Thursday 20 May 2010

Slow walking on a hot day

Come for a little walk with me, on this warm and sunny day. At the end of my street is the hill that was once a refuse dump.

At the bottom is the little river Ouseburn. Click for information on its industrial past and its current regeneration. Its source is located outside the city close to the airport; it meanders through suburb and park, past this spot, before entering a culvert to flow underground for a short distance. Then it emerges into the light to join the river Tyne and, shortly afterwards, the North Sea.

Along the path through the trees are the nettles, the balsam, the hated Japanese knotweed (grrrr...) and a great many birds.

Including a pair of kingfishers.

Too fast to capture on camera (this is not my photograph! Thank you,, but a delight to watch, swooping for insects, perching on rocks and branches, sometimes calling to each other.

The water is low at this time of year, and will soon develop a drainy smell. Still some tiny fish in it, although this isn't the spot where these jewel-like birds dive for them.

They perch for a few moments on rocks and overhanging branches before flitting swiftly further up river.

We walk past their nesting site and look back.

Sometimes you can see them returning to the little nest hole in the mud bank to feed their young. No sign of them today, though.

And then we are out of the trees and heading towards the allotment, the dog picking up speed ahead of us. There's horrible Vale House in the background.

And old Tommy, who lives in Vale House, tending his little plot. The river winds past our allotments, and sometimes, in long dry spells, we've been forced to dip for buckets of water from it. The allotments further down, on the other hand, have sometimes been flooded by it in the winter. Not always a tame little river, then.

Our shed has seen better days, but it's remarkably sturdy, and bigger inside than it looks.


On the way home, we spot the first fully-opened peony in the street. The rest will follow fast; this is a good area for peonies.

Outside many of the houses in my street is a growing bag that holds one potato.

Mine isn't here; it's in my back yard. We are having a street competition: Elspeth down the road provided anyone who wanted to join in with a growing bag and one seed potato each; at a given time in the future, we will bring our bags down to the top of the hill, where we will find out whose potato has produced the biggest crop. There will be prizes and a street party.

The rivalry is already intense. Elspeth couldn't remember the variety of potato that she'd ordered, and many people have never grown one in their lives, so there will be surprises in store.

When I get home, I find that there are two old codgers enjoying the warm weather too.


Sue said...

Thanks for sharing your walk. You are lucky to be able to see kingfishers, I've only ever seen them on the telly. Good luck with the potatoes, oh and any luck with catching the mouse?

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Ages since I've seen a kingfisher ! Magical birds .
Isn't it heaven to be able to stroll outside in the sun . And your walk is particularly nice . That tip scrubbed up beautifully .

Rattling On said...

Actually warm here as well today! The cats look enviably comfy on the bench. It's on days like this I wish I didn't work, but then again they're rare enough!

Fran Hill said...

Those cats have the life! And a cushion too!

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Love the peony photo. Mine have great fat buds which are almost better than the blooms in a funny way. I also love allotments!

Lynda (Granny K) said...

I enjoyed the walk! I've only ever seen a kingfisher once, in Bath, although i've looked many times.
I don't have a potato growing bag, but it looks like a good idea, because in the salad crisper in my fridge are some potatoes that are growing rather scary sprouts. Something must be done.

Karen said...

I love your walk and the pictures. Here in Greensboro I'm only a mile away from one of our largest lakes and I go walking on the trails there. But, because there are no sidewalks to the lake and it's on an extremely busy road, I have to drive the car (how dumb are we Americans?). Rather defeats the whole purpose.

I had to smile at your post title. I went to see if Newcastle was having a heat wave, but said 68F/20C. Here, I'd be wearing a sweater and grousing over the cold. It was 80F/27C; a nice mild spring day. I'll get back to you this summer when we our have 95F/35C heat wave.

Pam said...

Your potato story is bonkers! I love it!

I see your point about the yard. Compact. Pretty. But not St James's Park.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Thanks for the walk - your pictures are lovely. A contest with potato growing bags sounds like fun. Those cats know how to relax.

Catherine said...

Haha! Lovin' the photo of the lazy cats snoozing on the garden bench. Perhaps they needed a nap after chasing the mouse out of the house???

Marie Rayner said...

Thanks for taking us on that lovely walk with you! Hasn't the weather been just gorgeous these past few days!! I've been loving it! xxoo

Susan said...

Thanks for the walk...I am presently holed up at home after a knee op and missing my dog walking. Jesmond Dene looks lovely in the sun. We used to live in Morpeth 74-78, but never visited..we should have!

the veg artist said...

I love the idea of your street having a potato competition!
When we moved into our quiet cul-de-sac 8.5yrs ago I was told, quite firmly, by my next-door neighbour that everybody kept themselves to themselves, but of course, would help in emergencies!!!!!
Since then we have realised that i) they were convinced that we were going to sell off our large garden for building plots and ruin the peace and quiet and ii) the previous occupant of this house had a habit of yelling at husband and kids in full public hearing (a British term is like a fish-wife, but that does a disservice to fishermens' wives).

Once they realised that we are quiet and friendly, & have added a lot of colour and interest to our garden, we get on fine, and I supply Margaret with greenery to back up the floral displays in her church, but it has been very slow progress.

The irony is that I am the one who is local. I was born in the coutryside 6 miles away, lived in the town itself for long periods, and have never lived more than 10/12 miles away! My neighbours have all settled here over the years due to work. They seem amazed that I have a brother and sister who still live in the area. I come from a large extended family, but managed to buy a house where I feel the odd-one-out!!!

lovethosecupcakes said...

I can almost hear Scooter saying "Peel me another grape".

BumbleVee said...

I wish my weather would stay warm.... a few days ago it was +27C...which is of course, way too hot for the time of year....but, has plumetted to only +5C.... which is too damn cold!

Lovely areas for walking.....

just makes one think of living in the country la la........ la la....

Linda Bob Grifins Korbetis Hall said...

lovely in my place 2,
cute cats in the last photo,
enjoyable post!

Anonymous said...

Lovely. I used to live in Ripon Gardens. Good to see that patch of grass again!

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