18 March 2014

Ramblers

Since I opted for early retirement, I have walked hundreds of miles on my own. On weekdays, when Shirley is at work, I invariably long for the weather people to  provide me with bright, sunny days. And when they do, my boots are in the back of the car and I'm off with map and camera in hand. I can walk for hours - sometimes as much as four hours of solid walking without a single rest. The plodding of my footsteps, deeper respiration, sweat on my brow and the wonder of the world around me - these things have combined to make the process of walking something that possesses a semi-spiritual value. It never used to be like that.

But on Sunday, it was time once again to walk with others - namely Shirley and our friends Ros and Pete. We parked at Grindleford and set off by the burbling River Derwent towards Froggatt and thence to Calver. In Calver, with its quaint limestone cottages, we headed for "The Derwentwater Arms" where we were clearly the first customers of the day. We ordered modest  lunches and chatted as we looked out over the village cricket ground.
"The Derwentwater Arms", Calver
Then it was back towards Grindleford by the opposite bank of the river. I saw these daffodils and wished that I could send them to blogging phenomenon Mr R.Brague in celebration of his seventy third birthday which is of course today:-
Not long after this, Shirley saw something moving in the water. We had clearly disturbed it. It swam to the other bank and though it was by now perhaps fifteen yards away, I managed to get a reasonable picture of it by zooming in and trying to hold my camera as steadily as possible. It is a water vole - the largest British vole and one of our most endangered species. Its characteristic slow, doggy-paddle style swimming strokes are now a rare sight on Britain's canals and rivers. We were very lucky to spot it:-
Then onwards, returning to the delightful village of Froggatt. Here's a picture of Froggatt Bridge:-

On the edge of Froggatt Wood I asked my walking companions to pose for a picture on what had been a another lovely little country outing. Much better than pottering about at home:-

18 comments:

  1. I haven't seen a water vole since I were a wee laddie. Such a sighting would have fair chuffed me.

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    1. GB - That's the first time I have ever seen one!

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  2. Very pleasant post, Pudding. The missus and friends actually seem happy to be keeping company with you. I'm taking "blogging phenomenon" as a compliment, and I do hope you meant it as such. Thanks also for the lovely floral tribute. No one has ever given me daffodils before.

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    1. Happy Birthday to you, Mr. Brague! Mine is this Saturday, and since it is the right season for them, plus my friends and family know that yellow is my favourite colour, I would not be surprised if someone gave me a bouquet of daffies.

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    2. By now Mr Brague you should have realised that my affection for you is boundless. Of course my description of you was a compliment...darling!

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  3. YP, I know exactly what you mean about the semi-spiritual value of walking long stretches on your own. It is what I feel I really need in order to preserve my (relative) mental health. Much as I like walking with others (not too large a group), it is the long walks on my own that I treasure most, being able to move at my own pace, think my own thoughts, not talkng, just... walking.

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    1. Arian - It is comforting to know that somebody else out there understands that feeling that solitary walking can give you.

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  4. It is a grand walk by the Derwent. The Vole was a real find. I hope they can make a comeback.

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    1. I'd like them to make a comeback but I don't want them to take over - even though they'd probably do a better job than the ConDems.

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  5. What a lovely photo of Shirley and your friends ~ they look so happy. What did you do to get such big smiles on their faces?

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    1. We sniffed some cocaine in "The Derwent Arms" and I was naked when I took that picture.

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  6. I know that blokes face from somewhere

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    1. He's an insurance man but maybe you encountered him while frolicking in Manchester's gay quarter.

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  7. Well, as I followed you on my trusty map, I stopped to eat in Froggatt at the Outside Cafe and Shop. Then found some trees in beautiful bloom on one of the side streets.

    Shirley looks wonderful! So happy and content.

    I have never heard of a water vole. I am sure that the Wildlife Federation here would let millions of land voles emigrate to Britain, if you would like. They are very pesky and destructive! We would be willing to send an equal number of praire dogs with them!

    Thanks again for the virtual walk, Mr. Pudding.

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    1. Yo honey! Y'all can keep yer Yankee critters! (Like my American accent?)

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  8. Thanks for taking me along with you on this walk, Yorkie. :)

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  9. What a lovely bridge it is!

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.