A walk on the wild side

This morning, spotting a gap in the persistent rain, we put on our ‘technical trousers’ (similar to Wallace’s techno-trousers but sadly, much less whizzy), grabbed the camera and headed out for a walk up the hills behind our house.  We paused momentarily in the garden to document the lovely roses which have just appeared.

Every week something new unfurls, and I am just observing and trying to work out what is a weed and what is not.  Dandelions I can spot, but there are quite a lot of other mysterious things which require identification.  If they all keep popping up with pretty flowers, though, that will help!

We marched up the hill, and eventually found a view of Blagdon Lake.

I think there’s a little bit of blue sky in there somewhere…

We carried on and all of a sudden, in a gap in the hedge, some sweet little woolly faces appeared!  I tiptoed over and tried Mark’s patience for about 15 minutes while I took photo after photo of the lambs.  The below is only a small selection.

Posing up like a natural!

And then mummy came over to investigate.  I have not met such photogenic sheep in a long time.  Heading back down through the woods the path took us across a field with a small group of what I think were bulls, rather than cows.  (I am not very knowledgeable about matters bovine, but have no doubt I will increase my awareness living here…)  They were certainly not too pleased to see us, and even though we gave them a very wide berth, they glared and glared at us as if to say ‘what on EARTH do you think you are doing in our field’.  I managed to get a couple of shots of them before we felt like it was probably time to move on!


I especially love the sly one peering over his mate’s back…

It was a lovely walk and we ended up in the village of Ubley, which is just down the road from us, gawping at some beautiful cottages with lovely gardens, roses spilling over the front door, and everything perfectly picturesque.  I was so inspired I came home and started trying to tackle the garden, but the weeds won and I had to break for a nap in the end!

Country life

We now reside in the countryside…. it is lovely.  Blissful.  There are birds tweeting, and cows just over the back fence.   Really.  We live in the Chew Valley, which is just south of Bristol and seems to be a thriving area with lots of lovely villages, and copious amounts of cows.  There is a dairy in the village (I haven’t investigated daily milk deliveries yet but it’s moving up the list of things to do) and the Yeo Valley dairy company is based two villages over.  I have been a devotee of Yeo Valley yoghurt for years, so I am inordinately pleased that one of my favourite food items is now officially ‘local’.

This is the view from just over our back fence.  I took this a couple of weeks ago when the sun was actually shining, ahem, and for the last week there have been lots of what I think are teenager cows in the near field.  They seem to be quite bouncy and mischievous, and also not that big, hence my teenager theory.  When the weather stops being atrocious I will see if I can get some photos of them.

The sun setting over the Mendips.

We also have a garden, an actual garden with proper plants in it, about which I am clueless.  I think I can handle herbs in pots, so I am planning an expedition this weekend to get some of those.  For the rest, I think I need to make friends with the neighbours and get their green thumb advice!

There is also quite a bit of lawn, which has necessitated the purchase of a proper lawn mower (American readers will not know that there is any other kind, but yes, here in England you may purchase electric mowers, i.e. with a cord attached, and yes, even human-powered mowers.  I had never seen such things before I moved here) and the building of a compost bin in which to house the grass clippings and other organic waste.

This compost bin was built by Mark from some obliging site waste material, and is standing proudly in the garden looking incredibly fit for purpose.

It is also designed with spiky residents in mind.  The hedgehog population is in decline in the UK, which is very sad, as hedgehogs are wonderful.  You can read all about them in the Guardian here.  In addition to residing in hedges (obviously), hedgehogs also apparently are quite keen on nesting in compost bins, and it is important to leave a gap to allow them access to this most ideal of habitats to encourage them to move in.

As you’ll note, one panel of the bin has been deliberately left out so as (all being well) to act as the hedgehogs’ front entrance.  Now all I need is some bunting to welcome them in….