Toads

Why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life?
Can’t I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off?

 

Toads Philip Larkin

I like my job mostly. But sometimes there’s just too much of it. Which is why I’m behind with my blog reading and writing. It has its compensations though, I started my working week with a pleasant walk along the Thames from Vauxhall Bridge to Westminster on the way to a conference. Sadly I didn’t have a camera with me so I can’t share any images of the iconic buildings that line the route.

The weekend was a very busy one, but I did escape for a walk on Sunday morning before beginning a marathon journey down to London .(The west coast mainline was shut for engineering work it took 8 hours several changes, including a bus from Birmingham to Northampton. By contrast, the return journey on Monday evening took a little over 3 hours.)

On Sunday I began my walk by crossing the field toward Stankelt road. The view of the Howgills, with a light dusting of snow was excellent, although this photo makes them look much closer than they really are.

Having reached Sharpe’s lot I tried to recapture my ebullient mood from the previous weekend by taking lots of pictures, for instance of Ash keys:

It might not have worked, but two things happened. Firstly, I noticed the catkins on the Hazels in the hedge:

It’s faintly ridiculous to be cheered by this early sign of impending spring, but it always works for me. Considered rationally I suppose that it is akin to the most primitive superstition. After all I know that spring will arrive at pretty much the same time as it always does, if not a little earlier. I hardly need reassurance, but as I say, I always greet winter catkins as a first augury of new growth and life.

The second cheering thing that happened was that the sun came out to play and picked out the colours in the wet hedgerows.

Bryony berries with raindrops.

I dropped down through Fleagarth Wood to the edge of the salt marsh, by which time the weather was changing again. Looking back across Leighton Moss towards Farleton Fell it was still blue:

But out over the Bay it was looking forbiddingly dark and threatening:

This is the remnants of the old bridge, which when I first moved to the area still crossed Quicksand Pool giving access to the salt marsh.

In this light Jenny Brown’s Point can be pretty bleak, but the birds didn’t seem to mind – there were hundreds feeding on the mud, including some curlews and some large ducks that I wasn’t quite sure of, but looking at large versions of the photos back at home I could see that they were pintails.

When I photographed the Old Man’s Beard last weekend I could only remember seeing it before at Heathwiate on Arnside Knot, but I had forgotten that traveller’s joy grows rampantly on the old quarry by Jenny Brown’s Point.

This distinctive gate at Jack Scout…

…has apparently won an award:

From the clifftop at Jack Scout…

I did something which, for some reason, I haven’t done for years and scrambled down the rocks onto the mud:

..and squelched round into the Cow’s Mouth.

This little cove was once one of the embarkation points for the traffic which crossed the sands to reach the Lake District.

From here it is possible to thread together a route which sometimes sticks to a path which teeters along the cliff edge and sometimes drops down to shingle beaches…

The wind was blowing from the north and it was bitter, but the sky had brightened again and I was enjoying rediscovering the fines views of the bay and the distant Cumbrian mountains.

And, closer to hand, of Arnside Knot:

That seems an appropriate place to stop since the witching hour is upon me and I have work tomorrow…

Ah, were I courageous enough
To shout, Stuff your pension!
But I know, all too well, that’s the stuff
That dreams are made on:

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Toads

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