'I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out 'til sundown, for going out, I found was really going in.' John Muir

I've seen the top of Everest (from a long way off), smelled the breath of a whale (from way too close) and lived on a boat in Greece (for a few years), but I continue to experience some of my most precious moments right outside my backdoor.

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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Slow Saturday

I live near Mold.  It’s a ‘Slow Town’.  So I decide to do something ‘slow’.
I phone my friend. ‘How do you fancy a walk followed by coffee and homemade cakes?’   
‘Count me in,’ my friend’s a big cake fan.
We head for the village of Cilcain where every Saturday afternoon there’s a community café in the village hall. (www.cilcaintoday.org.uk)
 If there’s one thing I like as much as homemade cakes, it’s second hand books.  On the way in to the village hall, there’s a table piled high with them, impossible to pass.  After a leisurely browse, I select a book about mosaics and my friend finds one about Shackleton’s epic voyage.  We put our money in the honesty box and follow the tinkling sound of teaspoons on china. 
The hall is laid out with half a dozen gingham covered tables. My eyes come out on stalks as we approach the huge serving hatch and I take far too long choosing a cake. A queue builds up behind me but everyone understands my dilemma and waits patiently whilst I chose from chocolate, lemon, apple, fruit, brownie or flapjack. 
The café has a different theme each week.  Today there are crafts made by local people.  I chat to a woman who makes fabulous notebooks, cufflinks, earrings, cards, and art work from old newspapers and books.  ‘Everyone calls me the newspaper lady,’ she laughs, ‘people have started bringing me foreign newspapers and old menus from their holidays.’   I buy a beautiful blue-washed bookmark. You’d never guess it was made from old newspapers. 
On our way home along the quiet lanes I hear a familiar sound but one I haven’t heard for ages and I just can’t place it.  ‘What is that?  It’s like one of those swannee whistles that clowns blow when their trousers fall down.’ I hear it again and shout ‘Lapwing!’  We look over the hedge into a flooded field and see six.  I raise my binoculars, which have been around my neck all through coffee and cake.  Not a good idea.  I clean off the crumbs and look again.  There’s something about the cry of a lapwing which stirs the heart and makes me think of the wild moors and far off places yet here they are, on my walk home, taking advantage of the soggy field to probe for worms and insects.  Two take to the air, flapping their broad black and white wings and repeating that funny pee-wit call. 
A couple of lanes further on something zooms out of the wood just ahead of us, ‘Woodcock,’ we both shout together.  It zigzaggs up the field towards another bit of wood, its long bill pointing the way.
Red streaks appear in the darkening sky as we approach home.  ‘I could get to like this,’ my friend beams, ‘let me know if you plan any more slow outings.’

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