Tag Archives: Nature

Community Payback and no Goldilocks

My weekend has been busy as always. Yesterday I was hoovering, I should say vacuuming the living room, when I became aware of a persistent sound of metallic scraping noises somewhere out in the road. I pootled on, hanging washing on the line in the sun, a great treat now that spring is here, and generally tidying. It wasn’t until I realised that the dogs were roasting in their living room window seat, and I let some fresh air in that I found out where the noise was coming from. A woman emerged from a large white van parked opposite, wearing a hoodie saying that her name was ‘Supervisor’.

I noticed the first of three young men because he was shovelling the gutter right beside the wheels of my car. A bit panic stricken, I threw the window wide for a closer look, and two more appeared. All three were wearing bright orange tabards with ‘Community Payback’ printed on them. The Devon and Cornwall police website has this to say

Community Payback can be part of a ‘community sentence’. A ‘community sentence’ means that the offender is supervised in the community and in the case of Community Payback has to carry out between 40 and 300 hours of unpaid work. This work benefits the community – and means the offenders pay back the community for their crimes by doing tough demanding work. For this reason members of public are encouraged to nominate Community Payback work projects for offenders which will benefit the community. 

I would have liked to go and talk to them but I was in housework clothes and had wet hair, so I made a point of catching the supervisor’s eye and each of the guys to say thank you. The road is now weed free, and has saved residents the task of clearing up, as the council no longer has the resources to do it, despite the outrageously high council tax.

This morning I was visiting my family, for two of my grandchildren’s birthdays. Louisa is seven and William is three, I have no idea where that time went. Today at 11am was Williams’s party but Louisa was over excited by 9.30 so I decided to take her for a calming down stroll. We set off around the block, ‘Getting out with nature’ as she puts it, picking tiny wild flowers and stroking catkins. There were a couple of flowers that mummy apparently says are weeds, to which I replied that weeds are just flowers in the wrong place.

After not very long Louisa wanted to go home, she didn’t want to miss a moment of the party. We had about fifteen minutes to walk and she had lost interest in wild flowers. More distraction needed! I challenged her to tell me a story about nature. She started by picking a forget-me-not and saying that a girl found lots of them on path. The girl picked and picked them, but she became very hungry and didn’t have any food. She passed the story on to me, so I sent the girl deep into the woods until she found a cottage.

You know the story, Goldilocks meets the three bears, sits on their chairs, eats their porridge and falls asleep in baby bears bed. Except that her name wasn’t Goldilocks it was Meg. The bears were pandas and the porridge was chocolate cake. We had a great time embellishing the story, making it ours. I hope that one day she will be walking with her granddaughter, telling stories about walking in nature with her crazy story telling mma.

So that was a little of my weekend, how was yours?

 

My Last March Bench

green circle benchWooden benches have been the theme for Jude’s monthly challenge, this is my second entry, just in time. This one is situated along the mill leat path, part of the riverside country park in Exeter’s Green Circle. The Circle forms a green corridor to provide a haven for wildlife, and cycle and peaceful footpaths for everyone to enjoy. If you sit on this bench the leat runs through the wooded area behind you and in front there is a view of the stream that runs off to re-join the river Exe. Sometimes that’s a tiny trickle through mud!

It’s a nice walk with lots of ways out to make it as long or short as you feel like, this bench is often a turning point before heading back to the quay for a coffee, beer or ice cream.

There is still time if you have a wooden bench to share with Jude, or from April 1st the challenge is to photograph a bench with a view.

Michelle Loves Orange, So do I

As long as I don’t have to wear it!

What’s not to love about orange? It’s vibrant. It’s cheerful. It makes a statement. It’s the perfect punctuation for a punchy photo.*

This week, share a group of photos where orange is either the dominant color, or provides a bold highlight. Shoot for at least three photos, and look for different shades — bright neons, deep rusts, delicate peaches.

So that’s Michelle’s challenge at The Daily Post this week.

And here are my photos, enjoy!

You know where to go to join in, I’m looking forward to seeing your entries.

A Warren Walk

When I was child, if you lived in Exeter, to the east of the river Exe, your beach was Exmouth, to the west and it was Dawlish Warren.  Both beaches are around 10 miles from the city. Back then, in the dawn of time, most people didn’t have cars, but there was always the regular train or bus service, and there still is.

Summers were longer and warmer then, and the sunshine was, well, sunnier somehow.  Families would pack up their bags with sandwiches, homemade sausage rolls and cake, kids would take their buckets and spades. Sun lotion didn’t exist, so many would burn and peel a few days later, the lucky ones would just tan.  No-one thought anything of it, other than a touch of calamine lotion if it was sore.

Nowadays the Warren is a National nature Reserve and protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and along with the rest of the Exe estuary, a Wetland of International Importance. Last weekend I took advantage of a few dry hours and took my camera for a walk.

In winter Dartmoor ponies are kept on the Warren to help maintain the grassland, I’ve seen some in the past but not on this visit sadly. The wetlands are teeming with wildlife, mostly elusive except to the ears.

I walked on past and got a glimpse of the beach.

dw7

dw8Before striding on eastwards towards the golf course and a view across the estuary to Exmouth.

dw9So, I’m on the crest of the dunes surrounded by beauty

dw10Maybe this will help explain where I was

scan0001

The wide area at the top is the sand spit right opposite Exmouth, but I pretty much stayed on the red path.

There are thousand of wildfowl and wading birds, I saw Oyster catchers, Wigeon, Brent Geese, and others that I don’t know the names of. The visitor centre had recorded far more that week than I was able to see because the tide was low, even though I walked around the curve of the sand spit to the bird hide.

The wind was getting up and the light was changing, so I headed back before the rain came in. So walking west, the beach was on my left. The big old terrace houses at Exmouth were clearly visible behind me

dw17and my path back to the car park

dw18

Looking inwards I could see the grassland again.

The Warren got its name because centuries ago, probably back to the middle ages, rabbits were raised there on a commercial scale, for both food and skin.

dw21

This is part of the holiday makers area, with amusements, cafes, a pub and several caravan parks nearby.The tide was right in, but there is sand under there! The bright beach huts are a fairly recent addition. In the 1970’s there were hundreds of traditional beach huts down here behind the beach.

dw22

I can’t remember them though, I was an east of the Exe girl and still am, you know how much I love Exmouth!

I hope you enjoyed my walk. It’s either one day late or six days early for Jo’s Monday Walk  but I’m never on time!