I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Haunt Of The Wild Mignonette

This morning I spent a few more stolen hours on the Viking Way. It was windy but warm, as the wind was blowing from the west. Once again I followed the course of Ermine Street - the old Roman road which, in this area, is a broad, rutted track for walkers and riders. It cuts a dead straight furrow through the narrow strip of limestone plateau south of Lincoln, bisecting a monontous prairie of arable land mostly planted with wheat and barley ...
 

Sprinklers jetted arcs of water over the growing crops, and every now and then the wind hurled plumes of spray right across the trail, nearly giving me a soaking. This section of Ermine Street is called High Dyke, and it's really a kind of linear nature reserve ...


Ahead of me I watched a hare lope down the track, then disappear into an adjacent cornfield. Golfinches twittered madly in bouncing flight. You could clearly see their red, black and yellow colours flashing in the air. Yellowhammers flitted from bush to bush, and a single skylark rose up from its nest in the corn. For a while I walked alongside this gappy drystone wall ...


Cowslips grew in profusion - their blooms now faded  - and bird's-foot-trefoil, bugle and buttercup brightened the wide grassy borders of the path. Among the cow parsley I spotted the tapering, greenish-yellow candle-spikes of the wild mignonette ...


At Byard's Leap I turned off along the main Newark-Sleaford road in the direction of Cranwell. The sweet smell of fried bacon wafted enticingly from Byard's Leap Country Kitchen opposite. I pressed on, disappointed and hungry. I had forgotten to bring any money with me.

Cranwell is home to the Royal Air Force (RAF) Officer Training College (it's what Sandhurst is to the British Army). Sir Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine, developed many of his ideas here. And it was here too where my wife's maternal grandfather played clarinet in the College Band ...    

5 comments:

Gail said...

Hi and "thank you" for allwoing me to walk with you this day. I so enjoyed the view, the landscape and the knowledge of our path.
Love to you]
Gail
peace.....

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oddly enough we were through Cranwell one day last week - looking up old haunts - wonder if it was the same day.

Grace said...

A wonderful walk by the sounds of it! Too bad you didn't get to enjoy the bacon.

Ruth said...

Smells and sights worthy of a beautiful write-up. Again I'm challenged to learn the names of the stuff growing back here. I can only name a fraction, all of it pretty wild at the moment as we have had buckets and buckets of rain.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for all your comments.

Weaver - you should have popped in!

Ruth - 'Buckets of Rain' - very appropriate on Dylan's birthday ...