Gloopy golden gorgeousness

I felt a bit crocked on Sunday, to be honest.

I had a bad back from frantic cleaning, a twingeing thigh ligament from last weekend’s yoga exercises (which was an ironic injury as I was doing it to relieve the bad back resulting from too much stupid housework and stupider furniture-moving).

On top of those ailments, I had an achey right wrist – the unwelcome legacy of hitting a nasty pothole at 30mph in the summer.

But hey, the sun was shining and I heard the words  “Fancy mountainbiking in the Forest?”

It was an offer I couldn’t refuse, so I seized the carp, dosed myself liberally with ibuprofen and we headed into the Forest of Dean

For the first time ever, I wasn’t at all confident that I’d be able to actually get on the bike as it had been painful sitting, standing and bending over to tie shoelaces. Sometimes, after seizing it, the carp is quite difficult to hang on to.  I took the camera just in case I couldn’t get my leg over, in which case I planned to wander about a bit among the trees pretending to be a photographer.

To my  surprise and delight, riding the bike was totally painless – the most comfortable I had been so far that day.  The wrist started aching after about 45 minutes and we’d only tackled quite tame trails because of my slightly decrepit state but it was still two hours of sheer bliss.

The bracken was spectacular russet-gold in some places, old-gold in others and the beech leaves shone metallic like pirate treasure that had been flung into the air and stuck on the branches. The mud was thick, gleaming-gloopy and quite deep in places but nothing like as bad as it can be.

There were a fair number of cyclists togged up for a brisk chilly ride but noticeably no children. The dog walkers were all friendly and considerate, then as we approached Kensley Ridge (every ride has to include Kensley Ridge) I could see about 20 people standing around.

They turned out to be members of the RSPB on a birdwatching walk. They were all facing the clear-felled heathland brandishing binoculars and cameras in search of a Great Grey Shrike – known as the Butcher Bird from his habit of impaling insect victims on the spikes of bushes.

The merciless little fella is seen annually in that particular area apparently. It’s his solitary winter home – apart from the cyclists and the birdwatchers. He’s been seen for the last four years and was seen on Saturday – hence the interest – but we didn’t hang around long. The shrike had long since shrunken from his audience and there was a whole load more golden gloopy Forest to enjoy.

Oh and I spend a bit of time pretending to be a photographer…

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About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
This entry was posted in Countryside, Current Affairs, Cycling, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Gloopy golden gorgeousness

  1. Isobel says:

    More great pix. I don’t know why, but i just haven’t taken any autumnal ones this year. Now, seeing yours, i am not sure I need too.
    I was in John Lewis earlier, and finding myself in the photography department looked at tripods. They seem to vary wildly in price. Which one did you go for?

    • janh1 says:

      I got mine in a tearing rush so I’m sure there are tripods as good and better value. I basically shot into the London Camera Exchange in Chelters in a 10 minute lunch break and said “I need a tripod with a ball head!”

      Son #1 had told me ball heads were good and to get one neither too light nor too heavy.

      The guy started to ask me about my lenses and the weight but I didn’t have time for technicalities so I just pointed to one on display that looked robust and had a nice black and red bag and bought it. It’s a Manfrotto and is dead easy to open up and close up and adjust. Good quality, I think but I don’t know anything about tripods!

      This is it http://www.manfrotto.com/product/0/MKBFRA4-BH/_/Compact_lightweight_tripod_for_travel_photography

      • Isobel says:

        Thanks. I looked at the shop. That gives me a guide to prices. I need to earn some more cash before I start thinking about such toys. But of course I am already thinking about them. And a new television…

      • janh1 says:

        Well it’s a one-off purchase. You’ll probably never need another tripod. Three legs good, six legs unmanageable! 🙂

      • Isobel says:

        When the vet bills cease to hurt and more emily me t comes my way, I shall consider it. Actually I do own a gorilla pod, but I rarely use it.

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