagers otherwise we’d have been classed as an ‘event’and got into trouble. There was so much enthusisasm for this simple trail and the excitement was growing as the weekend approached. The day before had been a wash out so we were praying for kinder weather and it didn’t disappoint 

Rachel had sent me a map ahead of everyone else so I knew where to find them all. The plan was for all scarecrows to be in place by 9am and locations to be released to the villagers at 10am, so I had a very short window to hide my pebbles. They were at all ends of the village, and everywhere in between. I’d plotted what looked like a sensible route to capture them all.

I started my trawl at 08.45 hoping the first few would be early birds. The morning was quiet and wet after overnight rain, but somehow I could sense the anticipation….

The first was very easy to find as it was a few doors up from me. So I left my bag of pebbles on my doorstep and took theirs in my hand. They’d just put it out and it looked amazing – legs hanging out of a snowman’s mouth 😂. What a start,  as we chatted about the smiles it would bring

Back to my house to get my very heavy bag of pebbles 🙄💪🏻…and off I went down the hill, another 2 close by, including Scary Mary the Cleaning Fairy having some finishing touches by her owner…

Hiding a pebble close by each one, this was going to be quite a hike but what a lovely one. Mums and children waving at me through the window, people stopping me in their cars to tell me of ones nearby. Such a buzz in the air…

The end of the pond and the house on the corner had done itself proud

A little fairy pebble for that one from my collection…

So much work had gone into each one and all so different. The very edge of the village and the first one people would see as they drove through the traffic lights

Someone opened their upstairs window and waved and thanked me….a permanent smile on my face from scarecrow to scarecrow ……

I went into little cul de sacs I’d never been into before just following my map for each location. Another wave from children through their window as I place a pebble nearby

Up and down the streets, through little short cuts, getting distracted by the sun desperately trying to shine

Past the playing fields and a detour to the actual pre school itself to see their display the children had made of scarecrows heads

The outside morning keep fit people excercising in the basketball area all dressed in Santa hats and exercing to Christmas music all adding to the mood and smiles

Then along the back lane, taking detours every now and then to capture a house down a snicket. Past the church and heading to Abby’s field. She’d even message me the other day to see if I’d like to meet the sheep up close and personal. Apparently Wally is the friendliest, so that will be a pre Christmas treat…..but I digress….Abby had used some hay bales to make a snowman

And the egg house made for a perfect spot for my pebble…..

There must have been about 30 entrants altogether and I was probably two thirds through…..my legs beginning to tire but the smile still on my face as I ventured into more unknown streets of houses, my bag of pebbles thankfully become lighter at each stop…

The final few and close to home. A Star Wars fan at this house

And finally Santa at the end of my road

So many I couldn’t show but each created with love and smiles. My legs might have been protesting as I arrived home over 2 hours later, but my face had not stopped smiling the whole way round. What a wonderful idea, not only to raise money, but to bring a smile on peoples faces through this often dark time……..and I got to sent lots of smiley faced photos of children clutching one of my pebbles in their hands ❤️….what a wonderful village I live in….I’m sooo lucky 

P.S……and the winners were…….2 winners, the first chosen by villagers and the other chosen by the pre school children……🎄

A Merry Christmas Trundle round my village….

I rarely choose to go out in the ever deepening evening dark, the shadows playing tricks with my head, often causing confusion and uncertainty about what’s real and what’s dementia playing cruel tricks in the ever increasing darkness. Strangely the morning darkness doesn’t bother me, probably because the morning light gets lighter whereas the evening is getting darker….strange 🤷‍♀️ However, the prospect of seeing the village all lit up for Christmas was too much to resist. I was going to Stuart and Gemmas anyway to see their big light switch on, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to trundle round some of the streets to see what others had done.

I’d spent the day before doing mine – made my room all twinkly as it’s the lights I love bestHowever this wasn’t going to be a patch on what the village had in store for me….

My favourite house at Christmas has always been one a few doors up and they never fail to make my eyes glisten…

Then a new family who have lovingly restored the house next door had placed a magnificent star high above their door

Back down the hill, one eye on the time, as I’d said I’d be at Gemmas for a cuppa at 4.30, I decided to go back down to the pond as I hadn’t seen it since the switch on there some weeks back..I could hear the ducks quacking in the darkness, no food for them I’m afraid.

The house behind the pond added to the sparkling affect, all blending as one.

and the sign at the back of the pond which children love to see….

Many others had lights along the outside of the house, one following the shape of the house, so drivers through the village must have had a real treat. Even the pub, no longer allowed to open due to Covid had bravely decked the window – such a hard time for them at what is suppose to be their busiest time of year 😔

Back up the hill towards Abby’s sheep field, I kept meeting so many families out doing the same as me. Excited children dashing from one glowing house to the next. Their screams of excitement the only indication as to their whereabouts. 

Abby’s house looked wonderful, the whole courtyard lit up…my photos failing to capture the magic 🙄

Many houses along the back lane had trees in their windows. Lights on outside trees. Everyone seeming to want more colour in their lives at this strange time.

