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April light, saints alive and time travel

It’s been a strange weekend.

It started when the Vikings came to town.

They seemed a nice bunch of lads the night before when they’d been supping ale with the locals and dancing on the village green. They’d brought their own tents so it wasn’t far for them to stagger afterwards, so that they’d be ready for the big fight on Sunday. They might have been a motley bunch, but they were dedicated to their craft, and put on a good show and since it was Easter Sunday, they did their own version of arising from the dead without any discernible wounds to show. St George was there as well, along with his trusty steed – except it was a she, not a he – St George that is, which was a little odd, but no one seemed to mind much. The dragon turned up as well, I’m not sure what sex that was,  but I must say, that after watching enough sword and sorcery movies over the years, I was expecting something, a little more, well, scary, really. Something with real teeth, and claws. Or at least some smoke. And not a painted cardboard box head, and a green blanket for a body, and the legs of two guys underneath, in shorts. But still, it was good for the village, and fun for the kids, and everyone seemed to turn out, so a good community spirit for the big weekend combining Easter and St Georges Day.

I was happy to have the weekend off from painting. Well, actually it became a good DIY weekend, and some long awaited jobs got done around the house, which will make my life easier in the long run, and I’m all for that.

So, that left today. A bank holiday, and nothing planned. No friends to see, no day out planned. And certainly not taking the car anywhere near the sea since the roads are always gridlocked on days like this. But the sun shining brightly as it has done for the last three weeks, and the day beckoning me out…..

I needed a walk. Somewhere without bank holiday crowds, or the need for a vehicle.

I left the house with camera in hand, just in tee shirt, jeans and walking boots, and headed out of the village, into the late afternoon sunshine, following a route I’ve done many times since I moved here. Along past the old cottages, past other houses large and small, and up along the side of the road out and up the hill, and it was at that point that I veered off to the left up a footpath, new for me, following it until it crossed another, and then became a bridle path, and then came to another. I turned right, up the hill, and stopped at the side of a blue bell wood, the flowers full and delicately scented in the warm April air, the light low through the trees casting diagonal shadows through the long grass.  After a moments pause, to admire the interplay of light, I carried on along the wide dusty path, seeing a small cottage in the valley below me, and coming to a jumble of an ancient farm ahead, the path veering off again to the right, and across a small field, and over a stile, and diagonal over the next meadow to the hedge, and then I could see where I was headed as I recognised the familiar road again. Too soon to head home yet though, and I turned right along a bumpy track and dissected the path I’d followed about forty minutes earlier and this time went down the hill, along the dusty track towards the edge of the large bluebell wood. I didn’t want to enter it, as I shall save it for another day in the near future. I wanted to see where the track was leading me, it went on, beckoning me at each turn, drawing me on, the sunlight on the ground interspersed with shadows from the trees and hedges at the side of the pathway. It was wide enough for me to walk easily, and I carried on, and on, taking photos as I went, of the trees, and the light, and the bluebells. There were many other interesting paths off on either side, and I will happily investigate them on future walks. But today, was about this dusty walkway, and where it went….
Onwards, into the sun….. the time gently wore on….. the countryside lush and green on either side…

And as I turned a bend, I came across one of the things that I had least expected. If I’d expected anything…


What the f……. ! Er, what are yooooou doing here…….?
The bison just looked back at me, with the blank stare of being used to being there, and not as perturbed at seeing me, as I was of seeing them. I stood for a while, since I don’t recall seeing them in the flesh before, and then I carried on with a smile, aware that the next field was full of deer, and amazingly the one after that was full of lamas. Where on earth have I walked toooooooooooo?! I know it was a long walk, and a long track, but still, not as far as the Americas, surely!? LOL

I had to turn back at that stage, unfortunately, and leave that question for another day. It was getting late, and I noted the time and headed back the way I’d come, taking loads more photos as I went, in raptures over the low light, and the sunlight back lighting the leaves through the trees. Wow! I want to paint all of them, I am sooooooo inspired to paint everything I see…….!!!!!!
The magic of the weekend wasn’t the dragon, or St George being a woman, or the fighting vikings coming back from the dead, or even finding bison where you least expect them in the middle of the English countryside.

No, the magic, for me, was the light, low and bright, through the leaves on the trees….casting its magic for an artist to see!