A Raft of Apples

Sunday 10 April 2022

Willington Woods


The signpost points to Red Lane and as I approached it

a comma butterfly settled down in from of me opening and closing its wings before flying off
I walked into the woods on its broad path lined with ivy clad trees. The birds were singing and bees buzzing

spring is on the move


some take the high road

some the low.  Turkeytail fungi forming a beautiful pattern while getting down to its true purpose, decomposing fallen trees. No need to hurry all things pass slowly here.

Back to open blue skies and another beautiful spring day.  I did think of calling in for an ice cream on the coast road but Roy's Ices had an enormously long queue of folk spending a leisurely day on the shores of Morecambe Bay.  Well at least no decision had to be made of what flavour to choose. 

Sunday 28 March 2021

St Cuthbert Church

St Cuthbert's church was carpeted with the gold of daffodils as I came through the Lynch gate.  I had come here for solace as my dear Ron died suddenly on Monday 22 March and while many of the churches in the area had closed because of Covid I thought this one was open.
The church is Norman in origin
and this is the front entrance surrounded by Yew trees.  Although the porch was open the door was not so in the Spring sunshine I wandered around to the right side away from the sharp wind.  I have never though about why country churches have a low sloping sort of concrete attachment on the bottom of the church wall but as I sat down realised why, most comfortable.  I sat and contemplated and was joined by a robin who sat nearby on a gravestone and kept me company for some time. I rose and wandered off
spotting a group of these bell like plants. They are a little like lungwort but not quite.
There is pretty gravestone for the Postlethwaite family and a more austere but attractive
grave marker for Dr James Menzies 1853-1941 and his wife Elizabeth Ellen 1863-1937. He was the Kirkby in Furness doctor and must have been admired because the stone reads - "The skill of the physician/ shall lift up his head and/in the sight of great men/he shall be in admiration".
I left by the war memorial with its white and yellow daffodils.  For the history buff there are little biographies of the men by the gate but on this day of sadness it was not for me.
I admired the detail of the cross and went on my way home


Wednesday 23 December 2020

Wander in Wet Woods


Acorn advance
A meeting place to exchange Christmas presents in, as they say 'a Covid secure manner' presented an opportunity to take a wander through Serpentine Woods near Kendal and potentially a journey through the alphabet.  A map and clues exist as to what one might find however we were rather unprepared, but happily not for the weather, being kitted out with wellies and waterproofs . The first sculpture was easy to spot for it starts the path in the photo above and  A -"will grow one day into a great tree"

"B has he most beautiful wings you will see".  The winter trees form a nice backdrop for this colourful butterfly
Count the legs and what do we see a centipede on a tree.  Fun fact you'll never find one with 100 legs because they have an odd number of pairs and those legs move fast.
but not as fast as a deer.  We spotted three more letters on the alphabet but missed two had a distraction or two and the rest and as Eric Morecambe said of his piano playing "they are the right notes but not necessarily in the right order"
Despite the dull day there was still colour in the woods. This fern was almost like a Christmas display. Ferns absorb nutrients from their leaves before shedding them and all the nutrients have been taken underground.  The snowy white fonds remains until they die and disappears.
Oh look we have found a ladybird. Hurray.
And a pheasant, not the weather for sitting.
Nature can produce her own living sculptures.  This Burr Knot almost seems to have little clasped hands beneath it.
Mr Rat with his curly tail.
Trying to work out how to make a door.  There are quite a few of these shelters throughout the woods and every one had to be  one had to be explored by a tiny person.
Eventually ending with a ring of the Jingle Bells.   We saw a lot of the alphabet but not all and one (the umbrella) we were told by a friendly passer by was undergoing repairs.
Time to go our separate ways home and leave the wood behind, it is a popular place for a stroll with dogs or children.  Here is someone who visited in Summer although the weather looks similar.

Tuesday 6 October 2020

At Sea on Roa Island




Yesterday's sunshine tempted sailors out on the water


and out to sea past Roa Island and Foulney.   One side of the island was blue skies


and the other under dark clouds.  This swimmer acclimatising to the sea temperature standing on the end of Roe Island jetty at high tide could choose his own direction.  Left around the lifeboat station to sunshine or right to Piel Island under cloud.

Sunday 4 October 2020

Beach Art

The flotsam and jetsam has risen up on Haverigg shingle bank and stands sentinel.
In the stillness of the day nothing moved

The little mountain of Black Combe watches over sea and land

And still nothing moves
The jellyfish does not want to be here down in the sand it wants to move;
and dreams of the pools left behind by the tide.  We move on -
and in the distance see another sentinel on top of the sand dunes
From the sea to dune
an everlasting supply of tide washed buoys to gather and to string up on the skyline by our mystery artist.
Nature's art of tide and time is also gathering, perhaps to grow another shingle bank
of the beach pebbles remnants from deep time.

Thursday 24 September 2020

Autumn on Duddon Moss

 The Duddon Mosses have been well visited this year as a local escape into nature from Covid19 and for that reason the bracken has not overwhelmed the paths.  Now all is quiet as people walk elsewhere and only the birds were in residence as we walked the paths and boardwalk.

One of the joys of this time of year are the variety of fungi

such as these common earthballs nestling in the grass.  I love this passage in my old (1978) Observer's Book of Mushrooms and Toadstools .  "This fungus is unwholesome and should not be eaten; nevertheless as it somewhat resembles the truffle (in looks, not taste) it is sometimes used by unscrupulous restaurants in conjunction with the real thing" and then it finishes off with the zinger "but this happens mainly on the Continent as Truffles are little used in this country" . What were we eating in 1978 that may be thought of as continental?   Woman and Home tells me it was cheese fondue and quiche lorraine.  Heady days.
My fungi knowledge is scant but nevertheless I can admire their shapes, sizes and colours. This hat shape I think is a type of Cavalier
And a perfect round
From a distance this looked like a potato lying by the path.  I think it might be a Parasitic Bolete (Boletus parasiticus) and is parasitic on Earthballs (seen in the first photo) although it is now conjectured that they simply consume dying earthballs.  If my observation is correct it is an uncommon find.
Not looking in the best of health.

So lots of fungi but one I did not see was the instantly recognisable Fly Algaric which is very strange as usually there are a lot of them here. 2018 was an especially fruitful year as can be seen in my post at the time here

Leaving behind the paths we wandered across the boardwalk to admire

the Bog Asphodel whose other name is the Lancashire Asphodel and Lancashire is what this part of the country used to be until governmental edict turned it into Cumbria. The plant is in fruit
and they give wonderful colour to the green moss.  As we took the path to leave through the

wood a Speckled Wood butterfly flew past to gently land and open its wings to take in the warmth of the sun

and a young oak glowed with autumn colour.