MIXED BLESSINGS.

I realised today I’d not been out on a walk for some time. What day is it anyhow?

Last week seemed fragile topsy turvy and the last couple of days I’ve been head down in the garden. I’ve finished painting the pebble dash on my garage and have cut down a Mountain Ash that looked decidedly unhealthy last year and has shown no sign of budding this spring. By tea time I was knackered so I set off on a walk.

I had two objectives. One was to explore a little further up onto the slopes of Longridge Fell putting some ascent into my walks and secondly to gather some wild garlic leaves and flowers for cooking.

The local cricket field was immaculate for ghost players.

It was a mistake to head out on the Chipping Road and go up Mile Lane. Half the population of Longridge were using this route and I was constantly being closely passed by heavy breathing joggers. I felt quite uncomfortable as up to now I’ve been more or less completely self-isolated.

With relief, I entered field paths near the top of the lane, Old Rhodes,  where I could relax and take in the views. I don’t think the pheasant jogging past posed any risk.

I wandered down a rough lane to pass through Little Town Farm. This is a mainly dairy herd farm producing thousands of gallons of milk from their automated milking parlours. A few years ago they diversified by making yoghurt and opened a farm shop, cafe and small garden centre. It has become a popular destination for the locals to lunch out and buy fresh products. Due to the Covid19 restrictions, the cafe and garden centre are closed although there is limited access to the farm shop. Thankfully they are able to distribute most of their milk to the local cheesemakers while you hear of other farmers having to pour excess milk away.

Across the road and I was heading down to Ferrari’s Country Hotel and Restaurant, another place affected by the virus lockdown, they are doing takeaways to tick over. This is where I was able to pick the garlic and also get a glance of flowering bluebells which I’d missed so far this year

.

The evening sun was delightful as I followed familiar paths home through lush green fields with the Bowland Fells in the background.  For supper, I enjoyed a poached egg on a bed of garlic leaves with new potatoes.

In future, I will avoid the lanes close to the village, why don’t I get it right in the first place?. The spring sunshine was a tonic but I was really unhappy about the number of people moving about.

Back into the garden tomorrow…

*****

Unfortunately, I’ve just watched the news on TV. I fluctuate between crying for the loss of life and the personal tales from care homes who are taking the brunt of deaths at the moment and screaming at the TV politicians attempting a positive spin on testing whilst the death toll has yet again increased. I’m ashamed we are probably the worst in Europe. I fear the process of coming out of lockdown given the previous ineptitude of our government.

What value human life?  Can Manchester United et al start playing football soon?

*****

9 thoughts on “MIXED BLESSINGS.

  1. 5000milewalk

    It’s been a good year for wild garlic and bluebells, hasn’t? On my latest walk along what remains of the Bolton & Bury canal I encountered vast swathes of them. It was quite enchanting.

    Reply
    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      Nettles taste like strong spinach.
      Put on your gloves and pick the top tender leaves, you need a lot. Wash well in a bucket or bowl. You can blanch the leaves which stops the stinging. The leaves are best when young and certainly before the flowering later this month.
      Soup is good, soften some onions and garlic in oil, add some vegetable stock, thicken with a mashed potatoe then add the leaves.
      I like the blanched leaves sauteed in butter with a little garlic and cinnamon. Perfect with a pork chop and new potatoes.
      Best of luck. Im sure there will be lots of garlic in the damp areas of your local woods.

      Reply
  2. Michael Graeme

    While accepting we have to share what bits of green are left, I’m also glad to escape the joggers and the bikes when I can. You feel nature more intensely when walking. Love that recipe for nettles. I seem to have a bumper crop this year. Keep well.

    Reply
    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      This beautiful evening I’ve been out on my bike on the desserted lanes to Chipping [if you know it].
      Hardly saw a car let alone a jogger, feel so much better for it.
      Though I know what you mean about the walking experience.
      I hope you can escape the urban landsapes for renewal.
      Nettles have a high iron content and I’m sure they boost your immunity. And they are free.

      Reply
      1. Michael Graeme

        Thank you, yes I do know Chipping a little – such a lovely area and base-camp for Parlick and Fair-Snape of course, plus an excellent tea shop! I lack hills, living on the Lancashire Plane, so lots of flat walking for now, but we certainly get big skies here.

        Reply

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