Walking for talk’s sake…

There’s more too it than you think and less than you might sometimes expect. That’s the sort of nonsense I talk after a good walk, that’s ended at a pub. Anyhow, my chum Robin, chose to chauffeur me out to a place I’ve never been before, the Cheltenham Canal. Apart from the pleasure of the drive in his spectacular vehicle with buttons for everything, we had a brilliant sunny day and a good walk to look forward to.

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Robinus Burtonicus in it’s natural habitat.


 

It’s a fact that if one earns one’s living in a career where most of the time you sit behind a desk and listen to nothing much more than Radio 4 and your own record collection for company then there is a tendency when let out to talk too much. I was once described as ‘garrulous’ in a school report and asked the teacher what it meant, he simply said ” You talk too much Davies”. He was a religious education teacher and I’d have thought he could have been a tad more Christian about it. I was not particularly wounded by his comment, as it was plainly true. The Games master’s report for PE was something that did hurt when describing my athletic prowess in gymnastics: “Tries hard, fails miserably”. Anyway, as someone who talks too much I’m typically going off the point.

Suffice to say that Robin and I had chosen a golden day to visit the area. In the distance the Malvern Hills were as clear as crystal, May Hill in the other direction looked closer than it was from us, and the light on the fields and water was simply golden.

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There be yonder Malvern Hills


Sodden underfoot from a lot of rain that we’ve had recently, it was a great day to get out and chatter. I was able to recycle stories of hearing a sedge warbler on a similar visit further down the Severn Estuary and mistaking it for an HP Deskjet Printer re-charging with expensive ink, whilst Robin patiently listened to me like a kindly doctor.
Is that a Sedge Warbler or what?

There was much dancing from clump to clump of slightly dryer grasses to reach bird hides to view loads of ducks and other such birds peacefully going about their business.Trouser leg bottoms were beginning to act like a fairly sodden wick and rising damp was likely to become and issue.

The Fulcrum of the walk was the pub at Wainlodes, which Robin, who’s something of an expert on local folk history, gave me the true meaning of the name, whilst I just thought that Wayne Loades was a fork lift truck driver. I’ve had a bit of a thing about unusual names recently.

It was the Red Lion at Waindlodes that was our target and well worth the walk. The food was excellent and the service great too. If you feel like a good walk and some great food and beer, I’d certainly recommend this place The Red Lion

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Wayne?


 

Striding across fields we came across this fine set of potential cricket bats. How do they make willow into such things? Who thought that might be a good idea in the first place.

willows

Perhaps being cricketers they were expecting rain and knew that willow was a good plant for damp areas. I’m sure if there’s a folk song about it Robin will either find out about it or already know it and belt it out right there and then. He is, after all, a quarter of the Gloucester Diamonds folk ensemble and is naturally good at belting out a song. He sang a couple on the way back in the motor and it was quite unlike a computer printer charging up, or even a Sedge Warbler. Good day, good talk, good food, try it yourself when we next get a sunny day.

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Is that a Sedge Warbler or what?

I’ve had a day out at Slimbridge with Betty, my step mother in law, and we are both bird watchers but not twitchers. Slimbridge is on the banks of the River Severn and is a magnificent spot. The Wildlife and Wetlands Trust has it’s place there and the main part of their facility is a rest home for all kinds of wetlands birds. More ducks and geese than you would ever normally see. It has a bit of the look of a theme park in the main area, which is careful fenced, in the main to keep out foxes who would have a field day in there.

Just outside this area is a walk down to the banks of the Severn, a large area to walk through mainly with reeds and grasses and this is naturally a good place to spot the elusive Reed Warbler or it’s brother Sedge. It’s not been my pleasure to spot these before although I’m told by Betty that they are not that uncommon. They are shy little beasts and although we did get a fleeting glance, they were too busy singing at below eye level in the reeds.

I was racking my brains to recall when I had last heard that song, then it came to me. “Are you sure it’s a Reed Warbler Betty”, I asked. “It could be a Sedge she said with utter confidence”. “I’m sorry to disappoint you”, I said, “I think it’s an HP Deskjet Printer which is just getting ready to print. I had one on my desk just this morning”.

Check it out, they sound just the same.

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