A Birthday Hike

Lugg River Tributary

Queens Wood From Mercer
Hampton Brook View
Erica & Alfred Watkins Stone

As I cast my eyes toward the River Lugg I’m struck by the tinge of green and grey shining bright in the July summer sun. It’s like a highly polished glass mirror that’s made up of creamy liquid silk flowing slowly due to its thick consistency. It’s not of course it’s merely a trick of light but it is otherworldly. There beside the bank staring at this mirror like image I sit with a gaze and am alerted to a bird coming out the bank opposite. It’s a Kingfisher or at least I think it is. I wait for its return, which comes moment later to my left further downstream. It perches, then moves and perches once more moving ever closer to the nest. It’s a deception strategy before entering it. I’m mesmerized as this is, not only a fabulous natural spectacle, but my first Kingfisher nest observed. Fascinated I convince myself that Wrens do not nest so close to the river in the bankside. Later as I walk passed Hampton Court for home I’m resolved to believe that it was a Kingfisher for although its Turquoise blue was not visible it being out of the sunlight its shape appeared to be that of Alcedo Atthis.

With a brief sit-down on a bench looking directly at Hampton Court from the rear that Paul and I once had a brew on I feel infused with the spirit of connection and respect.

I’ve honoured both my brother and the land having approached the walk with a mindfulness for all concerned. The end result was a natural spectacle that Paul would have enjoyed very much the very thought of which instils in me a tremendous love for him. It’s this love I came out to rekindle and invoke on the Humber Brook that flows through the North Herefordshire countryside we partly grew up in. It’s definitely been a healing walk, which I recommend to anyone in a similar situation in life. It’s demonstrated to me that the rhythm of the trail forged amid nature heals as it comes from a place that’s, not only in constant flux, but ironically timeless also. It’s where Paul and my other ancestors are and it’s to that timeless place my heart goes when I walk amid such raw beauty.

Written by Mark Jickells © 2017

Hampton Mark
Six Moons

As I dream it all melds into one the physical and non- physical, which is what happens in the dream state reminding me of where Paul is and where I will be one day in that place where good souls dwell and where memories abound.

In the morning I eat some biscuits, pack up my camp leaving it clean and tidy and go and thank Diane at Risbury court for allowing me to camp the night in their orchard. Diane was not there but her Husband Robert was a little impatient to get back to the Rugby, which I don’t blame him for. It was pleasant enough though as he filled my bladder whilst I chatted to his son. Bidding everyone goodbye I head for the brook once more only for the mill at Risbury to catch my attention on the way out of Risbury Court, which is next door. I had seen a photo of it online and wanted to see it for myself and although I knew it wasn’t a public exhibit I was willing to ask the owners if a viewing was permissible.

Walking down the drive way I am struck by how lavish the place is. This is luxury pure and simple. I’m not perturbed for I have what I consider to be my own luxurious life in the special places and spaces I find myself in. So, with a sense of my own value I proceed to the front door, which is open. I knock to be greeted by Colin a wonderful friendly chap who, not only gives me permission to view the water wheel but invites me in for a cup of tea also. We are soon joined by his wife Anna who offers me a shower, which I decline on account of not being to grubby and their Daughter Kasia who I remember from the evening before. Then I reached out to a young pretty blonde girl of about 16-17 years of age tending to the horse that Erica and I had acquainted ourselves with on the way into the fort above. She was pleasant to talk to out in the field but now here she was in the Kitchen. I hope she doesn’t think I’ve pursued her because the truth is I approached the household to see the mill. The fact that she is here is surprising although it’s the hospitality that shines through equally.

Brook Mill
DSC08374 (800x450)

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