A fairly quiet month hardly deserving of a post so its going to be mainly filler and not killer this time!
In between bouts of drinking and watching the cultural twin peaks of Wonder Woman, and Spiderman: The Homecoming, there was a nevertheless an excellent walk to record.
This one took in patches of the Forest of Dean, views of the Malvern Hills, and a Roast Beef Ploughman’s at the Glasshouse.
It was Stuart’s walk and here’s the gen:
Map: Explorer sheet OL14 Wye Valley & Forest of Dean
The walk is mainly along field paths, through woods, and along quiet country lanes.
Go west from the car park in the market town of Newent, across playing fields then SW to Briery Hill. Follow Three Choirs Way southwards to Clifford’s Mesne, continuing along quiet lanes past the now closed Yew Tree Inn to ascend a long but not difficult climb to summit of May Hill (977 ft).
There are breath-taking views to Malvern Hills, Black Mountains, and the Severn Estuary (let’s hope for good weather). From the summit continue along Geopark/Wysis Way SE then NE to Glasshouse for lunch at The Glasshouse Inn.
Dogs are not allowed in the pub but there are pleasant gardens.
After lunch we head northwards through the pleasant but occasionally muddy Newent Woods, and then past apple orchards to return to the cars.
1930s Poet Laureate John Masefield describes May Hill in his narrative poem “The Everlasting Mercy.”
It’s about a fist fight with a fellow poacher over territory with the main protagonist called Saul Kane with some Christian/Satan overtones and implications.
Its way too long to reproduce here so here’s some of the more memorable verses. It’s worth reading just to roll out the fantastic names of two of the peripheral characters: Doxy Jane and Dicky Twot!
Ploughing the hill with steady yoke
Of pine-trees lightning-struck and broke.
I’ve marked the May Hill ploughman stay
There on his hill, day after day
Driving his team against the sky,
While men and women live and die.
And now and then he seems to stoop
To clear the coulter with the scoop,
Or touch an ox to haw or gee
While Severn stream goes out to sea
and this bit’s quite good:
“Where is it, then? O stop the bell.”
I stopped and called: “It’s fire of hell;
And this is Sodom and Gomorrah,
And now I’ll burn you up, begorra.”
as is this:
“After him,” “Catch him,” “Out him,” ” Scrob him.”
“We’ll give him hell.” “By God, we’ll mob him.”
“We’ll duck him, scrout him, flog him, fratch him.”
“All right,” I said. “But first you’ll catch him.”
They drove (a dodge that never fails)
A pin beneath my finger nails.
They poured what seemed a running beck
Of cold spring water down my neck;
Jim with a lancet quick as flies
Lowered the swelling round my eyes.
They sluiced my legs and fanned my face
Through all that blessed minute’s grace;
They gave my calves a thorough kneading,
They salved my cuts and stopped the bleeding.
A gulp of liquor dulled the pain,
And then the flasks clinked again.
This last bit was after the Boxing Day Sales at Selfridges…
Speaking of which: This was taken at the Green Man in Harborne on July 24th – WAY TOO EARLY!!!
Sometimes, when you’re feeling a bit peckish, only a Seafood Fujiyakko will do, and fortunately one was at hand for our footy A-Team social at the Miyako Teppanyaki restaurant .
Kraaled around a Japanese teppan grill (with live cooking and loose egg throwing), an entertaining evening was in store with salmon, lobster and scallops being fired up on the Barbie. Of course, we had to have some traditional Japanese ale to help us along.
A visit to the Falconry Experience in Swadlincote ensured a surfeit of raptors for our appreciation. For the first section there was a selection of owls including Little Owl, Barn Owl and Eagle Owl before the falcons, hawks and eagles took centre stage. The Kestrel, Harris Hawk, Buzzard and Tawny Eagle were all mightily impressive but even a guest appearance from a Kookaburra couldn’t diminish the star of the show – a Golden Eagle.
The talons on this eagle are impressive enough – then you learn they have a gripping strength of over 700 psi, which is up there with me hanging onto a Topic (the average person has a grip strength of about 20 psi.)
Nature Note: Raptor comes from the Latin word “rapere” which means to seize by force.
And finally, this cartoon from the Crow Collection – I always liked this one but it never sold particularly well. I just like the silliness of it…