In the gloomy last days of December 2019, we became slightly stir-crazy. We headed aimlessly out on the Saturday, to the top of the street and round onto The Buttress. Phil started climbing. I reluctantly followed, not sure I would scale the whole length. We ascended slowly, stopping to examine interesting detritus atop the stone wall, miniscule moss flowers and mushrooms that resembled jelly. Majestic sycamore towered above us.
The top proved within easier reach than I’d imagined. We turned right along the road overlooking the valley before descending into Lee Wood. To our right, damp copper leaves carpeted the ground. A variety of fungi and lichen covering felled trunks added splashes of bright green and yellow. Grey squirrels scampered among rocks and trees. My attempts at wildlife photography were predictably dire.
Following the track all the way down to the posh horse farm, we wound down to the river and stayed on the right side of path for a change, passing the bowling hut.
Fast water dotted with iron-rich foam gushed downstream. Further on, cushions of moss adorned chopped trees. The rotten stump I’d been documenting for years had all but gone.
We crossed Foster Mill Bridge and giggled at a garishly orange paper lantern hanging from a tee above a collection of random items, suggesting that interest in the ‘community garden’ had lapsed somewhat.
We proceeded down Valley Road and noted the re-appearance of an antiques centre. Curious, we entered for a nosey to find a random selection of oddities. I wondered if it was the guy who had a stall on the weekly tat market. By the time we reached town, it was almost dark. We eschewed the overcrowded Oldgate Inn in favour of a late lunch back home.