Monday, 10 July 2017

Sunday 9th July 2017

For some reason, I slept in until nearly half seven, meaning I got up in a bad mood. Why, I can't explain, but it was one of those evenings when I should have been left alone to work it out. I can't explain why, but soon told myself to get over meself, and after breakfast and we were on the road to Barham, I soon cheered up.

It is the short period between the beginning of May and the first week of August when there is no football, so none to watch in the early Sunday mornings, only to fret if the sun was going to break through and some fine photography would be possible. Anyway, there is much to do; bacon to cook, bacon to eat and tea to drink, which means that because of the late start, come ten once all was washed up, the sun was breaking through and so it was time for a walk in the woods.

The Orchid season is nearly over, in fact just two more Kentish species to see open, and hopefully, Sunday would be the day when the Violet Helleborines would be out. Last year Jools fond a local colony to us, and so it is a short 20 minute drive to Barham, and a ten minute walk to the first clump. After the Violets, there is just the Autumn Ladies Tresses, and the madness will be over for another year. It has been a blast, and for the most part, great. But I will miss the trips out, and the thrill of seeing the spikes in flower.

Its just a short blast down the A2, racing those coming off the ferry at the lights at the top of Lydden Down; yes, we might have only a Corsa, but I know the light sequence, and go. Anyway, makes I laugh.

Soon after Barham, we turn off and are making our way down a narrow lane, a hundred yards off the main road, and yet a million miles away. Past the pub and onwards under the abandoned Elham Valley Line, and through quiet woodlands, and fields slowly ripening. I thought we would see many men in lycra on their bikes, it being a Sunday, but we saw no one, just a few cars, and we all acted sensible allowing others to get past us, waiting patiently.

We stop at the usual parking space, I grab the camera and tripod. The wood is very different in high summer than in early spring; darker, lusher. And yet with the logging, seems dead too. Only a few dried orchid spikes poke up through the smaller branches that have been left behind. We walk on, up the wide bridleway until it turns uphill, and there is a clump of Violet Helleborines.

One hundred and eighty seven I had hoped some would be open, at least at the bottom of the spike, but they had not grown much in the last week, still unfurling, and the buds closed tight. I still take pictures, then go to look for other spikes, and JOols finding another large group further along the path.

I walk back across the hill, down through the orchids, or where the dried spikes should be, but there aren't even that many Twayblade spikes either, a very poor show, and I fear for the future of the wood. I am also still looking for the Ghost, but it being so dry all year, it was always a very wild goose chase, and so it proved; nothing seen.

I meet Jools back at the car and we drive home, as there was a race I wanted to watch. As Le Tour had reached the hills, and a stage with seven climbs, and some unpredictable weather, the prospects for an exciting day were high.

As it turned out, even more exciting than that, with crashes, breakaways, racing, and rain and more crashes. I was exhausted just watching it, and so how the riders were, those that made it to the end of the stage felt, two riders at least ended up in hospital, but for the rest, a day off on Monday before it all resumes on Tuesday.

We have pizza for dinner; its easy, especially on a hot and humid day, and we can sup ice cold beer too.

And that is it; the end of a quiet weekend, in which we have worked in the garden, done some orchid bothering, and that's pretty much all you can ask for of a weekend.

No comments: