Walking while the sun shines, almost – first published 19 February 2014

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The beginning of 2014 was mostly about rain so when my weather app told me 19 February was going to be the best day of the week I figured I’d get out walking while I could do it without getting soaked. Finding a route wasn’t easy. The river and the shore would be too wet after all the rain, the woods too muddy and I didn’t fancy getting hit on the head by a falling tree. In the end I decided to take the hilly route up Midanbury Lane and then head towards the airport. After that I’d try Lakeside, if it wasn’t too flooded or Eastleigh if it was.

19 February 2014

The sky may have been grey but spring was most definitely in the air as I puffed up Midanbury Lane. In a garden at the top of the hill white blossom was opening, pink buds dripping with dew, or it may have been the light shower that finished just before I left home. There was a plane coming in to land as I crested the brow of the hill, tiny dots of light in the distance right where I was headed. Further down blossom on another tree, pink this time. In winter I miss the flowers.

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Before long I’d reached Woodmill. Today the sluices were open and water was gushing right across to the far bank. For a while I looked over the wall at the boiling, bubbling river escaping, wondering at the power of nature. The wall itself was covered in lichen, thriving in the damp conditions. Tiny beads of spray adorned it.

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On the other side of the mill the sluice was flowing faster if anything. So much water trying to get from one part of the river to the other as fast as it could. The road that winds over the narrow mill bridge was busy today, cars queueing both sides and people on the path. I was glad to put the cramped chicane behind me and turn onto Wessex Lane.

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It was a risk but I took the little blue bridge, hoping the path wouldn’t be too muddy. Thankfully it wasn’t, although water was spilling onto the gravel from the overflowing marshes. Some ducks have taken up residence, enjoying the extra water. The trees were dripping with blue green lichen and, on one fallen branch, tiny little orange dots that could be coral spot fungus.

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There were no more discoveries as I made my way up Wide Lane, past the closed Ford factory, towards the airport. Spring may be in the air but we have another month of winter to get through yet. The damp, cold air was seeping into my bones, what I needed was a coffee. Still, the airport was in sight but would Lakeside be flooded or would I end up in Eastleigh? Tomorrow I’ll tell you what happened.
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Marie

Writer, walker, coffee drinker, chocolate eater, lover of nature, history and the little things that make me smile

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