Friday, 4 June 2010

Evening walk


Sometimes the urge to sit down at the end of the day is strong.  I sit and read blogs and watch "Location, Location, Location" and potter about on the internet trying to find the name of a rose I planted up by the swing where I have yet again unaccountably lost the label.  But every now and then we have an evening so beautiful that it is a crime not to go out into it and walk into the view, a still, warm evening where the sky is so blue it might never go dark.
Up the drive we go and over the fence the cows lift their heads as we walk by.  They were indoors all winter.  When they were let out a few weeks ago I was working in the field planting out sweetpeas.  I suddenly heard a distant bellowing and then the ground seemed to vibrate.  I walked up to see what was going on and the cows were thundering down the field in a huge galloping arc.  I have often seen horses run for the sheer pleasure of the movement but never cows before.  They are used to the grass and the outside now and they are slow and quiet again.  They swing back to their gentle rhythmical chomping.

Up the hill everything is lush and green, even high up here where the hawthorn is only just flowering and the trees take their shape from the wind, everything is quiet and still and warm.


Just a few months ago this was another world, cold and sharp, with a wind which cut to the bone.  Hard to imagine now how it could ever be so cold that you just had to keep walking, gloved hands deep in pockets, scarves wrapped around the mouth to stop the cold air taking your breath away.


Now it is warm enough to sit by the path at the top of the hill, looking out over the Vale of Clwyd, the long view disappearing gently into the heat haze towards the mountains of Snowdonia and down to the sea.  Warm enough to lie on your back on the grass and watch a hot air balloon drifting over.

We walk back slowly.  There are still bluebells in the verges up here although even where we live a little lower down they have already gone over.  There is stitchwort as well and bracken unfurling.


And back at the farm the crops are growing too.  The whole world is growing.


I lived for a while in Cumbria and worked in Whitehaven.  Driving home from Oxford on Wednesday the news on the radio made my throat thick.  Cumbrians are lovely people and Cumbria is a beautiful place.  Walking in my own beautiful place, the shootings are still impossible to comprehend, but somehow there is solace in natural beauty, for me at any rate.  Too early for any sort of solace for Whitehaven I suspect but the place and the people are very much in my thoughts.

24 comments:

  1. Fiquei encantada com as fotos. O lugar é realmente belo.

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  2. Such lovely pictures and such terrible events. Unbelievable that such things can happen.

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  3. Beautiful post! I just discovered your blog and I love it! My daughter has been living in Scotland for the last 10 months...soon to return to Texas in August. Beautiful country you have.....thank you for sharing it with us!

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  4. It's poppy time here in SW France. They are everywhere this year, I've never seen so many!

    re Whitehaven. Wasn't one poor man shot in a field? One can hardly feel really safe anywhere; even farming! Dreadful.

    Your photos always take me back to my days in Wales. It all looks so beautifully WELSH.

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  5. And in my thoughts too - it doesn't bear thinking about. But they are strong and there seems to be a wonderful sense of community, so I am sure they will pull through.

    I love your description of the cows being let out to grass - it is one of my favourite days of the year - they smell the grass for days and get restless and then when they are let out they come out like corks out of a bottle.

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  6. Beautiful words and pictures, Elizabeth. Today Cait O'Connor has a poem on her blog. It could have accompanied your post.
    We've been hearing about the horror in Cumbria - too, too sad.

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  7. Elizabeth, thank you for your lovely post again. I had just put my own blog post up before I read yours and I think we're all feeling the same thing.

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  8. Such a lovely poignant post, Elizabeth; thank you.

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  9. Your views are so similar to where my parents used to live on the other side of the malvern hills - it could be their lane! I absolutely love the idea of the cows running in excitement.

    The shootings in Cumbria are unbelieveable and took me right back to the Hungerford shooting some years back. Horrid, my thoughts are with the families and friends of all involved

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  10. Margarida - welcome. I am limited to French and a little Welsh as to the languages I can respond in!
    Isabelle - I wondered if the juxtaposition was insensitive, but the beauty of the place does help me so I hope people don't find it so.
    Linda - Hi and welcome. Where in Scotland is your daughter? Scotland and Wales have much in common I think.
    Cro - There is something very distinctively Welsh about it isn't there? And yes, a farmer was shot working on a hedge and a man who helped with mole trapping was shot in a field.
    Weaver - you are right. It is a strong and quiet community, not unlike yours I would think.
    Pondside - we don't expect this kind of thing at all, and all the places where it has happened - Hungerford, Dunblane, Whitehaven - are peaceful and the most unlikely places.

