The trees talk of winter…

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Ancient woodland lore states that a proliferance of holly berries heralds an icy cold midwinter.

It the trees are to be believed, we’re in for a mild December it seems.

This is very much at odds with the chill that reigns at dawn. There’s a bite in the air, which my upturned shirt-collar barely manages to ward off.

Time perhaps for a thick scarf to keep the cold at bay?

Thanks for reading and have a lovely day.

Adam.

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“What wailing wight calls the watchman of the night?” Silent moonlit mornings…

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My favourite contemporary-artist is John Caple. His work invariably depicts lonely moonlit scenes; where a solitary silhouetted figure stares eerily back out of the canvas. His paintings seem to convey an air of strangely stagnant silence, which I find remarkable!

At this time of year, mornings often have that quality. It was still moonlight when I embarked on my walk this morning.

From all directions came the rustling of wings and screeches of surprise, as my footsteps forced birds and animals from out of their cover. Deer & hares fled across the fields, and pheasants clattered noisily into the air, squawking in protest at my untimely intrusion. I even had to rescue a little woodcock from a wire-net fence, where it had become entangled in its rush to escape my lumbering footsteps.

There’s a scene in the animated story ‘The Snowman’, where the little-boy and his magical friend ride a motorcycle through the moonlit woods. The headlamp falls on startled & terrified animals, which clamber desperately out of the duo’s hurtling path. That is how it felt this morning. How has man become such an intruder in his own natural environment?

Either way, the dawn is decorative in its beauty. Get out and see it.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the day,

Adam.

A Dastardly Plot…

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Remember, Remember the Fifth of November,

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot!

What mortal man, woman or child cannot but stare transfixed in morbid horror, as the fiendish effigy of Guy Fawkes is carried ghoulishly onto the bonfire.

Since 1606, this hellish re-enactment has take place every year, on this day the fifth of November.

It is a sober reminder to us all of the perils which await, should we stray from the right path and conscience treason against crown and country.

This threat is still chanted in nurseries and playgrounds today, with the ominous call to heed the verse’s warning…

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November; Gunpowder, Treason & Plot!

I cannot help but think on these dark words as I walk the fields beneath a leaden sky. There’s a menacing gloom in the air, which the weak Autumn sun seems powerless to penetrate.

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Whatever you do this day, spare a thought for poor Guy Fawkes. But also be mindful of his lesson. Bad deeds come to bad ends. And what ending could be worse than this…?

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Thanks for reading and enjoy this dark day!

Adam.

All herald the hoar-frost…!

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As I stepped outside for my dawn walk this morning, a familiar stranger was waiting to greet me. The earth lay glimmering with a myriad tiny shards of ice and a new ‘bite’ was in the air; one that nipped viciously at my nose and fingers.

The first of the hoar-frosts had come.

I jumped back into the house and went to reacquaint myself with another old friend… the much loved Winter-coat! The light-weight Summer jacket was suddenly out of its depth. The icy grip of Winter is on its way!

One of my most treasured possessions is my brown leather bomber-jacket. I love it so much I’ve even snapped a picture of it to show you! It is ‘buttery soft’, with a thick downy padding that cossets you against the cold. This lends it a pleasing, sturdy weight, in spite of its softness. When you wear it, it whispers silently “I’ll shield you from anything”.

As I chugged ’round the field in my wellington-boots, my breath puffing and condensing like a steam-train;  I buried my hands deep into the pockets of my favourite jacket.

I smiled and was happy.

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Thank you for reading and enjoy the day,

Adam.

Magical mushrooms. The field of dreams…

In the autumn months, the rich fruitful bounty of the English fields and hedgerows gives rise to an entirely different fruit. Fungi!

There is one field I pass on my morning walks, which is truly a field of dreams. From out the pasture emerges a carpet of strange, phosphorescent, magical mushrooms. They glow ethereally in the half-light of early dawn; like an army of silent, fallen angels. As the daylight encroaches, they give up their glow and the magic is slowly lost.

The breadth of mushrooms at this time of year is astounding. Some of them even look like bizarre flowers. The ‘good’, the ‘bad’ and the ‘ugly’ doesn’t really do them justice. They all seem to be pretty ugly, and I’m certain that a fair percentage would prove quite ‘bad’ if you were to attempt to eat them. I just look therefore; and quietly gawp at the rich variety of nature’s harvest.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the day!

Adam.

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Missed opportunities…

My mother always said I was never very quick off the mark… Well that definitely applies to my photographic skills!

On so many of my morning walks, I’m just too slow in reaching for the camera. I’ve missed deer, owls, birds of prey, badgers, foxes, fighting pheasants and (of course) the cat doing any number of ludicrous things!

