Sunday, 9 August 2015

An August walk in the Ribble Valley.

Today I'm walking to the Black Bull pub at Old Langho if you want to come along, but what I didn't expect to meet on the journey was the real thing, and he doesn't look very pleased to see me. Perhaps it's my red polo shirt? You know the old saying, like a red rag to a bull, but I've been told that bovines only see in monochrome, and that it's the movement which provokes them to attack, let's hope for my sake that's true,  I'm too old to run anyway. I think I must have been a little distracted when I took this photograph, because I've only just noticed a nice shot of Pendle Hill in the background.

In days of yore hay-making was a once a year, activity performed by whole families or villages using scythes. The hay was gathered up and made into the rather attractive haystacks that some might remember in children's storybooks. That is why school holidays lasted for six weeks, so that the winter feed, for livestock, could be cut and gathered during the summer months. Now it takes one man one day to do an entire field using a tractor and a bailer, consequently the fields are now cut twice in the year in June, as soon as the grass is long enough, and a second cut in August. I don't think that too many children will be complaining that they no longer need six weeks holiday to do the hay-making.

I noticed these three plants growing in close proximity to each other. Can you guess what they are? If you said sweet peas you wouldn't be far wrong. To the left we have the common vetch, in to centre the meadow vetch, and to the right purple vetch. You will have guessed by now that vetch is  the horticultural name for the pea family, and that these plants  are all wild peas.

Today the Pendle witch is flying very low. You can see the fire in the burner so that he can gain enough height to get over the trees. My family booked me on a balloon flight a couple of years ago as a Christmas present, because I kept banging on about it every time this, or any balloon other, flew over. We were supposed to take off from Stoneyhurst College, but after half a dozen cancellations over a six month period, which were blamed on the, weather, wind speed, or wind direction, the flight was transferred to Lower Bentham, in North Yorkshire, one late September evening. Here is a short video if you would like to see it. I did film the whole of the journey but this video is just the take off part. I can be spotted operating the blower to inflate the balloon.

I can hear croaking in the grass, and on examination there are dozens of grasshoppers. Some are green and some were brown, some were tiny and some are quite big. Grasshoppers are a well known insect to most of us because of cartoons on television and fairy stories in books, but how many of you have actually seen a grasshopper in the flesh, other than crickets in pet shops destined to be fed to lizards and snakes.

Here we are at the Black Bull. We started our journey with a black bull, and we've finished our journey with another black bull, but this one is a far more welcome sight, cheers.

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