Thursday, 3 October 2013

Autumn lays her golden hand on field and wood.

At the top of the Napton flight the old warehouse at Marston Doles is in use again, although as what I know not.

But parked outside

was a rather splendid example of automotive engineering.
After descending the locks we spent yesterday moored at Napton, using the time to gather in a fine harvest of

these handsomely coloured little chaps. Prunus spinosa, or the sloe to you and me. When you set off to collect them two things are vital:

a walking stick with a hooked handle to pull down the branches and an assistant with a sense of humour to pick the sloes while you hang on to said branches and prevent them zooming back up and out of reach. That is why Jill is leaning on the stick, the old dear is not so decrepit that she needs a stick to get around. Tomorrow it's off to buy the gin and get it onto the sloes.

Season of mists and mellow frightfulness fruitfulness,
not to forget incipient rheumatism.
The signs of autumn are all around, the hedgerow bushes laden with their fruits.


the dog rose heavy with hips.

Blackberries and elder berries are reaching the end of their season.

Black bryony has strings of glowing red berries, beware, these are highly poisonous.

Every hedgerow has its share of apple trees, particularly numerous along the canals, probably the result of the old boatmen throwing their apple cores onto the bank. So next time you munch your Cox's Pippin on the back of the boat heave the core ashore, keep the tradition alive. If you are into making jams and jellies these tiny apples make a superb crab apple jelly. A staple of diet in my childhood, I must have been nine or ten before I tasted shop bought jam.

The oaks this year have a fine crop of burnished acorns.
The other signs of the turn of the seasons,

the harvest in, the farmers plough the fields as they have done since time immemorial and

the heating oil lorry starts its rounds.

I know everybody who visits Napton feels compelled to take at least one photo' of the buffaloes but you don't often get a close up. We examined each other over the top of a field gate, she didn't seem very impressed.
And finally:

Jill has finished her summer project, started in March. Now she's started on making the Christmas cards.

Watch this space...........


Brian and Diana on NB Harnser said...

Did you see the Buffalo calves?

Graham and Jill Findlay said...

We didn't spot any calves, may have been we were unaware they were there so didn't go looking.