Well this morning, my missed photo opportunity was a huge heron. It launched itself from the cover of the reeds, and sailed awkwardly yet majestically right over my head. Its long neck, sharp beak, huge wingspan and great hanging feet made it look just like a pterodactyl. This is supported by how slow they move. It’s not hard to see that birds are directly related to dinosaurs sometimes. This one looked like something straight out of the history books. And I was just too slow in reaching for the camera…

Nevertheless, in spite of these missed opportunities; it’s another perfect day in ketosis!

Take a look for yourself…

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Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Adam.

Bats in the Belfry – a Plague of Pipistrelles…

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Part of my journey to explore all that a ketogenic-diet has to offer, is a journey of another kind… a journey on foot. Come hell or high weather, I’ve committed to a daily dawn-walk.

This is just over a mile in length and aims to put a little more movement back into what was becoming an increasingly sedentary life.

Looking out over the fields each morning, I see four churches in the distance. The first and second have already been explored in this blog. Now it’s time to meet the third, complete with its inhabitants…

The above depicts a beautiful, rambling old medieval church, typical of so many you see in this area and the wider English countryside. The pace of life doesn’t touch this place. It’s timeless in every way. But as the evening-time dusk descends, an entirely different picture begins to emerge…

From out the tower begins to leech a dark stain, which fills the sky like smog. Not smoke, but a vast army of bats emerging to feed after their long day’s cloistration.

The sky becomes electric with the sound of sonic chatter, just too high to be audible; but still causing resonance within the ear. They dive, swoop and bomb through the sky, swerving their way round invisible barriers & descending on prey too small for the eye to make out in the half-light. It’s a strange, majestic dance, to which none but they know the steps.

The interior of the church bears constant testimony to their presence. The pews and altar are all covered in a thick white plastic, to shield against the corrosive nature of their droppings! A smell of musk is almost overpowering and the stone floor is grainy underfoot.

The bats can’t be removed as they’re a protected species. So man and winged-mammal must share this space which our neglect allowed to fall vacant.

They’re certainly making better use of it than we are. One hour-long service a month is all we can muster. And when the last few elderly inhabitants of the village pass on, I suspect even that will stop!

I say ‘leave them to it’. Something’s got to use the place.

An englishman’s home is his castle; an english-bat’s base is its belfry! And all things considered; they couldn’t have picked a finer one!

Thanks for reading,

Adam.

One man’s struggle for survival in… “The Quest for Breakfast!” Coming soon to a blog near you…

Sometimes the morning walks serve a greater purpose than just exercise & thought-time alone… Sometimes, they’re a mission & a fight for sheer survival…!

All that stands between breakfast and our hungry man-in-wellies, is a treacherous & death-defying landscape of unknown perils…

To reach the eggs, which lie in a box at a distant farm over the fields…

Will he make it through the savage and terrifying jungle….????

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Will the bridge of doom prove his undoing …?

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Will ‘the plank’ herald his demise, sending him to a cold & watery grave…?

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Or does a more gruesome, foul and tortuous fate await him in the jaws of THE HUNGRY, RAVENING MONSTER!!??

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Dare he hope win his one true prize??? That elusive and highly coveted ‘dozen of breakfast eggs’?????

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Yes he did dare. They cost him one pound sixty pence and were very nice thank you.

With script-writing skills like this, it’s amazing I haven’t been snapped up by a film-studio years ago….! The invitation must have got lost in the post!

Thanks for reading,

Adam.

‘Old Ketonians’ – the pagan past of this ancient state!…

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As you’ll have learnt from yesterday’s post ‘Ketosis – an ancient & historic state‘; I can see four churches on my daily ramble to health and well-being.

The second of these carries a reminder of this land’s pre-Christian origins: The Green Man, Lord of the Greenwood.

Early Medieval architecture in England will often feature this ‘foliate-face’, in the form of gargoyles, bosses or corbel-carvings such as this. The exact meaning of this iconography has been lost to time; but it’s believed to date back to pagan times, when forest folklore was strong and the seasons were ruled by two opposing warlords; the Holly King & the Oak King.

Christianity was slow to catch on in a country which has always been steeped in druid culture. Add to this the invasions of pagan Romans & Vikings; and it becomes easy to understand why ancient folklore retained its resonance until well into the late-medieval period.

This particular Green Man is a much loved local figure. He stands at the entrance to the church, where generations of hands have touched him for luck!

We’re at that time of year where the leaves have all but fallen from the trees, and the holly will soon bear fruit. In light of this, maybe I’ll drop by and give the Green Man a friendly pat. Anything to ward off the dark on these gloomy mornings is definitely worth a try!

Thanks for reading,

Adam.

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Ketosis – an ancient & historic state! The land of echoing churches & medieval ruins… At least on my walks!

