Farmers’ Forbidden Pathways…

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As nature slowly ripens into August, the lush green field-margins, hedgerows and verges suddenly become too overgrown to navigate on the morning health-giving ‘ketogenic’ walks. 

We emerge from the meadows truly drenched from the waist-downwards. Stout wellingtons and heavy drill-trousers are no match for July’s dews; we literally wade through the undergrowth, like clumsy flamingos picking their way through a shimmering, yet silt-laden lake.

Far easier to negotiate are the farmers’ tramlines, which stretch the lengths of the fields, like a high-speed metro-route for wildlife. Rabbits, hares and pheasants shoot down these long straight corridors, softly overtaken by deer who arch gracefully overhead, following the roadways with their leaps but seeming scarcely to touch them. Swallows swoop, dive and bomb at dusk, powering forth in search of insects and moths.

And then two sets of wellington-boots lumber in, possessing neither the speed, nor the elegance of the pathways’ other users. These all flee at first sign of man’s intrusion; much like us when the farmer routinely catches us taking a shortcut across his field!

But at this time of year, the wheat-sheaves are still to turn golden. Yet as a nod to what’s to come, the leaves are beginning to yellow at their tips, creating an embroidered ‘tapestry effect’, flocked with the finest flecks of filigree gold. The natural corridors then are roofed in splendour, like the columns of a cathedral decked with precious metals which gleam in the bright dawn sunlight.

There is great beauty and pleasure in surreptitiously going off the beaten track in life; even if for only a brief minute or two. But one word of advice however… Just don’t get caught!

Enjoy the day and thanks for reading,

Adam.

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Knee-Deep In Flowers…

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Daisies, buttercups and forget-me-nots swirl around my knees as I stride intently ’round the field and meadows.

I smile to think how they must seem to the cat, who every day trots dutifully at my side on my morning walks.

The flowers tower resolutely over his head and shoulders as he surges forwards with determination; like a clumsy dolphin carving the surf. Only a swishing tail is visible above the canopy.

Wet paws and purring are my questionable reward as I lift him carefully over a particularly stubborn bunch of thistles.

Companionship can be a strange thing; but nevertheless a thing of great joy and wonder. So take it where you can!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the day,

Adam.

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A Patchwork Quilt of Purest Wonder

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With the turning of the seasons, the crops in the fields surge forth, sprout and flourish; each developing its own unique texture, pattern and palette.

Sometimes subtle, sometimes strident; these off-cuts of colour interweave and entwine, forming a patchwork quilt of purest wonder!

And as clouds slowly skim across the surface of the sun; shadows form and flirt with the earth, transforming its checkerboard into a kaleidoscope of colour; stealing the breath and enchanting the eye.

The verdant greens of seedling wheats clash cheerfully against the blazing yellows of oilseed. A carpet of campion, lilac, pink and purple, races along the hedgerows, embroidered by white chestnut candles and showers of palest hawthorn.

And as backdrop to all this, the deepest, purest blue of echoing spring-skies, bejewelled by the bright new dawn’s sunlight. The eye scarce knows how to take it all in or what to view next…

But the eye is not alone in its fervent feast of fancy; the ear delights too in the beauty which bombards it. A tapestry of tweets, trills and chirrups sings forth to the skies; a musical masterpiece every bit at complex rings out, as the dawn chorus slowly reaches its dizzying crescendo.

Mother Nature is a skilled seamstress. Her patchwork-quilt is ever changing; as each day’s colour adds a new & beautiful square. I humbly doff my cap to her craftsmanship, and urge you to do the same.

Get out there and see it.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the day,

Adam.

Meandering Lanes of Lush, Verdant Green – The Boundless Bounty of Spring…

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With nature, there is always something to wait for. Whilst the fields and hedgerows burst forth their frenetic Spring growth; the trees have yet to majestically unfurl their leaves into the hazy warmth of the soft April sun.
The verges of England’s green lanes seem to swell with a crescendo of life – the bright vivid blues of speedwell and forget-me-nots surge upwards; basking in sunlight, before slowly ebbing away into the dusk, when delicate evening-primroses take up their candescent chorus of colour.

An army of busily chattering beaks sing out their joy; japing and scolding between hastily guzzled mouthfuls of gruesome grubs and foraged fauna. Their soaring song trills to the sky, proclaiming a bliss which none can know, yet can’t be confined.

Whether Winter, Summer or Spring, the meandering lanes seem timeless in their slow, ambling journey. Their routes may be familiar, yet the subtle changing of seasons ensures there’s always a new sight to behold ’round each last lazy corner. Like the stage in a theatre, the backdrop is constant; the scenery evolves.

