Friday, 10 April 2015

Catch-Up Time

I haven't been here for a while so I thought it was about time I posted a few photos and did a little catch up. Life has been crazy what with working 6 days a week and it being winter, I haven't taken my camera out as much as I would have liked. But the last few weeks have definitely given me a few glimpses of what summer could be like.

My Duke of Edinburgh Award Bronze team did their practice expedition just before Easter. Pity we chose to do it before Easter. The weather was windy and cold whereas this week we've had a taste of summer with beautiful blue skies and warm (15+degrees C!!) temperatures. Despite the fact that I hardly slept while at Merkin's Farm above Staverton, I still got up at sunrise in the hope the sun would paint the sky. It obviously wasn't quite yet in the painting mood but it still rose in clear skies.

The view to Staverton and beyond.

Merkin's Farm Cafe. Open 9-4 daily. Pity... they could do quite a bit more business if they opened for hot meals in the evening and a nice breakfast at 6am!

A lonely tree watches the sun.

The shy spring sun wondering if it's safe to come out after the furious wind tormented the night.

Awww, the sun always shines on a VW campervan (or two!)

I promise I did not plan the route so I could stop and take photos on the way. No, this was just an added bonus. This is Great Chalfield Manor, a National Trust owned property. I just took a quick snap while we waited to spy on the DofE group walking past.

Having soaked up the lovely sun this week, either sitting in the garden reading or sitting in my room with the window wide open, writing, I decided it was time to explore. The Two Tunnels Greenway is a relatively new walking/cycling/wheelchair route from Bath through the hills and into Midford. It's a renovated old railway track and is worth a visit if you're ever in Bath. I left from Oldfield Park, and joined the path at Linear Park. As the name suggests the route goes through two tunnels. The first of these is just over 400 metres long. It's dark apart from lights at regular intervals and is refreshingly cool with that unmistakeable smell of cave that isn't too overwhelming at all. If you plan to walk the route it's better to bring a coat of some sort even if it's a boiling summer day.
The second tunnel is just over 1.5km long and has the added eeriness of music playing halfway through. Once you get out of these tunnels you are into the countryside around the valley of Midford and Monkton Combe. Beautiful countryside and so much better when you don't have to climb at hills! I decided to just enjoy the scenery the first time around. I'll walk it when the summer colours have decided to show themselves a bit more, making the route more photogenic. I couldn't, however, resist taking a photo of Midford Castle which was once owned by Nicholas Cage.

I enjoyed the route so much, once I had cycled along the canal and back into Bath, I went back and had lunch outside the second tunnel in the silence of a spring day.

The last adventure I want to tell you about is not really my adventure but one I witnessed both yesterday and today. One that needs to be told in a slightly different way. But first, a little history: during Easter in my first year at Bath Spa University, I helped a little lamb who had pushed through the fence and got himself stuck on the wrong side all night. It was a fun adventure involving lamb 43 and his mum. It inspired a short story told by the birds in the form of a news article. Here it is below:

Forty-Three’s Adventure
As told by Treetop Newspaper correspondents
The news in the trees this morning is that little lamb Forty-Three escaped from his field late last night. Mr Jack Daw, our correspondent on the fence who witnessed the incident reported that Forty-Three believed the grass to be greener on the other side and forced his way under the fence. Unfortunately he immediately realised it was not so. Following this epiphany, Mr Jack Daw reported the lamb became agitated and scared. “He called for Maa all night and kept close to the fence.”
Mr Taw Knee, our night shift correspondent in the air, said “Forty-Three cried all night and attempted on numerous occasions to jump over the fence.” Mr Knee also commented that Mrs Mallard was unhelpful and laughed at Forty-Three.
By sunrise Mr Ray Vern, a regular in the ‘greener’ field, had told Maa that Forty-Three was asleep but cold. A little later when a few humans were awake and food called our correspondents away from their perches, we followed Mr Robin Bird’s twitter. He said the little lamb was being watched by a young human. Mr Bird reported that the human walked back and forth looking at the fence. He heard her mumbling and questioning how Forty-Three got through the fence. He also tweeted about how stupid humans could be.
Mr Buzz Ard, hearing about the incident from over the pond, also reported that following the young human’s attempts to make Forty-Three jump through the fence, (an impossible feat even for Mr Rab Bit), a few older humans appeared. Forty-Three was very brave and stood his ground but still could not get back to Maa. During the commotion, Mr Jack Daw managed to talk to Maa about the situation from the fence.
“I told him many times, I did, I really did. But you know how little boys are? Always wanting adventure.”
Mr Jack Daw reported that Forty-Three then became very desperate and ran towards the neighbouring clan, who were hostile. Maa of course was brave enough to stay with her boy even through enemy territory.
Mr Buzz Ard claims the humans were trying to help Forty-Three, a claim we are unable to confirm. He flew lower to explain to Forty-Three but Mr Buzz Ard said the lamb would not listen; not surprising since at that precise time the young human had him cornered. Mr Buzz Ard reports the humans opened a gate and Maa ran out to join Forty-Three. He said the humans calmly directed Maa and Forty-Three back into the field with a cheer.
We are happy to report Forty-Three is safe with Maa who has made him promise not to try prove any more human sayings ever again. Maa thanked our correspondents for keeping an eye on her baby through the long night. 

So, in a similar style, here is a new article from Treetop Newspaper about the latest events

Treetop News - The Mag-Pie Gang Strike
Treetop News has travelled a little further afield over the years. Today we come to you from a little community in Oldfield Park where new families are hatching everywhere. Unfortunately this means a hike in egg destruction, child murders and broken families. Herr Ring-Gull, a local expert in broken families, says "at this time of year, with vulnerable chicks left to fend for themselves while their parents go searching for food, it is more likely we will hear of murders, accidental deaths and some rare survival stories." Ring-Gull and his colleagues in The Sky, witnessed an incident just yesterday morning in which a couple of hooligans from the Mag-Pie gang launched an assault on a well-respected family, the Blacks. This family has been known to have lost chicks to the local Cats in the past and were hoping their carefully picked property in Holly Tree Fork would save them from any violence this year.
Unfortunately this didn't deter the Mag-Pie gang. While one distracted Mr and Mrs Black, the other scrambled rather loudly into the property. It is unknown if the nest held eggs or chicks at the time of the assault. A familiar human, Robin Bird's Twitter confirmed it to be the same from the Lamb Forty-Three incident, heard the ruckus made not only by the Mag-Pie gang members but from the Blacks themselves. She managed to prevent the Mag from reaching the nest but was unable to stop the assault on Mr Black. Our sources tell us a large touring group from Spa Row attempted to help Mr Black but were unsuccessful against the much larger Mag-Pie gang. 
We feared the worst.
Today, we can report with much gladness, that not only are both Mr and Mrs Black safe but they have been feeding no less than two little chicks, with protection from the human and Herr Ring-Gull. We have yet to get an interview with Mr and Mrs Black at this busy and exciting time but we wish them all safety and joy on the hatching of their little ones. 
- Jack Daw, Bath correspondent. 
Mrs Black and one of her chicks.

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