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One of the great joys of a country walk, is the opportunity it affords to look up and reflect on the world around one… One of my great loves is history, and the Norfolk countryside is certainly steeped in that!

There are four churches I can see on my mile-long morning rambles. This is the first!

The tower collapsed in 1892. They had made the louvre windows too big to support the weight of the tower and the bells. One can only imagine the ground-shaking crash as the whole thing came tumbling down. Local history states that it was a perfectly calm, quiet and still morning, without even the smallest hint of a breeze.

Nowadays it stands eerily alone, clad in ivy and rambling roses. This photo was taken in late summer, when the wealth of foliage makes it look even more overgrown and ‘gothic’.

Much like the creepy derelict house; this is most certainly a place to take a walk in daylight! There’s no way I’d venture here in the dark. Graveyards are spooky enough at the best of times… Ruined, deserted ones are even worse!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the day!

Adam

A blustery day in the State of Ketosis…

The news-reports say we should be bracing ourselves for the ‘tail end of hurricane Gonzalo’!

It certainly feels like we’re in for a spot of turbulence, that’s for sure!

‘Bracing’ is the right word for it. ‘Invigorating’ would be another…

All weathers have their charm however; though I’m glad I’m not a leaf!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the day,

Adam.

P.S. – can you spot NJ…?

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The spooky derelict house…

As it’s the weekend, I have time to vary my morning walk a little. A mile and a half out, lies this gruesome place!

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I think the thing I find the most harrowing and sad is the kitchen shelves. They must have once held wonders! Exotic herbs and spices, maybe even jars of Christmas mincemeat or elderberry wine. Now they are all empty.

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I have never been brave enough to climb the stairs – the whole place is incredibly spooky!

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It is the everyday signs of life which are the creepiest – coat hooks on ‘doors-to-nothing’, and still-peeling wallpaper!

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This is definitely a walk for the morning… There’s no way I’d do it in the dark!

Thanks for reading. More soon,

Adam.

Do you ever feel followed?

Sometimes it’s nigh on impossible leaving the house to take a walk!

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Could this be the neediest cat in England?

He dislikes being in the open, so stops and screams as soon as you go into the field. As soon as he hears wellington-boots on gravel (a sure sign that we’re sneaking off for a walk), he miraculously appears!

The elaborate games we have to play to disguise the fact that we’re leaving, get increasingly more ridiculous with each passing day! The most recent is sprinting round the barns in circles until he finally gets dizzy and wanders off.

Unfortunately this has the same effect on me! Back to the drawing-board it seems…

Thanks for reading, Adam.

Flora & Fauna…

Nature’s beauty is at its best in the early morning hours.

This morning on my walk, I saw the following:

  • 3 deer
  • hares
  • a kestrel
  • pheasants
  • partridges
  • a bird of prey which I could not identify!
  • all the usual British birds
  • Keto-Kat

I love it when the deer burst out of the hedgerow. They then leap and sail their way across the fields, rising and descending like carousel horses; graceful and measured.

There are reasons why I am not completely paleo… If I had to catch my own diner, I would soon starve. Plus I would find it difficult to kill anything so beautiful. And when it comes to the hunter-gatherer’s degree of stamina and agility, my paunch would pretty quickly prove a barrier!

I have always thought that deer got one thing wrong however – the big fluffy white tail. Nature could not have designed a better ‘target’ if it tried!

Autumn is a beautiful time of year though; one of my favourite.

The last of the blackberries are still in the hedgerow and field-mushrooms push their way up through the turf.

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Back to the paleo theme however; there is one thing I see on my walks which is DEFINITELY prehistoric…

These strange horse-tail plants. I don’t know what they are called officially, but I believe they are protected as an incredibly ‘ancient’ species. They certainly wouldn’t look out of place with the odd dinosaur roaming past. It’s pleasing to think that I can still see exactly the same thing, unchanged, as our ancestors saw it, though thousands of years have elapsed.

These particular ones border a pretty patch of irises, unfortunately long past their best in October..

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Anyway; enough for now. I must get on with my day.

Thank you for reading,

A.

A walk in the Arcadian state of Ketosis…

What better place to walk off a ketogenic breakfast than the fields of Norfolk.

Any weight-loss diet should naturally include the addition of exercise. It does get more strenuous than walking alone; but the resolution to walk at least one mile every morning (come rain or shine) aims to complement the dietary approach and get a little more movement back into life.

These rambles provide the perfect opportunity for reflection. Indeed, it was on one such ‘constitutional’ that I decided to start a blog and document my progress.

So, this morning’s mile-long walk. A grey Autumn day but still beautiful in every way.

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Round the field, then back through the garden.

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Not quite the inspiration for improved body-shape (I am more of a javelin kind of guy); but it will do as a starter for ten!

A.