Have you noticed that as you get older the memories of your childhood become rosier and cosier? The expression ‘through rose tinted glasses’ becomes less of a euphemism and more of a way of instilling into your children just how wonderful your childhood was…..sound familiar?!
One of the many recollections I have is the traditional family Sunday, with a visit to church straight after breakfast, return home to a hearty Sunday roast then a family walk and finally sitting down to the late afternoon film with triangle sandwiches and fairy cakes.
So in the tradition of burdening my children with adolescent memories, I decided we would all go for a long walk after a rather heavy cooked lunch (OK it wasn’t a roast but it was a very large Cottage Pie followed by pudding!).
When I found myself, suited & booted in appropriate attire and headed off with a vague idea of direction, I also found myself completely on my own…..so much for persuading my offspring to follow in my footsteps, quite literally.
Anyhow, I followed a route that was signed, not so much yellow brick road as yellow arrows pointing the way.
I’m always dubious about walking across livestock fields, particularly after a rather nasty incident involving some rather boisterous heifers, but this field was full of timid, very nervous but rather adorably scatty sheep. Some of them had an assortment of hedge trimmings side-riding on their woolly coats but they carried on regardless nibbling at the lush grass.
Then of course there’s the view and OH! what views we have in west Dorset; a patchwork quilt of fields, ancient hedgerow, majestic trees and undulating hills that roll down to the sea.
A county for artists!
But the other aspect of my walks I do love is the trees – lots and lots of trees in all shapes, sizes, characters and moods. Some offering a welcome shelter in a storm, others a plentiful supply of food and whether alive or dead, horizontal or standing, each one of them is a universe for the myriad of creatures that rely on it for their existence.
Of course there is always evidence of storm damage, our weather pattern is such that the old and unstable are removed allowing the stronger to survive. Nature at its very rawest.
I also keep an eye out for hazards that are likely to result in plenty of hosing down and foot wiping.
Then I reached the summit of my walk and reminded myself I owed son no. 2 an apology for doubting we could reach the National Trust’s Lewesdon Hill from our house. I was absolutely thrilled to discover this and annoyed I hadn’t realised sooner as it is such a fantastic place to enjoy all that is nature.
It’s always a treat to see the different fungi families, from the white meaty ones that sit on the forest floor to the brown platelets that are stacked on the side of a tree and the UFO’s that were undoubtedly flying too fast and embedded themselves in the sides of trees as they hurtled into our ancient woods hundreds of years ago.
On this particular trip I came across an extraordinary 3-tier high rise example of the ubiquitous forest fungus that looked so comical as to be artificial!
Then there’s the carpet of moss, softer than anything Allied Carpets could produce and the bizarre caricatures that imitate creatures from another world but are in fact the stunted remains of previously sacrificed trees.