Friends and feathers

12 Ravenstone and lunch (66)

We were collected by friends and whisked across the border into Derbyshire on Monday morning for a visit to a stone circle before lunch. It is a beautiful place with the most fabulous panoramic views of the hills, heather and lake. The place is breathtakingly beautiful and not one of the photographs does it justice.

12 Ravenstone and lunch (12)

The bracken was as lush and tall as I have ever seen it, coming way over my head as we plunged through it. Not, of course, that this is difficult when one is, as my son puts it, vertically challenged. Odd that… everyone seems to refer to me as a hobbit these days…

12 Ravenstone and lunch (25)

The Hordron circle is a quiet, peaceful place with a gentle atmosphere. The small uprights are weathered and gnarled from exposure to thousands of years of Derbyshire rain and wind, but the day was bright and warm as we climbed up the inevitable hill. I consoled myself with the sad thought that it would be the last of the weekend… wrongly as it turned out.

12 Ravenstone and lunch (13)

We spent a pleasant hour or so playing in the landscape before wandering back down… by the direct and steepest route… which was the most fun… and headed off in search of lunch.

12 Ravenstone and lunch (54)

Our friends took us to a little 13th-century inn with a garden full of peacocks. They are incredible birds, their dinosaur ancestry apparent beneath the opulence of their plumage. A number of iridescent feathers joined the growing collection in my handbag. Quite what I shall do with them I have not yet decided. But the idea will come when it is ready!

12 Ravenstone and lunch (62)

As we sat on the steps in the sunshine after lunch the geese wandered over to say hello, checking, no doubt, on these intruders into their territory. We headed back for coffee in one of the loveliest homes I have ever felt.

12 Ravenstone and lunch (72)

Walking back to my friend’s home later I was reminded that his city is built on hills… and they all seem to lead up, not down. It seemed like a good idea to pause halfway up the first for a little light refreshment, accompanied by perhaps the scruffiest, most confident robin I have ever met.

13 pub (3)

We were further obliged to partake of liquid refreshment at the top of the hill and dusk was beginning to draw in as we walked the final stretch, talking, of course, all the way. A squirrel wandered across the path at our feet, crossing the road with utter unconcern. I wasn’t quick enough with the camera, but it was in my hand a few minutes later when we realised that the fair-sized dog sauntering down the street was actually a fox. It crossed the road just ahead of us and I managed to grab a picture… not the best… but enough to show later that it was carrying what appears to be an egg in its mouth.

13 pub (8)

We had spent a truly glorious weekend in a landscape I adore, yet herein broad daylight, on his urban doorstep, the wonders were still there, just waiting to be noticed. And that was really the point of what we are doing… growing in awareness of the world and, by extension, of ourselves, seeing the beauty around us with clear eyes and open hearts and listening to the song of life the universe is singing if we choose to listen.

10 Blakey Topping (100)

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