Past their best

A beautiful day! We’re wandering around Benthall Hall and Edge – it’s warm and sunny in the fields, while the woodlands are pleasantly cool. A couple of weeks ago, the bluebells were at their best, but they’re past it now – as is the oilseed rape, and the tatty peacock on the brambles. Perhaps we’re past our best too? Who cares! Maybe, like the emerging orchids in the scrubland, the best is yet to come…

Blue Clee

The bluebells are out with a vengeance on the lower slopes. The sky’s blue (with puffy white clouds, and the distant hills are blue (remembered…). And there’s hardly anyone else out (were there a couple of matches going on today?). A cuckoo makes its presence felt, and just off the north end of the hill, there’s a pair of red kites wheeling and diving. It’s good up here – shame to have to come down again.

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Battles in vain…

There’s plenty of colour on the Wenlock Edge now, much of it from the far end of the spectrum – blue, indigo and violet*, in other words. There are plenty of bluebells, and violets here and there – and the early purple orchids are out. There are yellows and whites too, and of course there’s green everywhere. It must be spring!

*Richard of York gained battles in vain = the rainbow… Does everyone know that?

No fog on the Tyne

Not a trace! We had a clear blue sky from dawn to dusk, a perfect day for this lengthy day out on Monday 14 May. We travelled by rail to Newcastle Central, then took the Metro out to the coast, stopping at Whitley Bay and Tynemouth stations. A fine fish and chip lunch (al fresco) kept us going for the rest of the day – the trip back to Newcastle, a quick look at Earl Grey and his street, and the journey home.

Most of the rail-related photos are on Geoff’s Rail Diaries – visit “A Tyneside trip“.

Out for a duck

Ten ducks, to be precise. These giants are on display around Ironbridge until July, as part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Telford, and provide colourful compensation for the current wrapped-up state of the famous bridge. They will also help to raise funds for local good causes. Sadly, we could only snap nine of the them – the tenth is away, undergoing repair after being vandalised (there are some truly sad people around).
The names are those shown on the plinths – I didn’t devise them…

A Tyneside trip

It’s a long way from Shropshire to Newcastle (upon Tyne, that is). The train from Manchester takes just under two and a half hours for the 150-mile journey, but first we’ve got to get to Manchester. At Newcastle, we’ll take a Metro ride to Tynemouth (and its magnificent railway station). Fish and chips, eaten on the wall overlooking the North Sea, will keep us going for the rest of the day. We’ll even get a glimpse of Newcastle’s Grey Street before heading for home. It’s an early start and a late return, but on a day of cloudless blue skies, this is truly a grand day out. More to follow – this is just a taster…

Mid-May in Bannister’s Coppice

We’re following what has become a favourite route – from Much Wenlock, down through Homer to Bannister’s Coppice, and back along the old waggonway route. There may be some deer about, and perhaps some early purple orchids? Down beside the brook, there was a group of perhaps a dozen deer, well-camouflaged amongst the trees, and only visible when they moved (away, of course). There were a few more in the field when we left the coppice – they didn’t hang around either.

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