Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Back to walking again

Yesterday I deemed that the pollen levels had fallen sufficiently for me to begin walking again.  Most of the hay/haylage has been cut round here and grasses gone to seed.  So I set out along by the river, soon regretting that I had a thin 3/4 sleeved top on and not the flimsiest of t-shirts.  Here is Common Cow-wheat which grows prolifically on the riverside bank.

The river is low at present, after the long dry spell.  The clearing of a tree etc is proof that our neighbours finally have electricity in their house, after relying on a generator for 30 years or more now.  I imagine life will be much easier for them now, especially come winter.

You can barely see that there was once a wee cottage here, it is so overwhelmed by moss and undergrowth.

Where the road meets the bank and verge, Creeping Jenny tumbles down.  Its other common names include Moneywort and Herb Tuppence (love that one).  This plant contains a number of Phenolic acids, and was used in the past for healing wounds.  Some herbalists use it for treating gout.

Now I am feeling better and my body is responding well to the change of medication, I am giving it a few challenges again.  This is a long steep hill, and although I knew I would be stopping a few times climbing it, I have to say it was my legs stopping me rather than my breathing, although obviously that was challenged too.

Looking up the valley towards Llanfynydd.  I think that's Pantglas Home Farm top right.

One of the spectacular Copper Beeches planted along our valley.

Looking across the Towy Valley with Grongar Hill top right.  The local poet John Dyer, who was born just up the road in Llanfynydd around the turn of the 1600s, his father being a very successful solicitor in the village.  A growing family (6 children) called for a larger dwelling and the Dyers moved to Aberglasney which is about 5 miles away by road and now a garden open to the public (I'm going there on Thursday morning in fact).  After his father's death in 1720, Primogeniture passed the Dyer estate and holdings to his brother Robert and John was not even mentioned in the will.  Perhaps his father recognized that the dreamy impractical poet and artist was never going to make a successful career as a solicitor.  Indeed, he travelled to Italy and spent 18 happy months there before returning to Aberglasney, where his estrangment from his brother sent him onwards to London.  He ultimately became an Anglican Deacon and the last years of his life were spent in Lincolnshire churches and he died in 1757 of a consumptive disorder.  Not too surprisingly, for Edward Thomas knew and loved this area so well, Thomas made a collection of Dyers' poems which were published in 1903.

Unfortunately the click of my camera upset the mares and foals and they were soon up and cantering across the field.

These brood mares are from the same stud where we bought our palomino Section A Merlin when we first arrived in Wales.  Gosh, he'd be 26 now . . .

Visiting mares at the TB stud next door.

Someone was keen to make friends.  She was such a poppet and it was lovely to have horsey cuddles again.

Rest Harrow on a bank top.  Normally you see this growing close to the coast and denoting poor soil.

A loop of the river much closer to the A40 end of the lane.

Meadowsweet ("Queen of the Meadow") and a tangle of brambles, nettles and goosegrass grow above the ditch at a field-margin.  The leaves of the Meadowsweet have an almond scent and it was once a strewing herb in Medieval halls.  A Modern Herbal says that it was one of 50 ingredients in a drink known as "Save" and mentioned in Chaucer's Knights Tale and was known as Medwort or Meadwort in the 14th Century, and its flowers used in wine and beer and I have more than a strong suspicion that it was the main constituant of Mead, beloved of the ancient heroes and drunk at Yeavering and other such halls before battle was undertaken (can you imagine the hangovers they must have had?!)  Traces of Meadowsweet pollen have also been found in the Beaker Folk Beakers which accompanied their burials.

Lastly, a very large caterpillar which was dawdling at the laneside near the river.  I put him back amongst the grass.  Anyone recognize him?


  1. It's so interesting to see all the different wildflowers that we don't have in this part of the country.

  2. Lovely photos today.
    My favorite if of course the wonderful photos of the horse making friends.
    and possible the the river that has water in it. Our rivers only have water in the winter and summer monsoons. (if we have them) All our water is underground in the aquifers.

    cheers, parsnip

  3. parsnip - gosh, only underground water in the summer. I would find that strange, though in a loooooooong hot summer our rivers get very low and streams dry up. That doesn't happen very often though. Glad you liked the mare. She was a poppet.

    Smallholder - I'd love to know what's growing along your lanes now, for a comparison.

  4. So glad that your breathing is improving BB. You have taken some lovely photographs - love that caterpillar.

  5. As to what is growing along our Lane - the cow parsley and the meadow sweet are finished on our Lane although there is still plenty of meadow sweet in other areas round us. Pink campion is still out everywhere but that is about all - there is always a distinct feeling that Autumn is only just around the corner when July arrives here in North Yorkshire.

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  7. Love all the wild flowers. Meadowsweet is blooming here too- its smells wonderful :-)

  8. Love the horsey pics and the wildflowers

  9. Pat - I spoke too soon about the improvement in my breathing, as I had to take my inhaler early (4.30 a.m.) but as they'd cut for hay/haylage in several fields I passed yesterday afternoon on my walk, I shall put it down to that. I think the exercise outweighs the downside at the moment. They have cut the lanes round here (scalped them more like) so a lot of the wild flowers have been taken out.

    Cait - glad you enjoyed them. I miss horses and it was lovely to make a fuss of the bay mare.

    CT - Meadowsweet is so pretty with its froth of flowers.

  10. Lovely to see you out and about again but sorry about the 4.30am inhaler incident! I ahve a nasty cold so I can't really tell what is hay fever and what the snivelling snot bag that I am currently. Do you find it makes you irritable? The Magpies are driving me absolutely mad at the moment and I'm sure I don't usually find them this annoying.

    I absolutely love that picture of the foal through the leaves - beautiful.

  11. Em - I think I know what caused it now - and it has done so before - and it's a high quality Strawberry and Rhubarb syrup (as in squash). I have mine weakish and let down with sparkling mineral water and each time I have had it I have noticed a reaction. Which means I have to chuck the rest away and at £3 a bottle, that's annoying. Having a broken night's sleep makes me ratty and/or weepy, and several nights like that and you don't want to be under the same roof as me!

  12. The foal through the leaves is my favourite photo too.

    BB - it is so good to know that you are well and out walking again. Such beautiful countryside you have and so many different wild flowers to ours.

    Interesting to learn about the poet John Dyer.

  13. DW - I found it interesting about Dyer too and have of course added ET's book on Dyer to my wish list . . . There are still plenty of Dyers in the area, but it is a case of how are the mighty fallen. I am enjoying my walking and am off to Burry Port for a coastal walk with a friend this afternoon.

  14. What a beautiful walk and some lovely photos. I love the one of the Meadowsweet at the end of the post. Its in flower round here too :)

    It was very interesting reading about John Dyer - yet another book to look into and add to my wish list :)