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Bristol , United Kingdom
My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, will be published early in 2022 by Indigo Dreams. I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy. https://theleapingword.com

Saturday, 23 May 2020

TED Walks in the time of Coronavirus Pt 6 ... or I get locked down (but I get up again)

Actually, we haven't taken full advantage of the relaxation in the rules and gone to Berrow Beach, or my much-missed Dartmoor, or on an all-day road trip to the south coast. It just doesn't feel safe yet to me, and anyway, my car is overdue its MOT and service (though booked in). But Son the Younger, Ted the Dog, and I have been on a couple of walks along the Severn, and enjoyed the huge skies and the slightly misplaced sense of being (nearly) by the sea. 


The first walk was one Ted and I had done before, only this time we were starting our walk from Whale Wharf and heading for Oldbury Pill and the nuclear power station half a mile or so beyond it, rather than the other way around. 


It was so good to feel the breeze, and see and smell the river. And the cows! Lovely lovely cows. 


Some of the local sailors had taken advantage of the relaxation of the lockdown and taken their boats out. 


Spring came early this year, but conditions are harsher on the river and it was nice to see some whitethorn still in bloom on Oldbury Pill. 


And by the sailing club swathes of umbellifers. Instead of continuing to call everything cow parsley, I've embarked on a scratch course -  Know Your Umbellifers 101 - since our lockdown walks began,and can confidently identify this as hemlock ... 

... and this is hemlock water dropwort, from our second walk, starting at Shepperdine and walking down to the power station.


Forget, for a moment, Covid-19. What with deadly plants and nuclear power stations, quicksand and this, everything was always out to get us anyway. 


It was very very windy for our second walk so we cut it a lot shorter than planned. 


But it was good to take a deep breath before diving back into lockdown.


We also made a trip to Badock's Wood, which is local but not within comfortable walking distance from our home. And ooh it was lovely down in the little gorge, among the dark summer trees ...


... and the still just blossoming ramsons ... 


... though Ted was a bit put out at the River Trym's lack of water.

There was a sad thing, though, namely the deliberate damage done to the carvings, both in the wood and in the fields above it. 


Especially this carving which I liked so much, I had it in my author's photo on the back of my poetry collection, Breadcrumbs, to mark how important the wood was to me at the time I lived the poems.


Otherwise, we've been mostly going up over the golf course, sticking to the public footpaths to access Charlton Common and the meadow. 


Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to block every single desire path on the edge of the course with brushwood, and sometimes barbed wire.


There's also a few new instructions to follow. Presumably this is so that walkers exercising their right to walk on ancient public rights of way can see golf balls heading towards them and catch them before they get hit. 


We've also been walking up the Public Right of Way that hasn't been painted white. There's an arrow pointing to it in the little wood on the edge of the course, but no further indication of where it runs, unless you have a map. I have a map ... 


... and I'm not afraid to use it. It's a useful thing to have in your pocket to wave around in case of challenges. (A friend was told she had no right to walk across the course while she was actually standing on a painted line.) 

Though for now the most concerning thing has been the possibility of transfiguration and ascension to a higher astral plane.



With the whitethorn all but gone, we have instead elderflowers, cornflowers, hogweed and cow parsley, pot marigolds and viper's blugloss, vetch ... 


... plus a field full of pignut. 


The small dark wood of the mind is darker and more impenetrable than ever ... 


... but there are sunsets too ... 


... and plenty of ticks to pick up. Verily, some kind of heaven. 


























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