Saturday, 27 September 2008

Larkrise to Woodperry

Our house is about two and a half miles from the nearest bus-stop. Most days I catch a lift with Matt to Barton, and get the bus into town from there. But last night I decided to walk home.

Once you get through the somewhat unattractive confines of Barton (all sweet wrappers and kids who look like they've been eating chips in the dark are their lives) the walk is beautiful. In a small valley there was a meadow filled with ox-eye daisies and soft grasses stilled by evening light. Then up the hill past the Crematorium and out into open country between wheat-fields. There were dog-roses in flower in the hedges, and elder, and in the verges I found several varieties of purple vetches, blue knapweeds, wild carrot, more ox-eye daisies, and a broomrape. The later (unfortunate name) is a parasitic species with no leaves which looks a bit like a brown orchid. (It must be one of the few plants to have brown flowers.) This one was parasitising the roots of the knapweed, I think, looking cheerfully incongrouous amongst all that green.

The verges were white-starred with bladder-campion and clambering, delicate stitchwort. In the shadows of the little wood that you pass through, there was white sweet dame's violet growing, presumably a garden escape. And everywhere I could hear larks burbling, unseen. When I came to the top of Woodperry Hill, I ducked into the field that leads down to our garden, and kicked up the drying hay as I walked down to the house. In the blue-green distance I could see the ridge of the Chilterns and the chequering of woods and fields all the way to the horizon.

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