Few things can share this sense of eternal transition. Like all things ephemeral, one blink and you miss it!

So like the hedgerows’ wild flowers; take every opportunity to drink in nature’s rich warmth… But take heart when it’s fleeting; there’s equal beauty ’round the next corner.

Thanks for reading,

Adam.

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The Walled Garden At Dawn – A True Home From Home

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Today I am away from home, travelling with work. As a one off; my morning walk around the field has been replaced by a more leisurely stroll through the hotel’s walled-garden, followed by an invigorating swim and sauna.

Although I’m at the other end of the country; nothing is missing from the much-loved scenes of my familiar fields and fallows. The deer which graze the home-hedgerows are also to be seen in the rolling parkland which surrounds me. The same pheasants, partridge and hares run amok; and the sunlight still diffuses the clouds with an equal hazy splendour to that of my own garden. They may be different clouds and different wildlife; but they manage to appease my restless hankering for home, so I am grateful.

It just goes to show that, wherever you are in the world; the dawn is equally beautiful. So be sure to get out and enjoy it.

Thanks for reading,

Adam.

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Silent Statues In the Mist

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The mist lies thick, dead and heavy over the silent garden and fields. The dawn’s shroud of airborne damp and dew muffles and mutes; as if cladding the world in a protective soundproof jacket which none but sunlight can hope to penetrate. The white marble statues in the garden glimmer eerily through the grey; their strong structural forms becoming hazy and indistinct, before blurring into eventual nothingness.

But out of this quiet cloistered world, a silent fanfare of trumpets blazes forth. The bright brassy yellow of daffodils boldly punctuates the shroud of grey; a lone voice of colour in an otherwise leaden landscape.

As I trudge round the field on my morning walk, the usual mile-long vistas shrink down to a matter of yards. But in a strange way this is comforting. I suddenly become the true centre of my own world, left alone to my solitary thoughts and reflections. For a brief time, nothing matters beyond a mere radius of metres. These moments are rare and distinct; a thing to be celebrated and cherished.

Whatever you get up to today, be sure to enjoy a few precious moments of silence. For in this loud and cluttered world, such moments are few and far between.

Thanks for reading and have a good day.

Adam.

The trouble with ‘family walks’…

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My morning walk is a serious business. It’s a time for reflection, contemplation and ultimately a bit of ‘me time‘.

And then onto that calm scene bursts these two… As much as I love & treasure the two individuals who share my life and household, they are rarely a recipe for peace and tranquillity.

Where one goes, the other must follow; a boisterous double-act which jests, japes and jibes; only restful when every last bit of energy is spent (an evident problem on the ketogenic diet, where energy-levels are self-sustaining in contrast to the peaks and troughs of a glucose-metabolism…).

I suppose at least, I ought to be grateful for the company; certainly to the larger of the two… I just can’t help wishing however, we had a cat that wouldn’t follow us wherever we go. Every 5 yards there’s something new to pounce on, slowing up progress and causing a kerfuffle…

Whatever you get up to today, be sure to have patience with your loved-ones… you’d miss them if they weren’t there!

Thanks for reading,

Adam.

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With a spring in my step, as well as the air…

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Today is the first morning of the year that the dawn has felt more like spring than winter. The seasons are definitely on the turn, but the mornings still possess that strange, eerie quality of ‘no-man’s-land.

The sun is tangibly warm, but there’s still frost on the ground, which crunches slightly underfoot. Snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils are pushing their way vivaciously out of the ice-scorched ground, but as yet; their leaves are the only green in sight. We still have a long way to go before buds open up on the trees & hedgerows, and the scarf can be left in the drawer when it’s time for the morning walk…

But if the eyes can delight in the relief of spring’s arrival, so too can the tastebuds! The first delicate pink forced-rhubarb, still picked by candlelight in Yorkshire; has made its way to the grocers’ markets, as has the first vibrant gleeful purple-sprouting broccoli. Its taste abounds with the frenetic joy of spring and new growth; true and blessed relief after the interminable flatness of winter-store vegetables!

As I trudge round the fields on the morning  walk, my thoughts turn with relish to the new influx of taste & cheer that’s soon to greet both pasture and plate. For I feel we need it.

We have waited long enough.

Whatever you do today, be sure to watch out for the signs of spring, for they promise to bring relief and good cheer.

Thanks for reading,

Adam.