Down the snicket towards Gemma and Stuarts and I knew the lights would be waiting for me round the corner. I saw a wonderful purple glow surrounding their whole house

With our faithful reindeer high up in the loft window, which the children love to see as they walk past

Their house looked beautiful, all set for my Christmas Eve stay. But cuppa over, I had the remainder of my trundle waiting for me. Once last look back at their house at the smiling snowman waving farewell….

Then back down the hill back towards the Main Street a sign all children will wish to have – Santa Stop Here!

The Main Street is always full of sparkly surprises including these 3 toadstools

And a snowman guarding someone’s window

And further down a Santa trying to make a not so secret escape

Advent candles lit in many windows 

And Merry Christmas signs everywhere

And soooo many more lights that I imagine our village could be seen from space…..but this year we all needed a bit of light and colour to get through the darkness of winter and this unusual world we find ourselves in.

And of course, the last piccie has to be of my favourite feline friend……Billy…who always helps to rearrange the baubles on the tree….😻

A trundle with my daughter….

I’ve not had a very good few weeks one way or another but mostly dementia handcuffed to my wrist and thrown away the key……..but last week Sarah came to see me and we decided to go for a walk…..besides feeding the ducks and ponies, we had another mission – to look for the key that had fallen out of someone’s pocket while running and I’d said I’d keep an eye out for it on my trundles around..

But earlier in the morning I’d woken, climbed out of bed and slipped into my dressing gown, a cold chill in the air, the heating having only just come on. I looked out of the back window and saw it was going to be a lovely sunrise. So headed downstairs, keys in hand, slipped my garden crocs onto my cold bare feet and went out into the cold morning air. Everything was silent, no lights at neighbours windows as I padded up the garden. I stood at the end and stared

And simply watched the sun magically rise up into the sky

Must have been there for 15, maybe 20 minutes when suddenly I became aware of the cold spreading from my feet upwards. One last photo before heading indoors

Sarah arrived around 9am. I didn’t actually recognise her as she had a new coat and I was assuming I’d simply say hello and smiling  at a stranger as they passed. But then I saw the much loved beaming smile.

First stop was the village pond, so we ambled along the high street, eyes peeled to the floor, just in case. It was forecasted to be dull and overcast, but luckily the sun was shining, giving the cold air a bit of heat. The pond looked deserted as we approached, but then I spied 3 ducks staring at us from the far end and I told Sarah to throw some seed up into the air and suddenly the pond came to life and the quacking began.

Sarah threw the seed leaving my hands free for my camera

A lovely puppy dog stood alongside us wondering what on earth the fuss was and wasn’t too sure about the ducks 😍….one of his first of many walks out, so I’m sure he’ll get used to them. Once our bag was empty we ambled up through the estate to the back lane and it was here we took our first detour.

I showed Sarah where I usually take the sunrise pictures. Such a still quiet corner and looked so lovely in the sunshine

We stood in companiable silence just enjoying the silence and the view, then retraced our steps. My lack of energy of recent days exstinguished to some degree because Sarah was with me so I felt safe. But I was slow and methodical, one foot in front of the other, wobbling this way and that.

Instead of walking straight on towards the church, we decided to go round the wood for me to show Sarah the fungi that Pip had shown me. After hunting around I firstly managed to find the ears, dwindled in number now, but still there

And then, searching for the right log, I wanted to find the rubbery ones, the names of them all vanished since the last time.

Wending our way through the shelter of the trees, the sun shining through every now and then, we followed the path, now piled with a carpet of leaves leaves, giving a drier less muddy walk,

Sarah spotted a beauty. A new one to me so very excited and must ask Pip what it is….the sun was shining a spot light on it for us to see…Pip would be pleased with us. That is of course, unless I’ve forgotten that I’d seen it before 😂

Sarah’s piccie was much better than mine 😂 and Pip did know the answer. It’s a shaggy inkcap. People used to use the ink from these fungi to write with in days gone by 😁

Next stop was the Mother Tree…..it’s enormous stature revealing hundreds of years of life, where others would have stopped and admired it’s strength and beauty. It’s here where the Artists Brackets can be found. Sarah found a feather and we each wrote our names

There were many on the ground that I couldn’t find but we found more than enough to make it worthwhile….we came back into the open of the playing field and made our way our final through the trees to our final destination …the Shetland ponies, one carrot for each.

It had been a very long unexpected walk. But apart from the slopes where I needed a welcome arm for support, and a memento rest every now and then, I managed it. As for the key….well….after leaving Sarah, I got back home, opened my ipad and there was a message on the village Facebook page…

Has anyone lost a key, found this morning on my dog walk”…..I knew the village would come up trumps…

The largest living organism on earth…….

What on earth am I talking about, I can hearing you all thinking…..? Well, what a wonderful trundle I had last week and I didn’t realise this amazing organism existed until I met a lovely person from my village, Pip.

