Posts Tagged ‘walking in the countryside’

Our friend, Prue, has been staying with partner Michael–only our second set of visiting friends in eighteen months. Prue is a walker–a 10,000 steps-a-day walker–and an inspiration, as such. She’s got me going again and I thank her for that, although I can no longer walk at her pace, so we don’t walk together.

Yesterday like the Grand old Duke of York, I marched (marcher —to walk) right up to the top of the hill and I marched right down again. Thirty minutes plus; a short walk compared to Prue, for whom it would have been a sprint. Horses for courses- and at present, I’m happy with my cart horse shorter distance–long enough to make me feel virtuous, and exercise those small muscles in the feet and ankles which are critical for keeping balanced.

Today–more adventurous–I detoured up a pathway, two hundred yards from the house, a shortcut linking the road to the hameau [hamlet] above us– a rutted tractor track for the farmers.

I’d been wary of it, tempting though it is. Too overgrown with long grass and brambles, and to be honest, I feared tripping and falling–and not being able to get up! (Oh dear, how has it come to this?).

Then a couple of days ago while driving past, I noticed that it looked cleared, more approachable, less hazardous for a walker. Perhaps a farmer had run an old tractor over it. Nonetheless, I took two walking sticks today to help steady myself, and set off.

I picked my way gingerly (an early 16th-century term–meaning elegantly, daintily, walking or dancing with small elegant steps) up the path, collecting some freshly fallen walnuts and squeezing a black fig for ripeness from a bush, then discarding it. Not a good year for figs!

Reaching the hameau I set off again in one piece and proud! As I rounded the corner to join the main country road, I heard a low buzzing on my right. The buzzing of the bees in the cigarette trees! *

This was turning into a rich nature walk!

A high wall of flowering ivy was a “hive” of activity, so to speak. And not only with bees! Beautiful Red Admiral butterflies and flying insects were sharing the feast.

What a sight and sound–and only yards from chez nous!

I paused in wonder and then moved on down the hill and home.

Prue might not be too impressed with my short walk–though she would be too discreet to say so. No matter! I’d bearded the path and emerged unscathed–richer by a couple of walnuts and already remembering other paths with walnut trees in season and the odd fig tree too.



  • Big Rock Candy Mountain–I remember being charmed by Burl Ives singing this on Saturday morning Children’s Favourites, BBC Home Service, in the early fifties.

Read Full Post »

Walking Country by Hope James

I hear a sound  as I set out for my walk at 7.30, I haven’t heard in months—the warble of a golden oriole–(always an early riser).

Watching the walker...

Keen to let me know he’s back, he tracks me as I go–at least that’s how it seems; it’s good to hear him again.

There’s a pheasant in the meadow that we think is courting Madame Arkarti, our eccentric looking hen.

lurking pheasant...

She seems–as yet– oblivious of this. He circles the house, always at a safe distance, squawking his squawk–why else would he do this?

Two hares in a field bound away into the nearest cover when I stop to look–as far as they know, I might have a gun I suppose.

A farmer goes by on a tractor with spraying equipment on the back–off to work a nearby field. The smell as I follow reminds me of lavatory cleaner. It’s a miracle we have as much wild life as we do.

The garlic is growing fast encouraged by the recent rain.

Garlic grows apace

They’ll start to lift it towards the end of June ready for the garlic festival in Lautrec on the first Friday of August. Ten thousand people mill through the narrow streets and there’s free garlic soup at noon.

Read Full Post »