Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Stroll in the Country

I think I said before how well this country is supplied with places to walk. Despite the very busy roads there is a multitude of public footpaths, bridleways and lanes through the fields from village to village.

The village of Odell, Bedfordshire.
The wood we walked in is on the ridge.

Today Ruth dropped us in the neighbouring village of Odell, only a few miles away as the crow flies, but a bit of a loop in the car because of the wandering River Great Ouse. At Odell there is a large patch of woodland, mostly old oak trees with an understorey of coppiced hazels. In a few weeks there will be a carpet of bluebells as well, but right now the flowers are mostly primroses and celandines. The trees are just beginning to come into leaf, but the open woods are great for bird watching.

Odell Great Wood.

Track in Odell Great Wood.

We strolled through the woods for a couple of hours, then returned to The Ball at Odell, for a baguette and pint of the local ale, and the weather was certainly good enough to eat it outside in the garden.

The Bell at Odell.

Pub lunch in Odell.
Note the hearty pint of ale, and the bird book.

Then we crossed the river at the site of the old mill and returned to Pavenham, only having to cross one back road. Nine or so kilometres, and all very pleasant.

Mill pond on the River Great Ouse.
Oozing along quite quickly, really.

I know my limited readership is keen to see a few shots of Heron House and its inhabitants, so here they are!

Bowers Towers, Pavenham.
aka Heron House.

Jean and Ruth.
Two respectable ladies of late middle age.......

....but still capable of acting the fool occasionally!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Change of scene (and season)

Well here we are in the UK, after a fairly painless journey via Hong Kong.

We are staying with Jean's sister Ruth in Pavenham, a small village not far from Bedford in the east Midlands. And of course it's early spring here, not autumn any more, and when we pulled the curtains back this morning (fairly early, thanks to the time-shift) the world was coated in white frost.

Frosty morning in Pavenham

Lots of cold wood pigeons warming up in the sun

But the day was cloudless and by mid-morning it was warm enough to sit outside and read the paper. Needing to adjust our clocks we got out in the sunshine to walk some of the lanes and footpaths that abound in this part of the world.

Country lane near Pavenham

Early spring here means snowdrops, celandines, primroses and daffodils. The trees are just coming into leaf and the hazels are covered in catkins; all very English and charming.

Snowdrops, mostly finished now

Celandines, with their yellow enamel petals

Jeannie enjoying the catkins

It was so nice that we even missed the second half of Scotland beating Italy at the rugby for another walk in the afternoon, but got back in time to see Ireland beat England: hurrah for the Celtic Fringe!