What ‘grows up’, must come down…

The farmers have been busy on the hedgerows, thinning out the tough previous season’s growth to make way for spring’s abundance of fresh, green leafy shoots.

In this particular instance however, I feel things may have gone just that little bit too far

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It rather puts me in mind of the time I requested a slightly too enthusiastic haircut. My ears have never felt so chilled, and I had to walk around for a whole month in a rather foppish tweed cap. Unfortunately, the trees do not have that luxury.

In the fair State of Ketosis, weight loss and ‘shrinking down’ is therefore very much the spirit of the day! Even the local shrubs and trees are at it!

At the very least I suppose, it’s another sign that spring is on its way, and we must make ready.

On the off-chance you’re booked in for a haircut today; heed this word of caution – go steady!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the day!

Adam.

The Plank – The Sequel!

Those of you who’ve followed this blog for a length of time, may remember back to October when I first described my daily walk around the fields.

One of the highlights (or lowlights!) of the morning ramble remains the terrifying obstacle of the plank! (see original post under hyperlink: the plank). The steep, muddy banks of the stream are particularly slippy; and the wood itself becomes perilously icy in bad weather.

Well now, thanks to the community-mindedness of a local farmer; a new option presents itself. Behold – the plank, the sequel!

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To be honest with you; I’m not at all sure about this! I now have a choice of two potentially lethal homespun footbridges to cross, and identifying the lesser of both evils is not straightforward….

Do I prefer…

Short or long?

Flat or bumpy?

2 foot drop into icy stream or 4 foot?

Feeling wimpy, or brave and heroic?

Other than the ability to re-enact ‘Dirty Dancing in Ketosis’; there’s not much to choose between them!

I think over the next week I may try ‘one day the plank’, ‘next day the trunk’!; until I eventually decide which best suits my timorous nature! I’ll let you know which option wins out.

Whatever you get up to today, try to be a little braver than me!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the day,

Adam.

All salute the spring…

As the wintry white carpet of snow and frosts gradually begins to thaw; another carpet of purest white slowly starts to emerge. From out the still icy ground, a shiver of snowdrops lifts shimmering to life; delicate and fleeting, but a first and sure sign that spring is finally on its way.

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Whilst it may be premature to say that ‘spring has sprung’; that spring is tightly coiled and it won’t be long before all bursts back into life. It is a pent-up and restless energy which communicates itself frenetically to all of nature – sudden birdsong breaks forth from out the trees and the bushes’ brave buds sprout silent & spontaneous from stalk and stem.

Another sign that the seasons are on the turn, is the mists which once again rise up from the still solid soil. The sun is finally strong enough to evaporate the dew; albeit haltingly and in patches.

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We are by no means safely out of winter’s grasp; but that vice-like grip has loosened; it’s certainly sufficient to let a little light into the freeze of February, so that’s good enough for me!

Whatever you do today, be sure to look out for the signs of spring. For it will soon be upon us.

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Thanks for reading and enjoy the day,

Adam.

The Moon-Dial…

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In a far-flung reach of the garden stands a strange and mysterious statue. Its surface is pitted and time-worn; no-one knows when it was built, or for what purpose.

On these cold and frosty winter nights, the moon hangs huge and resplendent against a grey-black sky. Gradually, its light falls on the statue, which then casts an ominous shadow over the frozen, silvered grass. As if like a finger, it points resolutely to some unknown destination; signposting a dark path into the woods, which none dare to follow.

For this reason, it’s come to be known as the ‘moon-dial’.

If the moon’s magnetic power is sufficient to pull the great oceans, moulding their unfathomable depths into ever-changing surges and tides; who am I to rule out its other more subtle effects and powers..? The sight of the winter moon is truly awe-inspiring; a sight I both respect and admire. But one that I’d much rather contemplate from the comforting warmth of my bed, gazing safely out of the misty, frosted window-panes…

But in the cold grey mornings, as daylight tremblingly takes hold; the moon-dial serves another purpose. I watch patiently, waiting for the giant moon to sink below the statue’s orb, and the weak sun rise above it, before I haltingly pull on my wellies and venture out into the steely cold. Before this point, it is far too dark and bitter to face the morning frosts. The moon-dial becomes my own personal alarm-clock; a sign that it’s time to wake up and grudgingly start the day.

But thankfully with each passing dawn, the sun gets stronger and stronger. We are all ready for the spring, and as the days slowly lengthen, we take heart knowing it’s not far around the corner.

Whatever you get up to today, enjoy the daylight hours and be sure to keep an eye out for the increasing signs of spring. For they bring warmth and relief to the soul.

