02 September 2014

home and away: berries, birds, sun, cloud


This is how it goes in our house at the weekend: "The weather forecast says sunny intervals. There's a bit of a breeze, but it's not from the north east so it won't be cold. Where shall we go?" Our options are the tedium of the A12, or the chanciness of the Blackwall Tunnel. The latter normally wins out. Schlepping across London to go westward is not even under consideration. So within the hour, sensibly shod, and with a bottle of water, a bag of bananas, a cardi and an ordnance survey map on the back seat, we turned off onto the road to the Isle of Grain. But much as I'm drawn to Egypt Bay and Yantlet Creek, not least for the romance of the names, the lure of berries and raptors wins out and we turn off towards Cooling and Northward Hill. I know there will be berries there and this year more berries than I have ever seen. Plenty for the birds, plenty for us, even if it means more work on top of all those courgettes. It's greed that drives me on and after picking away, wandering randomly from patch to patch, there is something of Lady Macbeth about my stained hands. Not a good look.


It was one of those perfectly English days - warm enough to go sleeveless, cloudy enough not to get hot. We sat in a hide and look out across the marshes watching a small group of godwits, climbed the hills towards the woods, stopped to look out across the Thames towards the shiny industrial sites at the river's edge and, in the distant haze, the skyscrapers of London.


We walked through the woods and saw an oak and ash intertwined, a perfect union. Out in the open again, still high up, we spotted a pair of marsh harriers high in the sky, then another and two more - five in the sky together, then a sparrowhawk sped across a little lower. Back on the marshland trail we passed a planting of sunflowers left to dry, smaller birds were singing, warblers perhaps, and there were scatterings of small puffballs on the paths, and on the edge of paths giant brown (unidentified) funghi.


Back on the road, we stopped in Rochester for a cup of tea and a scone, bought a workshirt in a charity shop waiting to close, briefly enjoyed the architectural charms of the high street. Nearly home, we  squeezed in a visit to the allotment. The sun was lower but warm and we cropped sweetcorn, a late rush of runner beans, some half ripe tomatoes to add to the pile, a couple of cucumbers, and mercifully few courgettes.  Supper was sorted.

Officially it was the last day of summer. Unofficially it was a most  perfect day and I need to remember it.


10 comments:

Marigold Jam said...

Days like this are wonderful for the mental photo album to be brought out on wet grey days later to be remembered and relived arent they? Looks lovely and to think you don't have to go too far to find all this.

colleen said...

Somehow writing about the day imprints it much more strongly on the memory, and seeing the photos can remind you what you felt when they were taken too. I only wish I'd been a bit more disciplined this summer and recorded more.

annjennyg said...

A perfect day indeed.We have definitely had some beautiful late summer weather,

Jane Housham said...

Wonderful day, wonderful sunflower photo. I recently had my first ever hour in Rochester and loved it. I want to go back soon.

Liz said...

Love this post. I think this is why I blog - taking time to focus on, and capture in words and pictures, those simple details that get lost amongst all the big stuff.

Annie Cholewa (aka knitsofacto) said...

It sounds like a wonderful end of summer day. And you've reminded me that I need to pick some more blackberries while they last.

rachel said...

Perfect. And with the added blessing of no more courgettes.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Definitely a perfect day . Rochester AND berries !

( I'm obviously the only person in the northern hemisphere who wishes she had a surplus of courgettes )

Knit Nurse said...

185Sounds like a lovely day out. One of the few things I'm going to miss having got rid of my car recently is the spontaneity of heading out to these wild and deserted corners of north Kent.

Blue Sky And Tea said...

Missing you and hoping that life is too busy, in a happy way, for blogging. wishing you all the best, Denise