This dramatic picture, taken two weeks ago, shows the effects of the drought on local field paths. That is a very deep two-inch crack running all along the path. Also shown are my trusty Ecco walking shoes, the most expensive shoes I have ever bought, but worth every penny.
We have now moved on to cycling, enjoying a round trip to Bures last Saturday. The main routes in Essex are frighteningly busy, but there are many lanes which make for pleasant cycling. Over the years we have been on holidays run by Headwater, where the idea was to cycle to the next place on the route on alternate days. We went to Burgundy some years ago, and more recently to Tuscany. The route used the strada bianchi, or small, unmetalled lanes, where these were available. Going down a steep hill on one of these, where the surface was loose gravel, was a hair-raising experience.
Most memorable was our trip to Norway where we hired bikes to extend our range from Geilo, a ski resort we were visiting in the summer. From there we took the train to the highest point, Finse, where patches of snow still lay about - in August. Here we off-loaded the bikes and used the rallerwegn, or cycle path made out of the railway construction road, to cover the forty km to Geilo. It was all downhill, and one just need a firm grip and nerves of steel.
While in Cumbria, I of course visited Linton Tweeds. I suspect this may become a habit. Off the roll, I bought this brilliant, lightweight tweed, described as viscose, but handling like silk. It is also available from Linton On-line at £22 a metre.
Then, I explored their remnants and bought these two skirt lengths from the £5 bin. I can see the first one with a black top and cardigan. The russet one fairly gleams in the light. Three skirts for about twentyfive pounds - can't argue with that.
Next, my first efforts at the spinning wheel. These are best described as "rustic," with every fault that spun yarn can have - thick and thin sections, over and under-spinning. I'm hoping it will improve with practice. I was certainly very pleased to master the art of treadling the wheel while drafting the fibre.
Finally, a bowl of our homegrown strawberries. We have tried to manage the weed issues on our strawberry bed by planting up two beds through black membrane. This seems to have done the trick.