Ivans talk about Iceland

We just went to a talk about Iceland by our friend Ivan. He had spent several days on the Island following trails around an area about the size of North Wales and near the capital Reykjavik. I’m sorry but I didn’t take the names of the places he visited but it was bleak and beautiful. Ice was melting in the summer sun and there were several places which were called snow bridges which would collapse under a person’s weight. These were over deep holes and hollows where the packed snow had melted underneath.

Ivan also played video of the landscape including geysers where boiling water was thrown up fifty feet into the air. Steam rose from fumerols and there were plants where power was generated from geothermal energy. Throughout his trip he made friends, camped out, and took beautiful photos. We were lucky to win one of them in a raffle he held. The Penkhull Mystery plays are to be the recipient of any money he collected. A great evening out.

 

Into the crimson wood.

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On a perfect autumn day the wood looked enticing. The leaves had turned crimson from the frosts and a soft mist was flowing down the hill from it.

Susan was walking along the path between her bungalow and the village a couple of miles away. She wanted a paper and some milk, but she had time so she decided to take a detour. The sun was bright and low, and as she was walking due East it was shining into her eyes. A quick few steps upwards and she entered the skirts of the forest. As with many managed woods the outside was deciduous but then there were pines and larch and other evergreens inside it, the trunks growing close knit, the shade deepening the further she looked inwards.

Susan had walked half a mile through the crimson leaves, enjoying the autumn colour, when she was stopped by a fence, it was wooden with barbed wire across the top. No entry signs were fastened to it with metal clips. More worryingly there were other signs saying danger of electrocution. Where had it come from? She’d walked this way last week and there had just been the path across the field. She could not go on, but turned right and wove her way a bit further into the wood, hoping there would be an end to it. Perhaps it would turn a corner and allow her to make her way?

As she moved along the fence she heard squawking, like a flock of geese? In a wood? The ground on the other side of the fence looked trampled and worn down. The bird sounds got louder. Suddenly she came out into a clearing. The Geese were there. Giant Geese, huge, eight or nine foot tall! She felt scared and didn’t know what to do. Just walk backwards she thought, be quiet and back away from the Geese. She had managed to duck the problem!

Cat in fog

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A thick fog was hanging over the land, damp and white and still. We had been on a walk over bthe moors, my boots were sodden, my glasses had puddles in them. The tussock grass made for hard walking, trying to hop from tussock to tussock, often ending ankle deep in the murky water between the tussocks.

Now we had come to a stony path, but it wound up and down with no obvious way signs to show us where we were. Neither of us had a compass, and with this fog you could not tell East from West. The sun was invisible in the murk but it was getting colder and later. It must be five o’clock at least.

Suddenly we heard a mew, then another one. A cat appeared out of the billowing fog.

I leant down and stroked its ears, hello kitty I said, where’s home? Where did you come from?

The cat twitched it’s tail, and rubbed it’s head against my hand. It miaowed. Then it trotted off a little way, sat down and looked back towards us.

Shall we? he said, shall we follow it? What else can we do, we aren’t going to easily find our way back to the car.

By now the cat was standing and mewed again. Come on I said, before it disappears.

The cat started trotting off again, stopping and looking back every few yards. We followed, trying to keep it in sight through the mist and lowering light levels.

The cat left the path and jumped up onto a stile, dropping down the other side into the gloom. Well, we thought, let’s try.

Over a pasture and through a shallow stream, the cat jumping across stepping stones. Up a slight slope and into a patch of old oak trees.

Suddenly a wall loomed out of the thick fog. Spider webs wet with droplets of water.

A farm house, the cat walked to to the front door and scratched at it. Then it jumped up on a box and climbed in through an open window. We knocked on the front door and waited…..

 

 

Eating fish fingers after a walk in the rain

We are just back from delivering leaflets house to house in the rain. Storm Freya is due to arrive in the next couple of hours. I was going to deliver them earlier in the week but I’m still not well.

What could be more comforting than fish finger sandwiches with a steaming cup of (decaff) coffee.

We didn’t quite finish the route and came home soaking wet. There is nothing much worse than rain getting through the seams of your coat, cold water trickling down your neck and the rain running off a waterproof coat and down onto your trouser legs. Add wet socks from crossing big puddles, wet hair and raindrops on your glasses and you get a picture of how I felt half an hour ago.

The fish finger sandwiches, with brown bread and butter and mayonnaise were very tasty. If I had taken more time I would have added sliced lemon and a few salad leaves but I just wanted something warm and tasty and quick.

Meanwhile the wind is gusting, the rain is hitting the windows. I can hear the wind blowing through a gap round the window and moaning slightly. It’s two hours before sunset but the world very dark and overcast. I might just have a nap.

 

The winking man

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If you drive over the road between Leek and Buxton you drive past a hilly ridge of rocksĀ  on the right hand side called the Roaches. There is also a hill called Hen cloud. You can turn off on the left and either take a road that runs along or behind the ridge. There are rocks to climb or scramble over and footpaths to follow up high to a pool on the top and then down again to the road which loops round the end of the RoachesĀ  Follow the path onwards over the road and eventually you get to a wooded valley and a cut through the rocks covered in lichen and moss called Luds Church. I’m not sure of the map references but it’s an interesting place to visit….

But the winking man is further up the main road past the first turn off to the Roaches. Its on the left side as you drive up the hill. It looks like a profile of a face with a hole for the eye but as you drive up to it the rock beyond can be seen through the eye and it appears to wink or blink.

The rock of the Roaches is hard wearing and the face has been visible for years. It is a well known landmark but be careful when you are driving I’d rather miss the wink of an eye than the view of the road.