Thanks for reading,

Adam.

Shepherd’s warning…

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As the old adage goes, “red sky at night, shepherd’s delight; red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning!”…

“When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and louring.”

A sky of glowing embers at dawn heralds the onset of bad weather. It’s already bitterly cold and damp; so no good can come of this baleful omen.

Whatever your day holds; be sure not to stray too far from the comfort of the fireside, and wrap up warm. If this old saying holds true; you’ll need it!

Thanks for reading and try to enjoy this harsh, unforgiving Friday.

Adam.

Food for the soul…

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Food comes in many forms.

In the Summer, I sit against the obelisk, feeling the warmth of its sun-baked stone on my back; devouring food of a different kind… soul food.

I dine on Dostoyevsky, Dickens and Donne. I gorge on Keats, Coleridge and Camus. I devour the pages of Austen, Bronte and Chaucer with a hunger that has nothing to do with my stomach!

But in the Winter this must be done by the fire. The cold grey stone is icy to the touch; scant comfort it affords at the time of year… Treasures such as A Winter’s Tale, A Christmas Carol and The Children of Green Knowe are consumed by flickering flame; tucked up warmly in the radiance of the hearth’s glowing embers.

As I pass the obelisk on my morning walk, I pause and run a hand across its mottled, mossy surface. The stone almost burns with cold. The huge golden sun which hangs resplendent in the sky can’t compete with Jack Frost’s meddlesome mischief!

Whatever you get up to today, be sure to wrap up warm, for it is icy, icy cold.

Thanks for reading,

Adam.

A silent and stately waltz…

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This morning, the sun hangs like a giant, splendid ball of fire against a cloudless blue sky. Despite its best efforts, there’s none of a fire’s comforting warmth. The air is crisp and clear, with a cutting bite, that warns all to dress up warmly.

I’m not alone on my dawn walk today. Six fallow deer are feasting on the rich green carpet of winter barley that’s pushing up valiantly through the icy ground. As they sense me coming, they sail away, like carousel horses, gracefully rising and falling to the stately cadences of some silent waltz only they can hear.

Theirs’ is an elusive beauty; as timid and shy as the creatures themselves. And so free! So effortlessly free! I often think they must mock my ungainly stomping, as I march round the field, clad in thick jumper, scarf and Wellingtons.

As they glide off into the distance, I wonder if they too are in awe of the natural beauty which surrounds them… I’m sure they must be. For it is their world, I’m simply an intruder, just passing through. There one minute, gone the next.

Whatever you get up to, be sure to venture outside and enjoy the day. For it is perfect.

Thanks for reading,

Adam.

Happiness is a muddy puddle…

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We’ve had a lot of rain over the last few days, but now the sun is trying its level best to shine through.

But every cloud has a silver-lining; in this case quite literally!

What sheer and unmitigated joy is to be found in launching oneself with verve & vigour into the deep, murky centre of a large muddy puddle!

It is for such things that the humble Wellington was born, and we should give unequivocal thanks.

Personally speaking, I like to look around around me to make sure no-one’s in the vicinity; then let out a gigantic whoop as I sail through the air and land with a rich and rewarding splat!

Your inner-child deserves a treat, so indulge yourself post haste!

Whatever you get up to today, make sure to find the time for a little joy. It’s a true tonic to the soul!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the day.

Adam.

A Halo of Frost…

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Winter is well on the way, and I love it!

This morning, my boots went crunch, crunch, crunch in the thick frost. Toasty-warm in my woolly jumper, scarf & mittens; I bounced round the field with steaming breath, just like a child!

As the weak sun slowly managed to melt the ice; the water-droplets seemed to glint and sparkle around my shadow, creating a magical halo of frost. It was enchanting.

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But just see how beautiful everything looks in the frost. If only the camera could pick up all the wonderful things I’d love to show you.

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Whatever you get up to on this frosty morning; wrap up nice and warm and enjoy the day!

Thanks for reading,

Adam.

Dawn secrets…

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At this time of year, the dawn is slow to give up its secrets.

Even the clinical light of day has trouble finding its way in the mists. It too seems reluctant to make a start; and takes its time to wake up fully.

But the mist is cool, calm and comforting. It has an emptiness which beckons you in; whispering promises of adventure around every corner. But when you arrive, all you find is more secrets.

So I’ll have to wait a little longer before it’s clear what the day will bring.

Whatever it holds for you, be sure to enjoy it.

Thanks for reading,

Adam.