Archives for the month of: July, 2013

The Ministry of Defense shot flares into the sky to hang like Christmas tree glow-worms over the night black sea, and set fire to the grass the next day.

I had a box of flapjack and enough money for the bus fare home, it was a hundred and one miles from Amroth to Broadhaven and Rob couldn’t join me at the weekend. By day I beat hot paths through yellow wheat shot through purple sometimes, with vetch and valerian and devils-bit-scabious. There were foxes in the fields, there were toads on the track, (swollen and stubborn) and potatoes lost in the dust.

pembrokeshireI got heat rhythm, walking slow and soft by the glimmer sea and biscuit cliffs. Black islands, black cormorants, the sea was so clear reflections of bubbles danced over the sand when I swam. I waited for languid water to slide from the stepping stones while the estuary mud bubbled and shlucked, crossed the river and walked under the moon sailing high over the gloaming boats, I slept on the beaches.

And I slept at Brownslate Farm where Pam (75) and John (80) were pruning roses. They gave me apple juice in the kitchen where tinned apricot light wobbled on the brown wallpaper, and ‘we’re delighted to meet you!‘ they say, ‘it’s the first time since 1976 we’ve got all the hay in so early‘. They have a Hawkwind poster on their bathroom wall.

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It’s because it’s primal maybe, that the heat feels so good. To walk naked across the field, the air muffle-thick and buzzing, throbbing, pulsing with insects.

To feel tickle grass scratchings and the sting of nettles and gnats, the kiss of sun slide and sweat on bare skin. The anticipation of biscuit warm earth and mud coolth under bare feet stepping soft on sharp stones and smooth stones.

NakedWe swim in the clear river where in the always-shade a deep pool is sluiced tumbling between water washed rocks, where light dances green on the water through the dapple-leaves, where the black banks hide secrets and ferns tremble and copper spills at otter level and the water is ICE COLD and we get straight out. But it’s worth it for the scream on the skin, and the fizzing.

We were invited to Northumberland, a place of hills and hare fields. Poppies bled crimson into the big cloud sky when we walked to the sea at the edges of hedges.

LindisfarneWe joined St. Cuthberts Way at the Cheviots and followed it over cotton grass moors in a muffled kind of warmth, though by evening the sky was clear and the sun syrup gold. By evening we were long past Wooler, in empty lanes that felt likeĀ Silent Spring never happened. Hares raced through fields, lapwings squeaked overhead like dog toy-bones and yellowhammers danced on the track. We ate pies by a gate and watched a roe deer swim through green wheat, her head just visible; she paused, looked around, she moved on unhurried and graceful.

We camped on bracken from where I saw an orange smoke dawn over Lindisfarne which we reached next day barefoot, wading through warm sea and following the wooden posts buried in the sand to guide walkers.