Coming home

Field and sky near Dembleby

I’m back, I think.

I’ve not finished my other writing yet; and I’m still musing on what this blog is about now that my Lincolnshire life is no longer shiny new, now that I’m seeing and doing things for the second not the first time.

But in recent days I have found myself thinking often of this, and you, my readers; and on Tuesday evening I had a moment, en route home from a visit to my mum’s near Cambridge, that felt a very blog moment.

After the M11, A14, A1 and A52 I turned at last onto the back roads for my last, cross-country half hour. Imagine yourself with me in the sudden peace as I stopped the car here: no more road noise, engine noise, the A52 only yards and another world away. I heard birdsong, breathed cool, sweet air and looked over golden fields and a limpid blue sky: just a small road on its way to a small village somewhere in England, and something like heaven.

And oh the irony that my first thought is to share this sense of peace with the world, when what I am loving is the emptiness and people being so beautifully not there!

The rest of the photos, as ever, on the Facebook page.

Close to the edge

Road to nowhere

This is my 100th post. Nine months ago we moved ‘from the city to the edge of the Lincolnshire Fens,’ as it says in the strapline above.

Heckington is indeed a village on the edge. Sitting at a fine height of ten metres above sea level, it is one of a string of villages which mark the western border of the fens in these parts.

To the west of these villages is a very English farmland landscape: an undulating patchwork of fields and hedgerows in shades of green, brown, gold. But when you travel east you cross the 5 metre contour line and then, on the map, there are no more wavy contour lines, just the straight, blue lines of drainage ditches dividing the fields.

Each village has its own parcel of fenland: South Kyme (South Kyme by Ferry Lane), Howell (No longer the dog field..), Heckington, Great Hale, Little Hale and so on, along a roughly north-south line down to the town of Bourne, each with a fen named after it.

These are the real flatlands, a pancake-flat, sea-like expanse stretching from here to the Wash. Long, straight farm roads or ‘droves’ take you out onto the fen, often coming to an abrupt end at Car Dyke (A walk on Star Fen) or further south, at the larger, though less ancient South Forty Foot Drain.

Yesterday I walked at twilight down Howell Fen Drove, picking elderberries, meeting not one other single soul, hearing nothing but the wind and my own footsteps. Ahead of me hung a three-quarters moon in a limpid, china blue sky, behind me cloudy pink reflections of the setting sun; light fading with every yard.

The eerie, empty world excited, elated and then scared me as the darkness grew. I though of Robert Macfarlane walking a sea path in mist (in The Old Ways) and then I was on another ghostly walk, from Alan Garner’s The Moon of Gomrath (a childhood favourite), with padding footsteps of the Horned Hunter behind me on the road.

So that road’s end is to be seen another day. I turned back to my real-world, parked van and the dubious safety of driving home in darkness with my less than perfect eyesight. But I am glad for that hour out of time on a road to nowhere. Part of me is walking there still, weightless, breathing, free.

Field on Howell Fen

Rooks at bedtime

Rooks at bedtime

The estate agent’s details for the house we have moved to showed a picture of the garden looking lovely with a rainbow over the garage (an older and more picturesque building than the house itself). This prompted many quips by friends along the lines of did the rainbow come with the house.

Tonight I was just sitting down to eat my supper when I saw a perfect rainbow over the garden and the garage roof, just like in the agent’s photo. I rushed out with my iPad in camera mode to take a picture for the blog.

Then I stood outside for a few more moments as the sky darkened (and my soup cooled sadly in the conservatory). There is a rookery not far from us, a noisy place during the daytime. As I stood watching the lovely sky, a group of rooks flew over from their main hangout to roost in a tall tree in the garden next to us.

The rainbow came out a bit faint in the photos. And I like this picture better, even though I know it’s a fairly rubbish portrayal of rooks in a tree. I hope you can use your imagination and share a little of the magic of my garden at twilight tonight, with the rooks, silent for once, falling through a violet sky on their way to bed