Sunday, 7 March 2010

Sunday Escape

It has been a day of surprises. Raymond wakes me with a hot mug of tea. "How are you feeling?" he asks and without thinking (still bleary eyed from sleep) I answer, "not brilliant."

"Well, that's a shame," he says, "because I thought you would like to go out for the day."


"I'll take you out to lunch."

Another pause.

Now these spur-of-the-moment happenings do not occur that often. We are always busy with work or one project or another, it's too costly, and R. hates going out at the weekend. Something must be on his mind. I ponder as to what my response should be: I don't want to hurt his feelings; I don't feel well; I had hoped to spend the day continuing my fabric keepsake (as already detailed in my journaling blog). It doesn't take long to ascertain why my dear husband is feeling edgy. A car has been parked on the pavement right outside the house all night. R. feels besieged. This is happening more and more frequently; the feeling of being ambushed in our own home by thoughtless people.

My mind reached back to a time many years ago when I came home from shopping on a Saturday afternoon. It was mid-summer and very hot; I was looking forward to weeding the garden and cooking R. a steak barbecue with home-grown salad. No chance: "Get your things together, and the tent, we're going away."

"Why?" I asked, bewildered.

"Because those d--n moto-X motorbikes have been churning up and down the hillside all afternoon and are driving me mad." - or words to that effect. Oh!

"Where to?" I ask.

"As far away as possible. Cornwall."

"CORNWALL !!!" (We live right in the middle of England.)

I throw together bedding and a little food, overnight things and find the tent. We do not drive down, but fly to Lands End, to a small grass airfield overlooking the sea. We camp next to the aircraft, eat a poor meal and I do my best not to complain. I miss the steak supper, but had a wonderful long walk the next morning down a valley alongside a bubbling stream to a secret cove where I collected pebbles and sat on the rocky beach and wrote quiet thoughts. Writing always calms me.

So, today, I knew that it would be sensible to humour R, even though I would rather have stayed in bed! "No rush," he said, "we'll make a gentle day of it; you choose the route, bring your camera." He wanted to check his new lens anyway (another motive for going out ?? - it is, after all, the big annual camera exhibition tomorrow in Birmingham!) - I am putting thoughts into his mind which is such a silly thing to do; by now I just knew he wanted a break and thought it would do me good, too. I grab my 'journal spilling' notebook and my neocolor crayons. Dear R. even said he didn't mind if I scribbled all the way. I didn't. I was too busy map-reading him cross-country down single-track country lanes to keep away from main roads which he detests; but we paused frequently at suitable stopping points. R took photos, I journal-spilled (see my other blog later in the week when I have scanned what I did).

And so the lovely day unfolded.

Lunch at the 'Corner Cupboard' in Winchcombe was sublime and we walked that off on the highest part of the Cotswolds, about 1,000ft amsl; just long enough to keep from freezing - it is still so bitterly cold;

on Cleeve Common, and I am so cold, I disappear amongst the gorse bushes and gather golden gorse flowers to stay out of the south-easterly wind - they usually smell of coconut and I thought I would add them to my pot-pourri dish once I have dried them

I've had enough and stroll back to the car parked way below; everywhere still looks so wintery and it's cold, cold, cold

Much later, Ray takes this photo for me of a solitary rookery in an oak tree - I spotted it on the way out this morning, but the sun was in the wrong direction then for a photograph, so R. took it for me on the way back. I finish my rookery poem.

We make our way home via a circuitous route to sit by the fire and recount our Sunday escape. A gentle day indeed and so close to home - no rushing to the farthest point west this time to 'get away'.


  1. It sounds like a wonderful day! I am glad that you took the time to listen to R. and go out into nature. If I wasn't nursing a chest cold I would have done the it was I did the laundry and cleaned the bathroom. Not as fun!

  2. Sounds like you had a wonderful afternoon out. I hope you are feeling better for it?

    Gorse is amazing wood, I always like to collect some when in Wales and make mobiles from them xJ

  3. A great, wintery trip you've taken us (me) on. My own dear Mister wants to go to the woods today, so I guess I will cheer up (been teary, looking at old photos and wishing to go back in time once more and make different choices) and follow/accompany him. I'll bring my camera. I love your thoughts about the winter branches catching at your heart. I despair when I see the leaves fall in autumn, but I should remember we then get to see the glorious "bones" of the trees! Thank you for reminding me.

  4. What a lovely day you guys had.. I love day trips.. we use to do that a lot when the kiddies still lived at home.

  5. Dear Ann,

    What a lovely thing to wake up to, even when not fully awake.

    Your verse is wonderful and I like 'paintbox autumn'.

    The pictures of tress make me wish i could have walked in your shadow and experience their beauty first hand.

    Wishing you all the very best,

  6. My husband has always been one for sudden outings, whether near or far, while I am apt to drag my feel and over plan. Often the best trips have been spur of the moment. However, I am often cold outside when he is quite comfortable, so I have learned:
    a: to take way more clothing than seems sensible;
    b: try not to get too far from the car or truck so that I can retreat there with a book if exploring gets too strenuous.
    I shall have to think about rooks--we have crows and ravens which I think are somewhat related.
    The word "rookery" is one to conjur with.

  7. What a lovely serendipitous day out. Agree with you about the coldness though - a nasty wind. Glad you managed to do some writing as well as taking a few photos.

  8. Two really wonderful poems! It dismays me to think of the car parked in front of your house and the motorbikes. Are both illegal? If it is your land, can you put up 'no trespassing' signs? I think you look beautiful, though cold! Are rooks much like crows? Ours have just returned, and are coming to the bird feeders. Just two so far. Last summer we were flattered that they nested on our land and we saw the family out and about on the lawn. When we saw the babies, they were as big as their parents but they still had that awkwardness so we knew they were the young ones. They would also beg for food from the parents.

  9. On a whim, I did not go to Cornwall, but visited blogland....and how inspiring to visit your blog,you make me want to begin again ....and I will!!

  10. how wonderful to break the routine and take a mini-vacation, luncheon out and many poems and photos arising from the adventure.

  11. What a gorgeous and memorable day! I think I will do something like that this week!

  12. Thanks so much for stopping my blog, Ann and I'm so pleased to have discovered yours. Your writing and photographs have thoroughly drawn me in. I hope your grandchildren enjoy the Rocky's a dream recipe...easy AND delicious!
    I thought you may enjoy my aunts blog too She's a big environmentalist and her husband is a beautiful photographer. Hope you like it!

  13. Today, I have seen your name three times and so I popped over to say hello :o)

    Have a lovely weekend

  14. I loved this post, the story of R, I can just imagine it...I must pop over and look at your journal, I will also send you the pattern for my jumper although you will have to reduce it - it will swamp you...its a great way of using up wool...I want to know all about it when you begin...lots of love....H and family

  15. Lovely poems, beautiful photos, and what a gorgeous day you had! But it is still very cold here too, no let up from the north/east wind yet!

  16. A great escape, don't we all need to do just that?

  17. Oh what a lovely day afterall! The photographs are beautiful and your poetry is just delightful. Thank you for sharing about your adventure. :)