Shirlett and the toad

A gentle evening stroll – it’s too warm for anything energetic. Pleasantly cool air drifts out from the gloom of the woods. We’re almost back to the start when a lump of mud beside the lane turns out to be a fine warty toad, who is perfectly happy to pose for the camera, though he’ll keep a close eye on us…

Approaching autumn

An evening wander, up Ned’s Lane and back down past Round Hill. There are thick tangles of wild hops in the hedges beside the road, and some of the bindweed and bramble leaves are decidedly warm-toned. A few low-dangling damsons (I’m thinking of jam already!) have been tested by several fingers already, but the fact that they’re still there means they need a little more ripening. Soon…

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Linley Brook and Stocking Lane

In January, we walked over Nordley Common and down to Linley Brook, where what should have been a pleasant path beside the stream was more like a jungle assault course. Perhaps in early August it will be fit to walk? Yes, it is – though still quite muddy in places, it’s more like the enjoyable amble we’d expected. Varying our route a little now, we stop to watch four sheepdogs, who clearly know what to do and how to do it (see the YouTube clip below).
Crossing the main road again, Stocking Lane takes us to a quiet field path leading over the hill and back down to the start.

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Clockwise at Aldenham

A familiar route which we follow more frequently in the other direction. The weather forecast suggested the the showers would clear (they did!) but the sky would be heavy with cloud (those little dark grey symbols). Yes, that was true too – but with little gaps to let the sun through, spotlighting little details in the surrounding countryside.
The dragonfly (a black-tailed skimmer) was very good at flying off, further up the path through the barley, whenever I got almost close enough for a half-decent photo. They know, don’t they?

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So different…

It’s been a very warm day – 30C in the early afternoon, with a clear blue sky and strong sunshine. Far too hot for walking, but soon the cloud moves in from the west, and the evening temperature is just over 20C when we set out along the lane at Shirlett. Very different from four days ago too -the skies were clearing when we walked this way at about the same time.