Looking out of our house, I can see gardens on the side and rear of the house, but a grey factory building in front. I wish we had a view of the sea or countryside. The road in front of our house is on a steep hill, and quite often cars roar up and down it, ambulances rush by with sirens blaring, or motorbikes speed up, exhausts popping and banging. The hill is one of the steepest in the area and seems sometimes to be a racetrack! Oh to see a yatch in the distance, sails catching the rising or setting sun. That would be magical.
How do I climb over this? Bad hip, aching knees, my legs don’t want to work like they used to! Luckily there was a gate next to it that opened! Apparently these are normal stiles for the area. Must be mighty walkers with seven league boots! If I had long legs and better balance? Then I wouldn’t be me!
Our small moon has risen, facing the westerning sun. Over ancient walls and red tiled rooves. The green of full summer beats down on the countryside. Leaves heavy in a photosynthesising flourish. Light starts to fade as the sun slides further down towards the horizon. Moon brightens to shine its joyous light.
A pint of Proper Job Pale Ale brewed in St Austell in Cornwall. Tasty and hoppy, cool after a long walk through the countryside. Climbing over tall stone stiles. Listening to the lowing of cattle. Walking under massive trees that started growing three or four hundred years ago. A pleasant refreshment after a tiring day.
The Manifold Way is a cycleway near Waterhouses in Staffordshire, England. It runs along an eight mile stretch of valley and is a path for walking and cycling.
There is a cave up on the hillside, it’s called Thors cave. I walked up once.. Very steep. The valley is wooded and there is a stream running alongside the footpath for some of its length. It has a small tunnel through part of the hillside as it used to be a small narrow gauge railway with only two engines (hubby tells me). It was used for dairy products and passengers. A light railway branch line. We are so lucky to be near to such a beautiful place.
I like a wooded track to walk along, away from roads and fumes, especially if its a link between two places I want to get to and from. But strangely I don’t like to walk in woodland. I worry I will get lost. I’ve walked around some places and lost track of where we were. I even tried looking for the moss on the side of the trees to see if I could decide which way was north! Luckily the sun came out so I could tell which way was west, then I saw a way marker! I can’t imagine going to somewhere in a wood in the countryside and finding my way out! You can tell I’m nervous of it because of the number of exclamation marks I’ve used!
But a gentle walk along a wooded path in the town? That’s fine… Funny how different things affect different people.
View down a hill across the city as we were walking back home tonight. The street lights of the main dual carrageway road that runs through the city were shining brightly. Up here the view is across the valley of the river Trent. On a clear day you can see the way the land undulates towards the horizon about three or four miles away? There are hills to the left behind the buildings that rise up to a TV mast on a hill and then further on the green fields and pockets of woodland heading up to the Staffordshire moorlands. Straight in front and over the city hills would lead you eventually East into Nottinghamshire, and South the land is also covered in farms and woods, heading towards the Birmingham conurbation fotry or fifty miles away. We are an isolated city, surrounded by mostly countryside. A pleasant situation when so many other cities around England seem to be be surrounded by satellite towns. Fresh air is not too far away.
Over there, beyond the houses, that’s how close the countryside is to this city. Wooded hills and farmers fields, the river Trent lies in that valley. Its the beginning of a great river that eventually empties out on the East Side of England near the mouth of the Humber after meandering through Nottinghamshire and I think Lincolnshire.
Our city does not sit in a conurbation. Its not surrounded by other towns in a massive urban sprawl. Yes there are towns nearby, but the gaps between them have not been filled in by housing and industrial development yet.
No great mountains or rolling plains nearby, but a gentle green land eventually leading to Welsh hills in one direction, or the flat lands of the East. The industrial Midlands South of us and the Peaks of Derbyshire in the North East and the Lancashire coast to the North West. A small geography lesson.
By a waterfall, in the countryside, with friends. A little picnic, some cheese sandwiches, a flask of tea? An apple or a banana. Sunshine, a scent of flowers on the breeze. Driving a few miles further than I have for the last few months. Out of the city. Where my feet can touch grass. Where my eyes can be dazzled with colour and the clouds are as white washed cotton. I want time to go back. Before pandemics and Covid, before corruption and death..
Is it too much to ask?
In the sky I see stars, not many, the major constellations, ursa major, ursa minor, casseopea. Its hard to make out because the clouds are flitting by. And despite lockdown, the street lights still deaden them.
I’ve only ever felt the greatness and infinity of space when we were out in the countryside. Seeing the milky way galaxy made me feel so tiny. Like I could fall off the surface of the earth, into a whirlpool of stars. Seeing that band of stardust overhead can be overwhelming.
Dark skies, where the town and city light does not reflect back. Where you can lie down on the ground and see shooting stars flying overhead. I may have seen satellites or the ISS but I wouldn’t be sure. We have seen comets…
The sky is there to observe. Look if you can, and learn.