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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm 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.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

In which Cwtch the Collie gets her paws wet

Since the school I work in relocated over the summer, it's felt strange not to head for the part of Bristol I worked in for 24 years. I have been back a couple of times, though - or at least, to the unnamed road the school was on, as it's a good place to park for a walk in Badock's Wood. 

The main reason for visiting Badock's Wood, apart from enjoying a change of scene, is to convince Cwtch the Collie it's quite safe, actually, for her to get her paws wet, in this case in the River Trym. This is something I've been trying to do for some time, ever since she was a pup and learnt, abruptly, that once ice has melted, water doesn't hold you up. I think it's fair to say that so far, my efforts haven't met with much success.

Now it's autumn and the Trym's fuller, I've started wearing wellies, so I can get into the water myself and show Cwtch it's fine and even fun. 

Our first visit, in October, she needed a lot of persuasion even to get a claw wet ... 

... but on our second visit, three weeks later, she ran on ahead to the little beach where it's easy for the less than nimble to scramble down to the water's edge and waited for me to join her, for all the world as if she'd decided to enjoy this game, and as I crossed from side to side over the stream, she followed me. 

Gotta love the ostentatious shake at the end, as if she's just swum the Channel.

She still likes the bridge best, though.

As well as Cwtch's progress, I've been well placed to watch the progression of autumn, from green mostly ...  

... to mostly gold and copper.

spindle berries

Down in the little wooded gorge the Corvid Wars are in full flow ... 

... and there's an array of fungi.  

I've made some tentative identifications: brittle cinder, perhaps, and sulphur tuft; lumpy bracket fungus; turkey tail; candelsnuff fungus, and along the bottom row, ooh ooh ooh my favourite jelly ears. 

Unlike where we usually walk, there are lots of beech trees in Badock's Wood, and it's a tonic to see their lovely colours as the leaves turn ...

... alongside the occasional ash tree ... 

... and equally spectacular oaks. 

I even saw some holes belonging to bank voles in the river banks, though their inhabitants were most likely steering clear of Cwtch. Standing about in shallow rivers can give you a whole new perspective on the familiar. 

'All right, all right, I'll sit on it but I'm not going to smile!' 

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