Monday 24 February 2014

All Too Much

It was all too much!
Not for me - I was enjoying every sun-drenched-Saturday-morning-moment of it.
No, sadly it was too much for my trusty photographer's assistant. Approaching thirteen years old now, she has noticeably slowed down, and particularly so since October when she started to tell us when she had had enough, rather than us calling time on the walks.
It is sad, as having such a wonderful companion for both indoors and particularly outdoors, has provided opportunities to explore our locality in depth and to develop a love and appreciation of the nature and wildlife in special places.

No more so than this particular corner of North Essex, where the gentle undulations of this cosy countryside meet the flat fens of Cambridgeshire. From this part of the Icknield Way, it is possible to see as far as Ely on a clear day.
Despite the sunshine on Saturday, the light was only good enough to pick out features in Cambridge and thereabouts, with the dishes of the Mullard Observatory highlighted in the distant landscape.

Many hours have I sat on the edges of the fields, surrounded by deer-filled woodland, and many times have I blogged and more recently, tweeted about the seasonal changes which I observe here. For me the place and the natural progress of the year are always magical.
As I sat quietly on Saturday, I listened to a whole range of bird song - blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits - I even thought I heard the 'little bit of bread' of the yellow hammer but the 'no cheese' seemed to be absent. Woodpeckers drummed and crows cawed - this wonderful symphony of birdsong broken only by the unwelcome roar of the big metal birds moving in and out of the nearby busy airport.
These roaring interludes though, were the perfect time to look more closely around me, spotting the first tiny flashes of glorious blue beaming up from the speedwell.

Despite the sunshine, it was still very much a 'wellie-walk' with mutt up to her usual bubble-patting in the puddles, the swirling patterns of disturbed silt highlighted in her wake.

Upon reaching the old farm bath houses (and boy, could mutt have done with the use of one by this stage!), the sun had reached its apex. The carpet of ageing snowdrops still adding a glorious intensity to the light around the derelict buildings. Rare of late, the shafts of sunlight reached in through the broken windows, the frames casting crisp dark shadows on the walls.

On the window sill, the relics of a once useful facility had morphed into a snail-like reminder of the change of pace in this wooded corner of the farm yard.

Who knows what tales the peeling walls could tell if only they could speak?

And as for my favourite resident farm yard ladies, well, a hello had to be made to them too before we set off on the return leg of this gentle three-hour stroll in the sunny countryside, arriving back home just in time for our lunch.

Mutt took to her bed as soon as we arrived home, and slept for hours. Not unusual, except when she did emerge from her sunny sleeping place, it was clear that her front right leg was giving her trouble again. I say again, as a similar action was made after a long walk during our visit to the Cotswolds a couple of weeks back. On that occasion though, she was up and bouncy by the next morning. Sadly, we are now into day three of hop-along-mutt and clearly recovery is going to take much longer now that she is mature in years - and at nearly 90 years old in our terms, it is hardly surprising!

I would like my assistant to be able to come along with me for a good while yet as we have shared many happy hours together, exploring the the nooks and crannies of this, very definitely not TOWIE corner of the county.
For now though it will have to be just a small amble around the block for the fresh air, and it certainly isn't too much for us to give her lots of rest and TLC.

Post script 28.2.14

After a few days of her making no fuss, we eventually got to the reason for mutts lameness...

This thorn had gone straight in, leaving no obvious mark.
Despite checking her pads on several occasions it was only the swelling and weeping that eventually alerted us to the problem.

Fingers crossed now that she is on the mend.


  1. I enjoyed every word of that Blog Celia and I do hope that Mutt gets better soon and that you are able to enjoy having her along for many years to come.

    1. Thanks Addo.
      Im sure she will bounce around again but now we have to understand that she will start to have proprtionately more off-days. :-(

  2. I'm sure she will Celia and yes you're right we (you) will have to remember that 'proportionately' she will have more off-days than good.

  3. Beautifully written and photographed - the reader has been on the whole walk with you. I can almost breathe the air.

    1. Thank you. We really could do with a few more days like this after such a miserable, wet winter!

  4. Lovely photos of one of my favourite walks.

    1. We are so fortunate to have this lovely little escape on our doorstep

  5. Lovely blog. It's like reliving my lovely hours with Enid Blyton's less known books describing the natural world around us. Still yearning for an Enid Blyton Book of the Year I lost many years ago. Hope you know what I am on about. ....

    1. Thanks Sharon
      I love nothing more than being out and enjoying the nature and life around me.
      Hope you manage to find your book!


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