A Cure for Sadness

30/08/2019 – There is no better cure for the feeling of despair and hopelessness that often settles over me, than a walk in the countryside.

I woke this morning feeling miserable, fed up and strangely sad. I could not think of any one reason but luckily I was on holiday and though spending it at home it meant that I could get out into the countryside.

Once the dogs had had their breakfast I rounded them up, (Sorry Lilly the Collie) got them into the car and drove up to Waterswallows for our usual morning walk.

One of the advantages of this walk is I can let the dogs off the leads for over half of it. For Lilly this means carrying her frisbee and dropping at strategic points for me to throw for her, while for Gabby its a chance to graze the grass and sniff the smells and scents.

The walk starts in a lay-by opposite a couple off cottages called Lockiron, and a walk through Waterswallows quarry, an old basalt working with a deep and sinister looking lake. The site has reverted too an overgrown haven for flora and fauna, though the lake also attracts tomb-stoners and sunbathers who leave a trail of rubbish behind.

The overburden tip has re-wilded and though the flowers have almost faded it is a beautiful place of different grasses, wild flowers going to seed, scrub and hawthorn trees. It is here that the Lapwings nest and raise their chicks for the first couple of weeks.

Today I was really interested in the green lane that runs at right angles to Green Lane.

Un-grazed and as far as I know it has not had pesticides and chemicals applied to it is on a sunny day humming and buzzing with insects and

Today there was a white tailed bumble bee, bombus terrestis, feeding on the field scabious that is very common at the moment down the little lane. A bit further on there was wall brown, lasiommata megera, wings open enjoying a little warmth from the basalt wall.

The dogs trotted on, and it gladdened my heart to see them happy. Lilly clutching her frisbee in her mouth and the Gabster cheerfully chewing some fresh tasty grass.

At the end of the lane there is a small field, dominated by two large trees that have grown close to each other. One is a common beech and the other a sycamore. A charm of goldfinches settled on the beech briefly before flying off in search of something.

Why a charm of goldfinches? Apparently other collective nouns for them are a drum, a troubling, (I think you can also have a trembling of finches) and a chirm, which may be a corruption of charm.

A lone buzzard flew over and settled in the shelter belt briefly before heading off towards Woodale.

I noticed that the two trees were also attracting over twenty swallows. The swallows became agitated and I saw the distinctive shape of a peregrine falcon flying amongst them before heading off to seek easier and tastier prey.

As we turned to go back a few of the sheep decided at that moment to change fields and cross the path. When they saw the dogs, that were now on leads for theirs and the safety of the sheep, the sheep panicked and headed back to their original field.

A grey wagtail bobbed along the wall, and we headed back to the car and toast and coffee.

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