thesticks

"It's cold. I'm putting on a fleece."

"I'm taking my gloves. And we can take the camera in case there is a colourful sunset. But it isn't such good light as yesterday."

We set off down the lane. The sun is still clearly visible above the horizon but the sky is turning red and the clouds are streaked with pink and orange.

"Let's go up the hill first. If we go all the way round the sun will be down before we get to the top."

 

We climb over the metal bar and balance on the lose, wobbling stone which forms the stile at the bottom of the hill. We step onto soft, cut up ground, mainly mud with deep hoof prints. The bullocks must have been down here, probably to the stream to drink.

As we climb the hill the hoof prints are clear. There are long, deep skid marks in the mud. 

"Heavy animals those bullocks" says the Webmaster and we imagine one of the bullocks slipping and sliding down the steep, muddy path.

We make our way up, as the slope becomes less steep we stop to look across to the setting sun.

"It's too hazey for a good photo" decides the Webmaster, but we try nevertheless. "Can't tell from the preview how good they are. Probably not brilliant."

We walk up through the field. We didn't see the bullocks but they may have been down nearer to the road. We reach the track and Webmaster makes as though to follow it.

"No, let's go to the top. Then we can go down Tongue Lane and across the path to the left. I think it comes out by the riding school. We've never been that way."

The Webmaster's phone bongs. He stops to look at it. A message from B&Q informing him he can collect his order tomorrow.

"What have you ordered?"

"A new kitchen."

"Spending my inheritance?" 

"I'm going to meet my new tenant on Thursday. I spoke to her on the phone. She's very chatty and friendly and she's about to have a baby. In the next three weeks."

"So does she want a nursery fitting out?"

"We haven't got any nursery equipment."

"I think we might have unless we gave it to your sister. It's worth looking. We won't use it so you may as well offer it to her if she wants it."

We reach the top of the hill, walking towards the car park. There is one parked car.  The sun has is just disappearing below the horizon starting the count down to dusk.

"They've got about half an hour to move their car."

As we leave the car park we head right, turing west towards the sunset. The powder blue sky is still brilliantly lit with red and orange light silhouetting the forground but it is growing noticably darker minute by minute.

"We'll get stuck in the dark in a muddy field and end up eaten by cows" predicted the Webmaster.

"Cows are herbivores they won't eat you."

"They have been known to kill people."

"Maybe, but not eat them."

"There's a first time for everything, revenge for calling them Burgers."

"Who called them Burgers?"

We turn down the lane which was recently repaired and which then needed repairs to the repairs after the flash flood two weeks ago. The path we are planning to take is on the left about 300m down but after two hundred meters the Webmaster stops.

"That's bad. Dangerous. It could take a car out." He points to where the edge of the road should be. It has fallen away and there is a rough drop of 25 to 30 cm into a gully about 5 metres long. There are also two large rocks in the gulley. The lane is narrow and if two cars tried to pass here in the dark, one could be seriously damaged if its wheels went off the edge.

"Do you think this is the result of the rain and they didn't mend it?"

"I think we need to report it to the council. Have you got the pothole app on your phone."

We take pictures of the damaged road. The Webmaster stands with one foot in the gully in an attempt to provide scale. He tries to make a report using the pothole app but it fails to open. 

"We will have to try via their website when we get back."

We continue down the lane. We pass another stretch of road where the edge has fallen away before we reach the steps to the stile and the path past the allotments and across the fields to the village.

"Exciting. I've never been along this path before."

The path is initially easy to follow but, as usual, the Webmaster anticipates problems. We squeeze through a stone stile into a field in which horses are grazing and clumps of gorse bushes make ideal cover for rabbits. The path is less distinct. We keep to the lower edge of the field, walking past the riding school yard and towards the lane up into the village.

"I'm not convinced this is the path, it might go up there and come out on the old lane" he says, pointing to where a horse is grazing at the top of the field near to a row of cottages, but we continue as we were.

"I think it comes out on the lane just before the riding school gate."

"I can't see a way out." But we continue as before.

There is a gate out of the field. It leads down a set of stone steps to the lane, just in front of the riding school gate. We turn up the lane heading towards the village. After a hundred metres the track we took yesterday up from the feeder joins in from the right.

There is a keep fit class taking place in the village hall. Through the windows we can see ladies of various shapes and sizes concentrating on their exercises. It looks like hard work. Another couple with a dog emerge from a lane joining in from the left. We recognise them and stop for a brief chat before we continue up the lane back to the hill and they take a side lane.

"Shall we go back over the hill?"

"No. Let's stick to the road." There is still a faint glow of red in the sky, which is now nearly dark. We switch on our torches, more to be seen by than to see with, just in case a car comes.

"I think my choice of clothing for the conditions tonight was just about perfect" announces the Webmaster.

He was right. There is indeed a first time for everything.