There's still a bit of the ridge of edgelands I've come to call Elsewhere (because that's what it's been for us during the pandemic, and a godsend too) that I hadn't been to, and that's the little park at the south-western end of it, beyond the golf course and not accessible from it.
I'm a bit ashamed of this oversight, given how close to it I've lived almost all my life, as it lies directly above Pen Park Hole, which is, apparently, the UK's only known hydrothermal cave
system and home to the only subterranean
colony of the shrimp, Niphargus kochianus. It's just that there's not a lot to see unless you are a speleologist and have permission to descend into its depths ...
... which Cwtch and I aren't and haven't. Still, we've seen what we can of it now, and there are always photos of it online, as well as the traditionally far-fetched stories attached to such places to read.
Otherwise, we've been out and about in the usual spots. I'd convinced myself over time that the reason we didn't go over the golf course and around the field and through the woods and along the common much last winter was first, on account of not having a dog because our old collie, Ted, had died, and then, having a new puppy - the aforementioned Cwtch - who was too young to go out much for a while, and then, being a bit prim, decided she'd rather stay on the settee than venture anywhere in anything less than the balmiest weather. (And yes, it did take a while to get her housetrained.)
It wasn't just her, though. I'd forgotten, as I do every summer, how muddy footpaths get, and how difficult it can be to negotiate them through narrow gaps, gates and thick woodland. How grey and dispiriting December and January can be. How there's less to see and hear and smell.
Nevertheless, we've been getting out anyway, admittedly not quite as regularly as in spring and summer, but as often as not, and especially when a bright day with blue skies lifts our spirits.