Sunday, April 11, 2010

April come she will, When streams are ripe and swelled with rain!

I realised this morning that I have been quite remiss with the writing of my blog. It was in church, after an excellent service with a really good sermon, and Tony commented on my blog. I must admit that I hadn't realised that he had read it. It made me very happy to realise that there are people out there who read this blog. I know that Daniele reads it, and Ann, because they both comment on it from time to time, but three people. Gosh, that's an audience!

I haven't written much of late because it seemed quite uniformly drab in the valley. Each day it seemed to be raining, or it had just finished raining or ..... you know what I mean. I seemed to be walking through mud a lot of the time and Spring just never seemed to be getting any nearer. But then we have had a couple of days of glorious sunshine and suddenly things seem to be happening. So I went for a really enjoyable walk with Jasper, on Saturday. I took my camera and it was just great. 

I just bought Panorama X4 from those very nice people at Serif. They make really good software at very reasonable prices. Panorama stitches photographs together to make scenes and the day was so nice that I thought I'd give it a try. The photographs are a bit on the small size but if you double click on them then you'll get a bigger version in your browser window. The photo at the top of the this blog is taken looking over Shire Hill from the junction of Woodhead Road and Cemetry Road at the back of Glossop. The one that I will put at the bottom of the blog is a panorama looking over Padfield and on up the Longdendale Valley.

You know, I actually feel really blessed to live here. We live in an industrial village on the very edge of the Peak District. I can be in the centre of Manchester in three quarters of an hour, so we really have all of the amenities of the city should we want them, but I can walk to the places where I took these two photographs, from my house, in ten minutes. It is truly a wonderful place to live.

Yesterday, when I took these photographs, the sun was shining and it was so warm that I decided to forego my fleece jacket and went walking in a T shirt. We were out for just under two and a half hours, but I'm still not walking so very fast so I have no ideas how far we walked, probably no more than 3 or 4 miles I guess. We went along the back of the School and down to Dinting Arches, then turned left and followed footpaths along to Surrey Street and rejoined "civilised" society. Then up Spire Hollin and up through Howard Park, then cut across another footpath and out onto Woodhead Road near the junction with Cemetry Road. Then back along Cemetry Road and down through Bankswood Park and home. That bit is for me really, if you live in Middle America then you won't get a lot out of these street names, but it helps me to remember.

And now, at last, there are real signs of spring. Huge, bulbous, sticky buds are just about to burst open at the tip of the tree branches. The plum tree outside Les' garden on our close has come out in it's pink livery in the last day. Interestingly, our plum tree, and our neighbours plum tree are still devoid of all blossom and yet they are no more than 30 metres away from Les' blooming one. I had a look at our feathery Acer this morning and it's leaves are just about to pop into view. I think that by Friday many of our bushes will look radically different from the way that they have looked for months.

There is a sad note though. We were out in the garden doing a bit of tidying up yesterday. Pat was mowing the lawn for the first time this year and I was trying to convince one of our Honeysuckle bushes that it would look and feel better standing up against the fence rather than lying on the ground. I had just about succeeded when Pat pointed out that our Californian Lemon Tree was not looking its best. I don't know what the proper, Latin name for the Lemon Tree is, and it has never looked even vaguely as if it might grow lemons, but I really loved that tree. We've had it maybe 4 or 5 years at most and it has grown really well. When we planted it, it was maybe 18 inches high and last year it was at least 6 feet high and that much across as well. I thought it was well established. But when we looked at it yesterday, it did not look so good at all. All of it's leaves from last year were still in place and had gone totally dry. So dry that you could hold a bunch of them in your hand and just crush them to powder. I cut off a couple of branches, about as thick as my thumb, just to see if there was any life in there at all, but to me they looked totally dead, no sign of green at all.

It always seemed so healthy. I just cannot imagine what could kill a healthy tree like that. Nor, we think, is it alone. An Acer bush also looks as if it has succumbed to the winter. I won't do anything drastic just for the moment because Andy the gardner must be coming any day now, he hasn't been around the garden for months, but he must be due this week. I'll let him decide if the poor tree has shuffled off this mortal coil. I shall have to resurrect the incinerator bin from behind the Summer House, then, if we must say goodbye to the Lemon Tree, we can cremate it decently.

It seems such a shame. With all this new life about to burst forth, there are some of the plants that just won't burst. That, I suppose, is life.

But it has been a beautiful day. We had a marvellous salad at lunch time and Pat cooked up a stew that was so very tasty for Dinner. With a nice glass of Sancerre, crisp and cold from the fridge. An enjoyable walk with a little dog who doesn't care where he goes but enjoys going anywhere.

Life doesn't get much better. Here comes the other photograph I promised you. God Bless!

No comments: