|Gardener at work.|
We're completely redesigning and replanting our garden at the moment — a project that won't be finished until the spring. If such things are ever finished, as gardening is an ongoing labour. But a labour of love, I hope.
We couldn't have done this without Phil, a seventy-four year old local tree surgeon, landscape gardener and expert in all things horticultural. He's the same person who felled our rogue Corsican pine tree here. His knowledge, industry, meticulousness and wiry strength put me to shame. He's hacked away the jungle of our back garden, renovated the overgrown pond, returfed the lawn, constructed a raised bed for vegetables and put up a compost bin. Carmen and I have been busy too (he added guiltily) at the front and side of the house — digging, weeding, painting fences, planting bulbs.
|A naked pond crying out for some pond plants.|
I thought it was high time the Solitary Walker took another solitary walk and escaped the domestic confines for a while. So, yesterday afternoon, I hiked another stretch of the Viking Way. I left the car at Fiskerton east of Lincoln, walked the seven miles to Bardney, then returned to the car by bus. It wasn't the prettiest stretch of the route, but I tried hard to find some magic in the black, ploughed earth and the flat, featureless landscape. Though it was difficult. Perhaps I was tired. Or perhaps it was my mood. Anyhow, no matter. Accept what is, what was, how you feel, how you felt. You can't force the magic. It will come again when you're least expecting it.
|Drunken sign on the Viking Way.|
|Planting the crops: tractor with seed drill.|
|These fields and others close by were at one time the site of Fiskerton Airfield. It was from this airfield that Lancaster bomber crews of 576 Squadron attacked Hitler's 'Eagle's Nest' at Berchtesgaden in their last mission of World War II.|
|The hedgerows were stippled with hips and haws, the fruits of the wild rose and the hawthorn bush. These are rosehips.|
|The rich, black earth of Lincolnshire.|
|Bracket fungus in an elder tree with colourful lichen.|
|A pair of mute swans, their cygnet brood fledged and gone.|
|Arriving home in the late afternoon sunlight, I spotted this small tortoiseshell butterfly on the garden asters.|