It's been such a long a while since we walked together, so if you fancy coming out this afternoon, you'll be most welcome!
I'll take you to my usual haunts (you may have walked with me before). Just lately I've been trying to get into the habit of doing a brisk three or four miles every other day, fitting it in around working and daylight (and rain). Weirdly I keep bumping into the same people, no matter what time I set out; perhaps they just walk around all day? One thing I've noticed too, is that those lovely older ladies I often see, who manage to keep slender and bright-eyed even into their 70s and 80s, always wear lipstick. Somehow it gives them a look of youthful joie de vivre. I rarely go out without mine either, so excuse me while I just apply it...
Anyway, we'll go up to the long familiar path lined with lime trees which I know is three quarters of a mile long so it's good way to measure distance - and if you've come here with me before, you'll know I love the trees with their weird angular shapes created by previous pollarding and huge spheres of mistletoe hanging from the branches like Christmas tree baubles.
We'll go and see the cattle. They're English Longhorns, different from the Texas ones, with horns that curve round to sort of frame their gentle faces, and known for being a friendly breed.
The sky briefly turns a weird shade of yellow, with big grey galleon clouds, but I'm looking at the cow!
One walks across the field barely able to lift its legs out of the heavy, cloying mud. At least we can tentatively tread the grassy verges to avoid the worst of the puddles.
I want to show you the old wooden store (not exactly a shed, but more than just a crate - so I'm not sure what to call it) where they keep the incendiary devices. It always makes me smile to see the hand-painted sign which reads 'DANGER! EXPLOSIVES!' on an innocuous looking route that meanders between wide, tranquil fields and copses - but it's here they keep stuff for popular 'Wartime Re-enactment' days. At least that's what I've always thought.
I haven't been out to this bit since the Summer - but today it doesn't look the same, the words have worn off the sign, the structure is collapsing. It could be a den. Nice smell of woodsmoke too.
A bit too muddy to continue (I'm not wearing the right boots) so let's head back towards the road, but we'll take a back route, past the allotments. Down past the free-range chickens in their huge pen, who all come running up to the fence with their stumpy wings flapping when I stop to say hello.
Some dead sunflower heads catch my eye - I just like the way they look.
Plus I want to show you the lovely old signage that's been left on one of the walls round this way. Gorgeous lettering.
Funnily enough this is the first time I've noticed how well it has weathered compared with these adjacent, far more recent signs.
And one more sign (I couldn't help wondering if the home-owner was a Loudon Wainwright III fan!)
Now coming into view is one of our famed 'crinkle-crankle' walls on the left, designed to protect fruit trees growing in its sheltered curves. It's struck me just now that this view has probably remained pretty much unchanged in the last few hundred years.
Okay, we can join up with the main street now and stop off at the Co-op, I need to buy a bag of birdfood and some mushrooms.
Then up the hill and back to home, just in time before the rain.