WWI and WWII

A few days of insistent downpour, and one misconceived outing in trainers which resulted in trench foot, has meant that we are back to Welly Walks. It’s a little toasty in 2 pairs of socks, but it’s very much “access all areas” so Lyra and I have been out yomping round the fields and checking the hedgerows. There’s lots for the birds to snack on this year, with a fine crop of haws, roseships and crabapples. The ‘shrooms have also started appearing, kicking off with tall shaggy ink caps and what I think are psathyrellaceae parasola (thanks as ever Mr G. Oogle). All poisonous, so I shall be holding fire on the risotto funghi for the time being. Sadly, though, a lot of the remaining ash trees, having survived Storm Arwen (and the other one) are showing signs of die back. If we have further “once in a life time storms” in the next few years (and they do seem to becoming more of a feature than a bug) I think they’ll not survive.

WWI was overcast and drizzly. Rather aptly, we found ourselves trudging across muddy fields in the rain and got a little tangled in barbed wire trying to take a shortcut. We had one early encounter with a hare, but as it was near the road Lyra was still on the lead and was unable to engage the enemy. Once off the lead, and with an entire stubble field to play in, she demonstrated her ire by finding something untoward to roll in. Or perhaps she was perfecting her camouflage, both visual and olfactory. On the way back two red deer had taken the high ground and were reconnoitering. We stared at one another for a long whilst Lyra checked the undergrowth for sappers.

The sun came out for WW2. We made our tour of duty in reverse order this time, and, sadly encountered our first casualty just opposite the Trasnagh bunnies’ wood. It was, in Fountain parlance, another type of squirrel (Lachlan, as a solemn little boy, on first encountering road kill declared it “another type of rabbit” (the first two being bunnies and hares)). We paid our respects and proceeded on, taking a detour through a small spinney where I had spotted a promising stand of blackthorn earlier in the year. With my quartermaster’s hat on I was very happy to note a fine crop of sloes, and some pretty good brambles to boot, so I have some excellent foraging lined up for Ishbel when she comes home on Monday and Lachlan, currently enjoying the highlights of a Landrover Festival (well quite), has been asked to bring home copious bottles of hooch. Sloe vodka here we come…

After extensive covert manoeuvres in the rabbit warren, chasing the first type of rabbit we turned across the fields. By this time I was well and truly sweltering and the jumper came off. I had put on leggings and just a camisole T shirt in the morning (to keep cool under the jumper) so I completed the tour in what my Nana would have viewed as an insane outfit for September (breeks and a semmit). This time Lyra spotted a watching fawn. In great excitement she wormed through the long grass, cleared the ditch and ran after it for a whole three paces before stopping. The fawn also stopped and considered her quizzically. The chase was then rejoined for a further three paces after which the fawn changed gear and effortlessly floated off over the brow of the hill. Honour served, Lyra positively strutted back and then slowed to a casual stroll for the rest of the field, clearly feeling a bit hot and bothered. Following the harvest the nesting strips beside the fields south of Kerslaw have been cut back and we decided to take this short cut home as it offered the odd shade tree. Having been free of dog walkers all summer, the inhabitants have got a little slack in their defences. Lyra ended up nose to scut with a hare so again made chase, forgetting that she was, by now, back on the lead. By the time we got home everything was back in its socket and Lyra celebrated with a long dunk in the pond

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