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  11. Love your beautiful, peaceful pictures - it's wonderful to see the landscape changing with the seasons. Must have been a terrible shock to hear such news from somewhere you knew so well - such things are beyond comprehension.

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  12. It's the same down here. But I've heard and seen cattle run too. Part of it is the herd mentality. Only takes one to start and the rest follow. Not sure they know what they are doing. And once started they can't stop, unless something stops them like a fence. Happy creatures!
    I was up in the Black Mountains at Hay, yesterday. Quite beautiful. The early summer. But where are the insects? Many down at the Mill, but hardly any here at all. No wonder we see so few swallows and martins.

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  13. Molly - yes I think we do share the same feelings.
    Rachel - I wish it could be lovely without the edge of poignancy.
    Patientgardener - these things do take you back. I remembered exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard about Dunblane and sadly Whitehaven will now be the same. I shall not let it override my memories of lots of good things about living in Cumbria.
    Brown dog - I love to see it change too. I would hate to live somewhere without seasons.
    Lynda - thank you and welcome.
    Fennie - we have loads of insects here in the garden. Sometimes the noise is quite amazing. We also have swallows and countless birds so you must be right about the connection!

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  14. Elizabeth, A lovely post and I can feel the cold and hear the cows running. Wales is on my list the next time I visit the UK~I've always been drawn to it. The news about Cumbria was shocking~I never expect to hear that from the UK. gail

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  15. Your countryside is so beautiful and makes me yearn to live in a less populated place, for those wonderful evening walks.

    We have watched the Cumbria tragedy on the news here too (I watch BBC news here)...so heartbreaking for everyone there.

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  16. Beautifully described, Elizabeth and yes, shocking news from Cumbria. Such events are so rare and unpredictable, though, it's just important to focus on the loveliness of our world.

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  17. Thank you for sharing your evening walk. I love the welsh mountains and I can recall some wonderful times walking through them with friends. Yes, the news from Cumbria is tragic and such a beautiful part of the world. The garden and being outdoors brings some solace and peace for sure.

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  18. Gail - how wonderful it would be if you could come to Wales. don't forget we have a holiday cottage you could stay at if you manage to make it over here. Great base for exploring North Wales and the borders.
    Sara - it is good to live in a less populated place. I grew up in the country and then lived in cities for years. Now that I am back in the countryside again I would find it very hard to live in a city, but who knows what the future holds!
    Marianne - you are right, such events are very rare. it is hard to have to associate them with such a lovely place as Cumbria though.
    UDG - I wonder if the natural world brings solace to everyone? it does it so strongly for me that I find it hard to imagine that it might not, but presumably not everyone feels the same?

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  19. Your page looks beautiful Elizabeth...think I might need to 'spring clean' mine x. Lovely photos and words, and I too cannot get my head around the awful events in Cumbria, my brother works there, it is just such a lovely place and the heart has been ripped out of it for now.
    Posie x

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  20. What a lovely, thoughtful post. It seems strange sometimes to live in a world where such breathtaking beauty coexists with such senseless tragedy.

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  21. Lovely photos--- our sheep used to run to the first green shoots of grass when it appeared in the spring. When tree limbs would fall (with green leaves) they were so excited and would greedily eat it so non other could! The sheep were such pigs!!

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  22. Elizabeth, thank you to your and your friends for kind words about Cumbria. As you know, we live very close to Whitehaven and a very close neighbour actually came face to face with the gunman early on Wednesday morning. Thankfully our friend was not injured but it could all have been so different. If it had not been for a last minute change of plans, husband and I would have been in the immediate area.

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  23. My son is due to begin Uni in Cumbria this September. It's not the kind of place where you expect such awful things to happen.

    Your walk is beautiful! I love the photos. Being able to see both mountains and sea is my idea of heaven. Throw in the dual language road signs and what more could anyone ask for?

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