Monday, 7 April 2008

Onwards to Summer, Backwards to Winter

Exmoor in April can be a welcoming place, if the sun shines. Last week, fortunately, it did. We raided the bookshop at Dulverton (mostly for Buchan), walked (briefly) on Dunster Beach, and took a more extended walk through the fields and woods between the ancient clapperbridge at Tarr Steps and the pretty hamlet of Hawkridge. This was the first major outing for the Squirmle in his backpack, an unwieldy rucksack-like frame giving him a splendid vantage point from which to pull his parent's hair, or to challenge his bearer's equilibrium by writhing uncontrollably with delight at the approach of a dog.

My cottage pie was a success, though I had not planned to make so much that it could provide meals for five more people when reheated! So thanks to Delia, even if she has since betrayed us by failing to support cruelty-free poultry farming.

I thought I had better take Lorna Doone as my holiday reading, since I have never read it and it is set in Exmoor. I have not yet got halfway through it: the sheer amount of verbiage is stunning, and I am not surprised that publishers have sought to abridge the book. Almost a whole page simply details the effect of the east wind on a fruit tree in the garden!

Our return home was marked with a fall of snow, which produced a winter wonderland on Sunday morning. Having at last planted my much-anticipated quince tree less than a fortnight ago, I thought that I had better tap it gently to reduce the amount of snow on its freshly opening leaf-buds.

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