a pleasant day in the country

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The BBC in their wisdom forecast periods of snow today alternating with hail, frogs falling from the sky, temperatures that were so low that you would freeze to death as soon as you stepped out of the door. Looking at the blue sky this morning we decided that this was a splendid time to go out and this was after our coffee morning at church, where my wife decided to join me.

It is a strange thing that I have noted with human nature. If you gather a perfectly ordinary set of people together, give them a cup of tea or coffee, sooner or later they will start chatting and having a laugh. They don’t have to be particularly brainy, or higher or lower down in the social hierarchy, it’s the common humanity that matters.  I never eat cake at 10.30 in the morning but the home-baked cake produced by the ladies are so good that I cannot resist or should I say I do not wish to resist. Fortified by slices of almond and chocolate cake and two cups of coffee, we ventured forth having decided to make the best use of the sunshine.

What follows now is a pictorial essay on our planned walk along the Kennet and Avon canal starting from Bradford-on-Avon and walking east. One of the advantages of living in the country is that within 15 to 20 min you can find yourself a lovely walk that you have not been on before, have a chance meeting with complete strangers and enjoy an environment without seeing a mobile phone (actually a mobile microwave transmitter which fries your brain) but it is technology so we must bow to it and switch off our brain. On the way, we met a man who had walked away from Bath and intended to continue, presumably catching the bus which runs from Winchester to Bath.

25,000 people are estimated to live on the canals of the UK
lovely no-thing just nature getting on with it
an ancient pond
Swans, who mate for life, inspecting their territory

We visited by chance an excellent nursery, Downside Nurseries in Upper Westwood BA15 2DE near Bradford-on-Avon, open every day. It was clear from the moment when we entered that the stock was of excellent quality and the love and care given to each item stood out a mile. These people really know what they’re talking about. We have no intention of buying anything when we arrived but…. You know the way it is.

Bluebell chickens adjoining the nursery. They are apparently quite destructive
very healthy stock
what a lovely work area
a ford, in Wellow (a small village) which floods from time to time. Today, it is behaving itself
This is what the power of the water does, adjacent to the picture above

So we had a lovely afternoon and I allowed myself to admit that I am actually retired and I can afford to take time off without worrying about anything and letting the Earth continue revolving around the sun and not trying to sort out its troubles. The Earth is a pinprick in Wembley Stadium in London so I don’t think we have to take ourselves that seriously.

On arriving home, we were greeted by a couple of e-mails from our friends that we had met on a previous occasion in London. The first one was from someone saying that the bulbs we had given them as a present had grown and here was a photo.  The second one was from someone saying that they had enjoyed their time with us and everything about the day was good. It is sad that people do not take the trouble to thank others. I don’t think it is ‘cool’  to take people’s hospitality for granted. Why not take 30 seconds of effort and focus and say to someone, ‘yes I really did enjoy the evening you took so much trouble to lay on’.

And now, this evening threatens to be cold so I shall be enlightened by lighting a fire. I admire the Army ladies who returned from a trip crossing Antarctica where the temperature was down to -55°C. I suppose -2°C is not that much of a hardship.

This evening, on BBC there is a show about the famous IKEA which I shall watch with great enthusiasm.

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