Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Spotty, green leaves in winter and glorious mud.

I am proud to announce that I have completed the last part of the Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk.

Southborough quarter -- 30 December 2005 -- 8.25 miles
Sussex quarter -- 3 June 2006 -- 15 miles
Pembury quarter -- 10 November 2006 -- 13 miles
Speldhust quarter -- 1 January 2006 -- 10 miles

1. A flock of 16-spot ladybirds. Almost every fence post for half a kilometer has a little cluster of these tiny insects that look like varnished clockwork toys.

2. We round the end of a wood and then I stop in surprise. 'Look!'

Rosey and my father look, and at first they don't see what has made me exclaim.

Then they see a 300-year-old oak tree in full leaf, bright and tender as if it was 1 May, not 1 January. It's an evergreen Lucombe oak, but the leaves are soft and fresh, not leathery and dark. My father says that if he had one in his garden, every Christmas he would deck the halls with boughs of oak.

3. Small boy in red wellies: mumble mumble psssp-psssp?
Father: I'm sure there will be mud, yes.
There is a fair bit of mud around. Particularly... well anywhere that isn't under concrete, actually. It creeps up our trousers and splashes on our faces and hands. And it squelches in a very satisfying way under our feet.