The mystery warning light in the car has reappeared. All previous attempts to fix it, and there have been many, have failed. After a testy call to the garage yesterday it transpires that lockdown prevents the sending up of a replacement courtesy car and Keith must take the defective one down and pick up a replacement himself. This means a lengthy road trip. We bought the car from a local garage which was part of a chain. They later closed our local branch and the nearest one is now in Carlisle. This has been the subject of some spirited discussion between Keith and the garage management. During one altercation the receptionist, who knows Lachlan, texted him to see if he could call off the dogs….I do not envy the team in Carlisle. Lachlan volunteers to ride shotgun (whether for company or as wing man/peacemaker in any altercation is unclear).
However, on the plus side Lyra and I now have the day to ourselves. I have two facemarks to deliver to Sue so we take the long road to Butterlaw along the back of the fields. The corn is now thigh high and glowing almost blue. This is obviously not a well trodden path, – the grass in the verge is almost hip high on me and well over Lyra’s ears. There is the narrowest of walkway just where the corn stops, so Lyra comes off the lead and we proceed in Indian file. As we walk through the tunnel of grass and corn, Lyra behind me sniffing optimistically at the treat pocket, a deer steps out, turns and simply ambles away. Lyra is sufficiently engrossed in chicken treat smell to miss the moment. However, as we get near to the spot where the deer left the wood she must pick up the scent and suddenly races past me, flowing over the grass like a steeplechaser. But the deer is long gone.
At Butterlaw Lyra and I stop to chat with Sue over a biscuit or two (ginger for me, digestive for Lyra) and inspect the hens. Tom’s collections of useful wood, paving slabs, bricks, trailors and tractors are now so big they are likely visible from space. I expect there is a CIA spy satellite permanently trained on Butterlaw just in case this artful disarray is a cunning disguise for a nuclear bunker.
Strolling back I admire the verges. They are luxuriant with all types of grasses, tinged with maroon from the ripening grass seed. I like the velvety purple plumes of holcus lanatus, also known as Yorkshire fog grass, best I think – though the wild oats come a close second. There is also the rusty red of dock seeds. We used to call this baccy and make fake “roll your own’s” with the leaves when I was a nipper. Though this was the 70s when it seemed like all grown ups smoked (other than my mum, ever before her time) and candy cigarettes were considered quite the ticket. Dotted in amongst the grasses and docks are dabs of colour, cross wort, buttercups, vetch and birdsfoot trefoil and under the hedge a mass of herb Robert. I also spot the tiny little white stars of stitchwort, upon which my photographer’s assistant promptly sits.
We return to a snooze (Lyra) and a “piece and ham” (me) and consider the morning well spent.