Yesterday was my birthday. It didn't begin as I had hoped. The alarm went off at seven because the boiler man was coming to find out why it keeps switching itself off and flashing little lights at us. I would much rather have had a lie in but hey...
It turned out to be a little corrosion on the sensor that tells it the pilot light has gone out.
After some pressies and some breakfast lovingly cooked by F, he forced me out the door and into the car. I knew he was taking me to a far away wood. It started to drizzle as we drove there. hmmm
We ate our food and then wondered over to the map. He asked me which trail I wanted to do and I chose the nice easy one the went a long one side of the river, over a bridge and back down the other side. It had easy next to it and I suspected it would be lovely and flat.
Cardinham Woods is situated in the Glynn Valley. A lovely valley that is just so beautiful. Full of little rivers carrying water away from Bodmin Moor. Steep sided valleys run into each other. Covered in trees. The woods are mostly pine because they are Forestry Commission plantations but there are some broad leaved areas here and there.
Little Dog met and socialised with a few dogs including a Collie that swiped her side for no reason leaving her with a cut. She danced in the rivers and ran backwards and forwards and was generally joyful. The only times she was bad with other dogs and even growled was when she got bitten and also when I went to stroke another dog who had jumped up at me. I think growling is a fairly minor communication really. I doubt the Collies owners even realised their dog had drawn blood.
We happily trundled along until we reached a point where another trail left our nice easy route. F pointed up the trail. And yes I do mean up. This trail snaked up the side of the valley, clinging precariously to the side of the hill. I went pale and said no. It soon became clear that F really wanted to do this and that i would feel bad if I didn't, even though I didn't want to climb hills...
I had to stop a lot. The Mistress of Pain had taught me a couple of stretches to help with problem parts of my legs. I had to stretch out my ankles most times I stopped. At the top I knelt down and leant back to stretch out some other muscles, somewhere in my legs that hurt. It helped a lot but not completely!
Once up the side of the hill, the path wound around the hills at a steady height with only minor slopes. Once I stopped glowering at F i actually enjoyed it. The only person we saw up there was a Ranger doing an annual check to ensure there were no dangerous fallen trees endangering the path. And he was driving.
Amongst the pines were other things. Many dung beetles. The occasional fungus. I could hear buzzards calling. And there were other trees, oak, beech and then, suddenly, a little cluster of Rowans. These are not trees I see very often, in fact I can not remember the last time I did. They are not common in the areas I have lived. I have often wanted a piece of this wood for different things while reading witchy things. It has always somehow seemed the last obtainable. When I thought about making a tree oracle, this was the one that was going to be hardest for me to find. It is one that is recommended for wands and stangs.
So I see a little cluster of the trees and I say to F that I want some of their wood. Neither of us willing to chance the steep slope to get to them. We continued on. And there, at a fork in the path was a cluster of them, within reach. I begin looking. It was pretty hopeless. I told F that I wasn't willing to take living wood from the tree itself but the temptation was of course huge - to break one little twig. F got bored and carried on. I spotted a cluster of berries that had fallen and was caught in a branch. I took this as a gift, even though it wasn't what I wanted. Preparing to give up, I turned to move on.
And then I saw it. It was not a twig. It was probably a little tree, or maybe a branch of a larger tree. It had somehow been broken off and a couple of the twigs had started rotting. At it's base, a section the length of a think wand dangled. I broke the thick length at the bottom off to use as a wand but I didn't want to just leave the branch. I called F and he helped me strip the the twigs. I was bemused to find that I was left with something looking very much like a forked staff. I discovered that for all it's lack of thickness and the gently bowed nature of the branch, it made a very, very good walking stick. I gave silent thanks for this gift and moved on.
We descended the hill back to the easy trail and saw many beautiful spots. It seemed that most dog walkers took the opportunity to cross the first bridge and loop back so this far section of the easy trail was deserted. We found a little path that led down to the river and here I took off my socks and boots and dangled my poor sore feet in....
We continued on, past a beautiful old fashioned granite bridge. Past cottages. Past all sorts...
My exclamation halted F. I was a bit surprised that he thought such an eclamation might relate to the siting of another dung beetle. I had seen something on the path and I knew what it was. I had never ever seen one before and this was a very special moment. We have three 'snakes' in this country. The Adder is poisonous and has a distinctive V, I once had an encounter with one and it was beautiful. Then the Grass Snake and Smooth Snake. This looked like a snake but I knew it wasn't, it was a legless lizard, a Slow Worm.
It was a beautiful copper colour and it glistened. Reading about them online, it would have been a female that we saw. We took many photos. We watched as it decided we were not a threat and moved across the road to the verge where it nimbly moved through the moss and stones. It was lovely. A real priviledge.
We returned to the car and I squeezed my new stang in before collapsing in a tired aching heap. I dreamt of nice hot baths all the way home and couldn't wait to use some Lush treat I had purchased the week before. Little Dog actually lay down all the way home.
So we pull up and F announces I have an hour and a half and then we are off out.... I had my bath and it was lovely and then we bustled out of the house.
He took me to Carn Brea Castle. I posted about the hill this castle sits on here. I have wanted to go there ever since I moved to Cornwall. It was originally built as a medieval chapel, possibly to St Michael but was later rebuilt by the Bassett family as a hunting lodge. It isn't considered to be a proper castle because it is built on top of rocks and is classified as a folly. I think most importantly in terms of last night, it is now a restaurant. A tiny restaurant but a lovely one.
We ate Jordanian food that wouldn't fit into our diet plan and later the owner played his drum. It was a lovely intimate evening. Lit by candle light in a tiny, relatively bare room with rock walls, we were snug and happy and well fed. Afterwards we walked up to the monument in the dark....
A beautiful day. all thanks to my lovely F.
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