Soak

Not an end to drought
but the ground has had a soak.
Lovely, lovely rain.

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We have finally had a good rainfall overnight and all morning. Gentle rain that soaks in well and saves the need to water the garden for today at least. It has refilled my water butt. This is not the end of the drought though, rivers and reservoirs are still very low and hosepipe bans in place around the country, thankfully not where I live yet but I have been avoiding using the hose and only watering where necessary with waste water saved from the kitchen, using the watering can. The forecast is for another dry spell by the weekend. Still I am thankful for what we have, many areas have not had much at all for a long time.

Spots of Rain

Cooler
and overcast.
Spots of rain.
Short, sharp shower; not
enough!

Scumping

Scrumping blackberries
from my neighbour's bush
overhanging our garden.
She has moved on,
the house is empty,
shame to waste them!

Sunhat

Sun
beats down.
In shop window
just what I need;
sunhat.

My new sunhat

When I pass near my local Charity Shop I usually pop in, mainly to check out the books and craft stuff – it never ceases to amaze me the amount of crafting materials they have at bargain prices and I usually come home with something. Walking past this morning I happened to noticed this rather smart sunhat in the window – just what I need, I thought. I do already have a sunhat but it is a bit old and battered and also rather big. This one fits a treat – it’s mine now!

Black and White Cat

Friendly, visiting 
black and white cat 
plays with the falling water droplets
from the hosepipe spray.

Hosepipe

Watering
the garden.
Thankfully hosepipe ban
not in my area
yet!

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We have had some rain recently, for which we are thankful, but by no means enough and the threat of a hosepipe ban has not gone away! I am trying not to be too wasteful with the water and only watering the necessary areas - vegetables, fruit trees and bushes and the flower borders. The lawn area has greened up nicely with the rain that we have had but I never water that anyway - grass has great powers of recovery after drought.

Sherwood Forest

Last week we stayed at Sherwood Pines campsite which is part of Sherwood Forest. This is a recently opened campsite with great facilities, which gave easy access to woodland where there were many cycle tracks and a visitor centre with other attractions and a cycle hire shop. On the first day we did the ‘Maid Marion’ trail, which is the easiest of the trails and recommended for families. Our reason for doing it was that we were of course on the tandem and the visitor centre staff implied that doing any of the more difficult trails would not be ideal on a tandem due to narrow, and twisting tracks in among tree roots and other such hazards of woodland!

The Maid Marion trail was on more generously proportioned tracks. However the ride wasn’t very long, the whole ride including getting from the campsite to the visitor centre was barely 7 miles. About a kilometre out from the visitor centre on the return loop we managed to get a puncture and had to walk into the centre where we spent some time repairing this. The puncture was the result of not finding and removing a thorn from the tyre which had caused a puncture last time we were out with the Tandem Club but which we hadn’t found at the time. Having found the thorn this time we needed the help of the mechanics at the cycle hire shop to remove it.

The following day saw us going on a much longer ride, much of it again on trails with some road riding around Sherwood Forest proper, just over 21 miles, on what the boss termed ‘La Tour de Sherwood’. This took us up to the Major Oak, the most famous of the ancient oaks in Sherwood Forest. It is believed to be between 800 and 1,100 years old and many of its branches are now held up with wooden supports (see photo), however it is still thriving and supporting a wide variety of wildlife. Legend has it that this is the tree where Robin Hood and his Merry Men met, but sadly we didn’t see any evidence of them thereabouts. There were some interesting information boards nearby and I share photos of them here too, hoping you can read them!

The Major Oak, (note our tandem to prove we were there!)

The rest of the week saw us riding several different routes around the local countryside, between 28 and 33 miles, mostly on road but also occasionally on tracks. Amazingly they all seemed to pass a lovely cafe, the Daffodil Cafe, which we found in a village called Eakring, where we enjoyed superb coffee or tea and cake. One ride took in Southwell Minster (church) and another took us through the ancient village of Laxton, which claims to be England’s last ‘open field’ village where the fields are strip farmed as in ancient times. We also passed several times through a ford at a village called Rufford, well we went over the footbridge. The ford went past Rufford Mill, a local visitor attraction. Here lots of children lined up along the footbridge encouraging cars and vans to charge through the water at speed and send up a wave over the path, soaking the watchers. On one crossing we also got caught up in one such wave and got soaked! Fortunately we had pretty much dried out by the time we got back to the motorhome.

The weather was mostly good though overcast and cool at times with occasional showers but plenty of sun and we finished our last day with ice cream at the visitor centre. One thing we learnt is that there is an awful lot of interesting places to visit in the area, including wartime history. We will have to go back again and just maybe, if we do, we might catch a glimpse of the elusive Robin Hood?

Harvesting

The first runner beans
look ready for harvesting.
Dinner tomorrow.

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I am back from my week away so will post about in next time! In the meantime I have been checking the garden.

Another Break!

No, I haven’t broken any more limbs. I am taking another short break from the blog.

After a rather hectic few months we have decided to have some peaceful time to ourselves so we are off in our motorhome today until the weekend. My brother-in-law, who has been staying with us since Easter, has now moved into his retirement apartment and is settling in well and our youngest son will be here to look after things at home, watering the garden and so on, so we are going to Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire to recharge the batteries and enjoy some tandem riding along the forest trails (I’m not yet up to riding a solo bike, my wrist is still in recovery mode). I wonder if we will meet up with Robin Hood and his Merry Men! ‘ll let you know when I’m back next week.

Drought

Brown,
the grass
of the lawn.
When will it rain?
Drought.

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Well, we didn't get the rain promised on Thursday, so I wrote the above Elfje during a wakeful night last night. However when I finally got up in the morning I discovered it had rained in the night, the ground was wet. It continued to rain gently for several hours so I wrote the Elfje below. Then the rain stopped! The sun came out for a while and the ground has dried, but it has now clouded over again so perhaps we will get some more rain. It least it is a lot cooler

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Rain
at last,
fine and gentle.
Will it be enough?
Showers.

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