Pip had often liked my photos on the village Facebook page and one day she put up some of her own, of the fungi she’d seen and I was mesmerised by their beauty and wondered why I hadn’t seen them on my trundles. Pip messaged me to ask if I’d like to take a trundle with her for her to reveal this wonderful hidden world to my eyes and I jumped at the chance. What also sold it to me, was the fact that Scooby her Collie Dog would be coming with us 🥰…..😂

Pips mum had Parkinson’s and developed dementia. Her mum was a writer and apparently they came to see a talk I gave about my book and to my surprise Pip produced a lovely photo to prove it

I set off up along the snicket to meet her at the gates. I was a few minutes early so wandered round the churchyard, spying a squirrel watching me, watching him.

I’d never met her before, but as I approach our agreed meeting place , I saw her smiley face and felt immediately comfortable and safe. Her mum died not too long ago and I could see the sadness still naturally there in her eyes even through her smile …and, of course, I immediately fell in love with Scooby 

Pip said we’d start off in the Churchyard…..”I’ve just been round there, and I didn’t see any 😳”……but Pips eyes were tuned into the undergrowth and it only took her a minute to find the first, the second, the third and more …and I’d followed the exact same route, passing them by. Such small individual specimens, camaflaged by the fallen leaves. Some fungi are around all year but Autumn is when most appear, sheltered and hidden by the falling leaves.

It was then I understood I had to look at the surroundings differently, through Pips eyes. We headed along the back lane towards the playing fields, behind which stands a wooden area with amazing ancient trees. It’s often where the children make dens out of branches discarded on the ground

So many different types, 

different shapes

Smokey Bracket

many looking like coral from the sea

Coral Fungi

Pip then stopped at the ‘Mother Tree’….must have been 5-600 years old, but was dying so had the most stunning fungi hugging it’s ancient bark, making it’s demise look beautiful rather than sad….Pip wrote on one particular fungi with the tip of a feather telling me it was called ‘Artist’s Bracket’….the words will eventually fade, for more words to be written..you might be able to make out the faded script of ‘Mi Madre’, where she’d written before…❤️

Artist’s Bracket

All the while Scooby was leading us, turning round occasionally to make sure his herd were following and happy that we threw sticks once in a while for him to chase after..

Some have a milky sap appear from their coral like veins. So many are coral like without the colour but with a individual beauty all of their own

Mild Milk Cap

I began to feel worried about treading on them until Pip told me how the fungi were purely the fruits, like apples on a tree. 

The Mycelium is the real living organism. The fungus has a huge network of roots, called mycellia, that permeate below the ground of the forest….… and the ‘fruits’ or fungi sprout up from the veins that lie beneath the ground.. One was found in America that was 4 square miles, bigger than the Blue Whale, earths largest mammal.

I wish the photo of the Puff balls had come out, along with Dead Mans Finger…but sadly they were too blurred🙄…as Pip gently squeezed the Puff Balls, wisps of smoke, almost like your own breathe on a winters morning, appeared….so unexpected.

Some were rubbery in texture, able to cling to their new found home better

Hairy Curtain Crust

Other, orange trumpets, rising from the leaf mulched ground beneath.

Tawny Funnel…

Scooby led us through the brambles and hanging branches where ‘ear like’ fungi sat perched on Elder

Jelly Ear

And fungi growing on fungi…..

I was beginning to flag a tad as we came to the end of the wood….I’d lost all track of time, having forgotten my phone so was quite astonished and a tad confused as the sun was beginning to set

We’d ambled, chatted and laughed for over 2 hours about her mum, memories, anything and everything. I could feel the sadness in her voice, but a contentness as well as she was doing what she loved most and I was sharing that experience with her. 

Wandering amongst the undergrowth, where I’d never thought to look before, a whole new world appeared right beneath my feet, that I’d never taken much notice of before, not because I didn’t like it, I just hadn’t known it was there. Pip told me sooo many things, facts and information about fungi, trees and nature I never knew before, and even though most were quickly forgotten just to know them for a few fleeting moments was enough.

I suddenly came over totally exhausted and sadly had to say I’d had enough

As we said our goodbyes, the sun just beginning to set, we saw the stunning sight of a white barn owl in full flight, soaring high in the sky, the setting sun’s rays lighting up it’s wings …. …and as Pip said in a piece she posted later:

“’That’s Mum‘ I said. ‘Oh most definitely’ Wendy replied.

Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou Wendy. I felt more useful and happy today than I have in a long time. ❤️”

I’ve always be of the mind, that when someone close dies and they become a memory, that you should scoop up all the nice thoughts and memories and lock them in a treasure box. Every now and then, open the box and the light will shine will all those lovely thoughts and smiles. But never keep it open for good as the memories float around and the mourning continues unabated. Keep it locked, live your life and when the need arises unlock the key to relive them once more. That way you keep your loved one happy and their memories safe as they will always be with you and want to share your highs and lows and they will always show their presence in some way, some people see them others don’t….for me they manifest in my faithful Robins…..

And I trundled home totally exhausted, but utterly content with the adventure I’d just had….

One last photo before my camera too gave up “battery exhausted” just like mine…