Category Archives: mother nature

Whispers of autumn

Today is one of those perfect days, weather-wise, for this time of year. A kind of summer-autumn hybrid where the weather doesn’t quite seem to have made up its mind. And yet today its still unmistakeably Autumn.

I walked out of the door this morning, and, for the first time this year, I could see my breath on the air. The car windows were still wet in the weak morning sun. As I drove to work, leaving the edge of the town centre for the fields and farmland the sun was trying its best to shine through the haze, but not quite managing it. Where the road drops into the river valley the mist came up around me, clinging determinedly to the ground, and then as I rose again was left behind, revealing an almost frosty landscape shimmering in the morning sun.

Its warmer now, the sun has gathered its strength, and won the battle with the early morning clouds. But there’s still that slight edge to the warmth, the chill which cooled my breath this morning, and will freeze the dew drops tonight. That crispness that catches my breath, that waves goodbye to summer, and brings with it the promise of winter!

This kind of weather dares you not to feel down, challenges you to look on the positive side. Worries unfortunately do not disappear as easily as the morning mist, but you can still enjoy the sun meanwhile. Pleasure in the simple things.

And with that, since its lunchtime, I’m going outside with my book to enjoy the sun.

A hazy shade of winter

I like winter. Its pretty much my favourite time of year. I like the cold crisp mornings when you can see your breath. I like the clear blue skies, the dark nights, the snuggling up in warm jumpers and hats and scarves, the cold which makes your nose and cheeks red.

I also like the promise it holds. Yes, you may think I’m mad. Everything is cold and dark, the ground frozen, the trees bare. It barely gets light before its dark again, and in between often its cold and damp and miserable. But its in this very darkness and hopelessness that the promise lies. Its a moment when anything can happen, and you don’t quite know what it will be. When all sorts of things will come out of this emptyness, this darkness, and you just have to wait and see.

This year I’m trying to do that. To be patient. To know, and be convinced, that that frozen earth with yeild something fruitful. It is possible. The last year or two have shown me what can happen when you don’t expect it. I wonder what I’m not expecting this year..

Inspired by a recent post at lightbox.

A severe ticking off

Well I was out on Gower again surveying bracken (and some other stuff) today- I’ve been doing some voluntary work with the National Trust on the Gower commons, helping out with surveying the sites that are being managed. Tis interesting stuff. Well, to me anyway, I won’t bore the general readership with the details of Gower heathland management, that would probably scare off both my readers at once!

Last week I was out there in what can only be described as foul weather. You know that rain that once it starts you just *know* its in for the day. Well it was like that… when it eased between the heavier downpours! This week, complete opposite- bright, hot sunshine, surprisingly so even at 8.40am this morning when we got out to Clyne common and started work. And it got hotter, surprisingly enough. Much sun cream later, and I’m still a little pink round the edges!

So, a vast improvement you might say? Well yes, in some ways.

We had a scary moment today when we discovered there were rather a few ticks around, and picked a few off that were happily walking up our arms and trousers. No big deal, just a little odd when you think ‘hang on, why is that freckle moving?!’. So I come home, happy after a good days work, and discover a little friend happily attached to my skin. Hmm. All the advice I’d been given in the past involved things like suffocating them with vaseline, pouring alcohol onto them, or burning them off. At least two of which must look very odd at the time, and the third is actually rather painful! When those wise people say to burn them off, do they ever tell you how you do that without burning yourself?? No, I think not. In the end, with the help of the wonders of the internet, I worked out that the best solution is just to pull them off with tweasers. Which worked. All done, just like that. Amazing.

So there you go, if you’re ever (un)lucky enough to acquire a small passenger, you know what to do. Happy to be of service! (Note: this is not to be taken as medical fact. Ramblin’ folkie accepts no responsibility for actions taken based on the above advice).

A weekend in the sun :)

No, I’ve not been away anywhere exotic, just enjoying the stonking weather here in this corner of Wales this weekend. It might only be February (and the temperature early in the morning tells you that much) but the sun has been shining down on us, and lifted many spirits in doing so.

On Friday evening I heard the weather man say something like “very cold and clear this weekend, perfect for a day in the hills”. I sat an cursed my bad luck at not having the means to get to said hills, and then decided that, dammit, I was going to go out and enjoy this lovely weather anyway. So I looked up the bus times, and Saturday morning got myself on a bus out to
Parkmill
on South Gower. See the other thing planned for this weekend, which also made it fab, was an ex-Swansea friend visiting for the day on Saturday, which gave us an excuse to go to verdis for lunch. So I decided my walk would only be a short one, and I’d meet them there. So having got to my starting point by 9.40am, I had plenty of time for a nice walk along the south Gower coast in the sunshine, planning (and managing) to get to mumbles by 1pm.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day, cold and clear as the weather man said! After a short bus ride across the frosty Gower commons, I arrived in Parkmill and wandered down to the back of Pennard pill and up the sand dunes to Pennard Castle, bathed in early morning low winter sun. The sand was still frosty in places where the sun hadn’t reached, and I could see my breath forming clouds as I walked. As I headed east the sun strengthened, and was quite warm, and by the time I reached Caswell bay by about 12ish, it was fairly mild, for February, and there were families walking along the beach, children playing and building sandcastles, but only a handful of crazy surfers brave enough to test the water! The sea was bluer (is that a word?!) than I’ve ever seen it, reflecting the clear cloudless sky, and the tide was far out revealing what seemed like an endless stretch of sand. I could go on, but I’d never be able to put it into words. I have a photo or two which I’ll try and share here at some point.

Combining this with then meeting aforementioned friends, having a good old natter to catch up on the last few months, and then continuing to do so at home over dinner and a cup of tea or two, a lovely and thought-provoking church service this morning, and a nice wander along Swansea bay in the late afternoon sun, and I’m feeling more than a little bit cheerfull this evening 🙂

For various reasons my future in this part of the world is a little uncertain at present. Having been (properly) job hunting for the best part of a year with little success, I’m forced to re-assess my options, and consider some (sich as moving away) which I didn’t really want to have to. A day like yesterday just makes me realise again how much I have come to love this place. How much it means to me, and how much I would miss it if I should have to leave. There are other coastal towns I’m sure, and other stretches of coastline as impressive, if not more so. But this place is special, to me at least. And its on my doorstep! When people ask ‘but whats so great about Swansea?’ sometimes I think thats all I’d need to show them.