8 June 2024

Walkin' Back to Happiness

For Amanda

It's showery and cold today, but yesterday morning I set off from Hunstanton along the Norfolk Coast Path towards Thornham.  

Funny but it's true
What loneliness can do
Since I've been away
I have loved you more each day

Red Valerian

Past the old lighthouse (now holiday lets) and into Old Hunstanton where the dunes are peppered with multi-coloured Beach Huts, some for hire (c£1,000 a week peak season) and some for sale (c£35K to £50K leasehold).

This one is protected from the devil by a self-sown Elder (Sambucus nigra)....

And here the Dog Rose (Rosa Canina) may ward off evil spirits and protect from the plague.

It is quiet, and the light is fair.  I breathe clean air, and feel good to be out.  I love the colours around me; I love my new-found freedom, despite the sadness it is clothed in.

Today is a day for flowers.  It has been a strange summer so far - everything has a spring-like freshness, even though we are only weeks off the longest day.  In the grass by the path I note Common Spotted Orchids (I think - forgive me if my identifications are mistaken?) which raise their heads against a backdrop of Yellow Archangels....

Everything seems to be in flower, from the brambles....

To the nettles.....

Even those without chlorophyll, like this Broomrape:

And then there are the grasses - this being Hare's-Tail Grass waving in the breeze.....

The bright colours are a delight.  From the pale pink of Thrift:

To the shiny gold of Common Hawkweed:

And of Bird's-Foot-Trefoil (sometimes called Granny's toenails, though better known as Eggs and Bacon):



To the Lapis Lazuli blue of Germander Speedwell:

Over there there's a string of Pyramidal Orchids:

And then a bunch of Weld (Reseda Luteola also known as Dyer's Weed as it provides a rich yellow dye):

Then I am jolted back to the day, as the path has crumbled away, eaten into by coastal erosion, a reminder that the world  needs looking after:

And on the detour a hole in the ground brings to mind the Second World War and the anniversary of D Day, and all the sacrifices and suffering that we should not forget.....

But the honeysuckle waves me on:

And the Wild Carrot seems so healthy there has to be hope....?

Though of course everything is subject to multiple interpretations, as are these blood-red Poppies:

It has been another pleasant walk, one that Amanda would have enjoyed, so I will carry on for her.....

My love she speaks like silence,
Without ideals or violence,
She doesn't have to say she's faithful,
Yet she's true, like ice, like fire.

People carry roses,
Make promises by the hours,
My love she laughs like the flowers,
Valentines can't buy her.

Love Minus Zero/No Limit
Bob Dylan (1965)

Walking back to happiness
Said goodbye to loneliness
I never knew I'd miss you
Now I know what I must do
Walking back to happiness I shared with you

Helen Shapiro (1961)

Written by John Schroeder and Mike Hawker

1 June 2024

Let it be.....

 Just a closer walk with thee.....

It's neither spring, nor summer, and I have been laid up, but thankfully the storm has passed, and I take myself to Ken Hill.  These woods, near my house, are where I used to walk with Amanda, almost every Sunday, through all the seasons, until she could go no more.  A squirrel watches me from a mighty oak, and I am reminded that, for reasons now lost, my pet name for Amanda was Squirrel.....

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

No, I haven't got religion, but Amanda did, and sometimes I wish I could believe......

Perhaps it's enough that I have the world of nature around me.  A beautiful mesh of cool green beech leaves above me, a pyramid of beautiful, though invasive, Rhododendron over there:

Each flower a marvel of design and colour:

The Foxgloves display with the same palette in the shadows:

Attracting busy bees to their hidden stores of nectar:

Or radiating glory when struck by patchy sunlight filtering through the trees:

Amanda walks with me in my heart, chuckling with delight at the Yellow Azalea (Rhododendron luteum):

I sniff the wild Honeysuckle, smiling at my memories:

And admire the glowing Elderflowers, thinking she might like some cordial:

Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

Then I pick up a high-pitched piping call, like a dentist's ultrasonic scaler, and search the trunks around me, eventually picking out a tiny Treecreeper scuttling up the bark:

There aren't many birds around, or so it seems.  The wind is strong, whooshing through the leaves and branches, and birdsong is something of a rarity now.  Pigeons thrash away through the trees when disturbed.  Jackdaws call to each other above their nesting sites:

A parent Robin threatens me as I photograph one of its young:

I hear the shrill trilling of Wrens in the undergrowth, but often they are quick to take cover when I approach, though I catch this little one waiting for food:

High in the crowns I can just make out Blue Tits picking up caterpillars, but they are too far above me to picture.  An incautious Jay, however, obligingly perches with his lunch on a branch within sight:

I walk along the path by the line of beeches:

I am weak, but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

And then follow the hill to the carved seat where Amanda used to love to sit looking out through the trees towards the Wash. The dappling sunlight plays tricks with my vision and for a moment I can imagine her there,  an evanescent angel....

On my way home, a flurry of feathers lies across the mud on the track and I see the crimson breast of a freshly killed Pigeon, the hapless prey of a Sparrow Hawk, perhaps, a reminder that all life comes to an end, one way or another [without death there is no life.....]:

When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Evanescent Angel:
Thank you for walking with me today......


Listen to Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson: