Friday, 13 April 2007

Sally in the Bluebells

Me and my P.A. went for a 'walk' this afternoon. The ground around here is so dry (no rain for a month or more) and hard that it was possible to go in the wheelchair along an old drove road (now a footpath) which runs by the side of a wood, further than I have been able to go for over eight years since the Lupus began. It was wonderful, on the side of a ridge, just below the top, able to see for miles along the chalk downland, some fields bright ploughed chalk, others bright green with new crop growth. Deep breaths of fresh spring air.

At the start of the walk, close by where I parked the car, a wire fence that had been there forever, had been removed and a well trodden path led into the wood where recent coppicing had cleared the undergrowth, providing ideal conditions for bluebells, and me . I was able to take the wheelchair actually inside the wood, which has no legal public rights of way, but the newly worn path is obviously used regularly, but by small numbers so not sufficient to bother the estate owners, or the estate workers we heard deeper in the wood.

So I sat in a sea of blue-green bluebells in grass, doted about with white wood anenomies, laced with yellow celandine on the edges. To be surround by blue is a sensory experience beyond mere sight. The consequence of blue as far as the eye can see is an appearance of a haze of blue hovering above the actual flower growth. Blue is imbibed.

The wood is a plantation of various years growth, and has young oaks and spanish chestnut as well as pine grown as a crop for timber, but one edge of it along the drove is ancient woodland. There were clumps of violets and we looked for 'Archangel', which my PA said is evidence of old woodland. I had not heard it called that before; it is a yellow flowered dead (i.e. not stinging) nettle. None to be found there. Growing in the older part of the wood was sloe in frothy white flower; my favourite spindle in young leaf, and lots of beech, older oak, holly, ash and hawthorn and blackthorn. In another area in denser damper woodland there was a mass of wild garlic in full leaf, but not yet in flower. That too is a total sensory experience, to walk or wheel through it, the pungent bruised leaves scenting the air with garlic.

On the return journey we crossed a bridge and saw this minature water mill over the stream. Notice the brick and flint banding and proper Dorset roof - clay tiles, with stone tiles along the bottom edge. The building is no higher than 3 metres, and was originally built to provide water powered electricity for the dairy, but it is not in use as such now.

After the winter rain fall the river water is deep and powerful and water cascades over the top of the small weir and often spills over into the adjoining water meadows, the silt fertilising the land as it was designed to. Not flooding in the negative sense, but water flooding the grazing land to warm it and provide ideal conditions for early spring grass growth for the dairy cows. In the summer this small river often dries completely and the little mill wheel stands still.

This post is really just an excuse to include my favourite Airedale picture again, taken in the very same bluebell wood.

(Sally in the bluebell wood 1994)



Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Beautiful pics, Sally,

We seem to have had rain up here overnight; have you? In which case, if the warm weather continues, we should have splendid growth.

I have passed the little watermill you show, I think. I believe there has been a mill on that site right back to Domesday, am I right?

Saturday, 14 April 2007 at 08:33:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Where is here ?

My Bump says it was wet at 5 am there (the other side of a big hill) but when I surfaced at 10 am here it was August ! Phew !

I don't know whether there was a Mill there at the time of Domesday but I have an acquaintance who regular writes in the Blackmore Vale Magazine and one of his sensible theories (they all are) was to restore energy production at the sites of all the water mills that were on the mighty Stour.

I must see if there is an online version of Domesday. With a translation.

I have been playing Scrabble and eating ice-cream sat in the Bump's garden and the birds were deafening.

Saturday, 14 April 2007 at 19:02:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Charles I have just looked at your post and cannot find a 'comment' button to click on ... blogger has done it again.

So, to say, lovely enjoyable post. Great pictures and enthusiastic spring-fest-celebration, and which cat is that ?

Saturday, 14 April 2007 at 19:35:00 BST  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Somewhat to the North and West of you, I think. Almost zoider country, as the locals have it.

Saturday, 14 April 2007 at 19:37:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Probably around the area celebrated in do you think ? No, not Heraklion.

Aarh zider, I could drink some now.

Recently I was discussing the occurance of 'z' in the English language; thinking of Zoar Lane and Zeals, and I think, without any research whatsoever, that Somerset and Dorset - both pronouncing z for s, are unique in the use of z. I like to think so.

Saturday, 14 April 2007 at 20:05:00 BST  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

Glad you enjoyed aour day out. Bluebells are spectacular when they occur in masses!
In German every s is pronounced like the English z. And English s-sound usually is a double s in German, with some exceptions of that rule, of course. the German z is pronounced ts.
Some people think it is a good idea to give their children foreign names. there are quite a few Zoes around, who are totally fed up with being called Tsoiii by their fellow Germans.

Sunday, 15 April 2007 at 10:05:00 BST  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Bloggingmone, it was Blogger again (excuse us, Sally!) and the cat is called Marmaduke, Duke for short, you little b***** on occasion. One of my "outside cats".

Sally, I think Devon, if Rudyard Kipling is to be believed, he has his Devon farmer's wife in Stalky and Co using Z for S.

Sunday, 15 April 2007 at 18:36:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Thanks both, I think I meant unique in England, and I should have said south west, to include not only Devon but also of course beloved Cornwall. I now understand the German double s, thanks BM. And I don't think Zoe is even English in origin. We are all one another.

Sunday, 15 April 2007 at 19:19:00 BST  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

I think Zoƫ is Greek, because the Greek for life is Zoeh (can't paste Greek characters into this form of comment like I can into mine).

Monday, 16 April 2007 at 08:48:00 BST  

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