Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Early one morning.....

.....I opened the curtains to find some visitors.....
At least they were grazing on the grass this time rather than the apple trees, some of which have suspicious bite marks and bare branches! They are pretty though aren't they so I had to forgive them. I've just started using my loom again as I got an annual subscription to Kelly Casanova's weaving school (I've been trying to get blogger to load the link but can't get it to work!) for my birthday need to improve my tension as I haven't quite mastered neat edges yet and of course I had a little helper......
It's such a relaxing pastime with a gentle rhythm and I hope I can master the basics properly so I can progress onto more exciting projects.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Another milestone reached

Yep, I've finally reached the grand old age of 65. Does that mean I'm a grown-up at last? Nah!!! We had planned to go for a nice visit to an Open Garden but as the weather was over 30 degrees we decided to save the trip for another day. A neighbour asked me if I was going to stop running now - heck no, I need to keep the arthritis at bay and I've still got more fund-raising to do and adventures to have!

Speaking of adventures, I went along to one of my favourite ultra marathons, the Weald Challenge last weekend. Just under 32 miles of unrelenting uphill/downhill and rutted tracks. The weather was hot, hot. hot but I didn't care and had a fab day out helping a lovely lady to acheive her first ultra marathon. I didn't take any photos en-route as we were keeping a close eye on the time so as not to miss the cut-off but we did have a photo taken at the finish:

I had some excellent comedy tan lines from wearing my compression socks!

I also got another of these trophies, my 3rd in fact, for being first on my age category.

At home I've been busy out in the garden whenever possible but had to stop planting my new border as the ground is rock hard and I can't get a spade or fork into it at the moment. We need a few days of rain to soften it a bit. In the meantime the yard looks like as if I'm starting a small garden centre with all the plants sitting waiting to go into the ground!

The wildlife continues to delight us with lots of new arrivals:

It's been a tough year for the ducks as there are too many Rooks and Crows around to steal their babies.
She brought them to show us, headed to the pond, came back later with 3, went away and came back with none. So sad.

Mummy Rook with baby in the wild garden

A young Squirrel

Meanwhile there's been lots of fighting between the male ducks who don't have a mate. They're really vicious!

Apologies for the poor photo but I managed to catch a photo of Mrs Mouse in my shed. I knew something had been eating my stores tulip bulbs but never saw anything until yesterday when she made an appearance when I was potting up some plants!

Around the garden there's so much to see:

The wild section of the back garden is full of wildflowers both in the orchard and the lower section and we were delighted to count an amazing 49 orchids as there was only 1 small group of 7 last year!

In the front garden there's just so much to see and it's teaming with insects:

The Shade Garden we created during lockdown has settled in nicely.

The Golden Oat grasa has florished this year and looks stunning in the sunlight.

The giant Cardoons are about to flower

I love how this pretty blue Nigella, aka 'Love in a mist', has seeded into the golden Oregano.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

A grand day out

Before I forget!

An ultra marathon up on the South Downs? Perfect weather conditions and not too many entrants? One to run the downs and walk the uphills? Chat with lovely people and soak up the amazing views, then take far too many photographs?

Yes please.

This was the perfect event for me as I'm still nursing an injury on my right knee; it behaves well whilst running/walking but complains a lot afterwards although it is improving now thank goodness. The event started at Steyning Grammar School and followed the South Downs Way trail to Clayton village hall and then return in reverse.

I knew it was going to be tough and on reflection I should have taken my walking poles for the steepest sections but I was just happy to be out in such a beautiful place. I chatted with lots of fellow runners and passers by and had a fabulous day with a nice surprise at the end. 

I'll let the photos do the talking:

You know it's not going to be an easy one when you see a sign like this just after the start!

The following photos were all taken on the return phase when I did more walking than running to help my knee, except for the downhill bits of course.

I love cows and these youngsters were really friendly and I got to stroke some of them

A welcome checkpoint ahead of a steep climb!

At the checkpoint I spotted this beautiful ram. Some locals told me he liked to have his head scratched and so I did! Look at those beautiful curly horns.

Oooh, a flat bit!

Heading towardss the windmills, known locally as Jack and Jill

I'm not sure if this is the Steyning Bowl

This photo gives a really good indication of the down/ups! I took the photo going down the hill which was actually harder than going up the other side due to my knee issue.

I know this section with the pylons well as it's part of several of the Downland marathons. There was a huge outcry when the electricity company put these pylons all the way through the valley but now they seem to have become just another feature of the landscape.

There were lots of poppies along the field margins and some of the cropped fields had a margin of wildflowers.

Swans along he River Adur - last time I ran across there, earlier this year, the water was over the riverbank!

Beautiful white cows with black noses and ears. Most unusual.

After that it was mostly downhill through woodland (with lots of trip potential!), across a farmyard, over a few fields and then back to base where I was amazed to get a trophy for being the first over 60 old biddy (I'm very soon to be 65 - where did the years go?!) 

All in all that was a perfect day out and I felt blessed to be able to enjoy our beautiful countryside.