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Bristol , United Kingdom
I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

TED Walks in the Time of Coronavirus Pt 3

We had a different place to exercise in recently, the day we had to travel across town to drop off an ailing laptop for resuscitation. On the way back we stopped near Purdown for a Sneaky Walk Elsewhere.

The views were far-reaching, all the way over to Cossham Hospital, where a year ago, I was taking photos in the opposite direction, having had physiotherapy on my then bad shoulder (which is now my good shoulder) and to Freezing Hill, north of Bath. 

And in Barn Wood there were bluebells, which I didn't think I'd see in such numbers this spring. 

Our little patch doesn't have masses of bluebells, or ramsons or wood anemones in it. 

There was a But to this opportunity though. After three weeks of not straying more than a couple of miles from home, Purdown felt too big and exposed, with too many people. And I missed our suddenly traditional walk to the patch.
After only a week, I'd developed an emotional connection to a place I hadn't known beforehand. Must be something to do with this strangest of times. 
Otherwise, we've more or less abandoned the local playing fields and the park for the new place. The way we stumbled upon it makes it feel almost like a Prachettian Fairyland. 

One day we got up extra early and walked up at daybreak to watch the sunrise. 

It was an unforgettable moment ... though not so different a view from our bedroom window that we'll need to do it too often.

The rooks were a great addition, though. 

A brocade of frosted brambles

First light

In this Fairyland, the patch - ie the field with its oak and rookery; the wood at its foot, impassable but for one path; the tussocky Common belonging to the razed village of Charlton; and the edge of the abandoned airfield - is witch territory ... 
... and it's the bit we like best ...

Evening oak and Lady's Smock

An owl about to cause a ruckus in the rookery

... but the last few days we've been exploring the scarier bit, which is the golf course. In Prachettian terms, this is where the fairies themselves live, and sometimes I almost expect the Queen to arrive with her Lords and Ladies and her clipboard and green pen to tell us to git orf, git orf their land. (Or force us to eat a prawn cocktail vol-u-vent each, so we can never leave.) 

Most of the trees have been planted since the land became a golf course in 1909, and are there for their ability to grace the fairway.  

In the dusk of early morning or evening, there's something unheimlich about them. 

Hello, Ted!

The bigger pond

The smaller pond

And always always on the skyline, the superhospital that is Southmead, tended by silent ambulances flickering past.

There are other trees, though, that clearly date back to when the land was farmland. The city boundary passes through it, so part of it used to belong to Bristol City Council and part to the then much larger Gloucestershire County Council. 

An ash

Another ash

An oak

Clearly such old, wise trees are an anomaly in Fairyland. They are very definitely On Our Side.  Possibly even a Portal back to Reality, which seems to have vanished recently. 

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