Today we rested. We explored a bit on foot and did some chores and sat in the sun and it was lovely. The only problem was that Raisin started hopping again, but with a sore front foot this time. It looks as though she has torn a dew claw. After an initial panic about how to get her treated on a Bank Holiday Sunday, I spoke to my uncle David, a retired vet, and I’m going to keep an eye on it till we can more easily see a vet after the weekend. Raisin doesn’t seem bothered – she soon stopped hopping and hasn’t been licking it much. She can still hold sticks for chewing.
So once again on this trip we couldn’t walk as far afield as I wanted, which was disappointing as the countryside looks very inviting. Right next to the camping field here is a small fishing lake – or pool, as they are called in these parts. This morning Raisin spent ages sniffing round every peg – the points round the pool edge where the fishermen sit – while I watched dark fat fish, 18″ long, circling close to the surface with slow tail flicks, limbering up for a fishing contest due to start at noon.
Next to the pool is a small wood managed by the Woodland Trust and here I heard, and then saw, a lesser spotted woodpecker doing some exploratory hammering: tock tock (pause) tocktocktock (pause) tock (pause) etc. I found a small blue and black stripey feather nearby and could not think what bird it came from, assuming it’s from a blue and black striped bird rather than a groovy crow or something with a fancy lining we don’t normally see.
Beyond the wood I was surprised to see a field of rhubarb, which I’ve only ever known to grow in allotments and scrubby bits of garden, usually near the compost heap. Next to that was a field of runner beans, again a new one on me, and brassicas of every description, all sprputing from rust-red soil.
Back at base I set about mending the punctured tube from yesterday, enjoying the ritual of laying out tyre levers, repair kit, pump, special place for the dust cap which would otherwise vanish however carefully I put it down. I took my time applying the ‘Rubber Vulcanising Solution’ glue, letting it get nice and tacky before applying the patch and feeling disappointed, as ever, that the tube didn’t sprout little pointy ears and start saying ‘illogical, captain’. Then I lashed up the Vulcan-esque plastic bit on the stricken rodrest with gorilla tape, and will just have to hope that works.
In the afternoon Raisin and I went to see how the fishing contest was going. “Disastrous” said the first competitor we spoke to, “haven’t caught a thing”. “But what about those?” I said, pointing to the dark fat fish clearly visible thumbing their noses in the middle of the pool. “Oh there’s plenty of fish in here alright. Those carp are just taking the mick”. A toothless old man standing next to him said “Pike, perch, carp, there’s 14 rudd in there”. I wondered how he could know that about the rudd but did not ask. When the unhappy fisherman said “there’s more fishing tackle in here than fish”, I realised toothless had said rods, not rudd.
We returned for a stroll round the pool this evening, and to look for bats. Whilst I watched pipistrelles darting between the trees as the sun set behind the Shropshire hills Raisin did a thorough tour of the pegs, hoovering up tasty pieces of discarded bait. What would that be? Some of it looked like kibble/dry dog food. I suspect this will end badly; the tent is already full of noxious fumes and the night is young. Fingers crossed the dew claw will be OK till Tuesday, by which time we should be Alcester, sunkissed and with refreshed legs.
Ps the feather is from a jay’s wing I reckon, so groovy crow was sort of a good call.