Friday, 2 January 2009

Daffodils out at Cotehele

Although I ignore the festivities of New Year's Eve it is a bit special somehow to go for a walk on New Year's Day. A quick note here about fireworks: there seemed to have been fewer let off in the village this year and by a quarter past midnight silence again reigned supreme, or at least I didn't hear any further unrequested noise! As usual on the TV news they showed the huge displays in Sydney, London and Edinburgh. Regarding the last mentioned venue I have a feeling the show had to be cancelled there last time because of potential high winds, no problem this year with the anticyclonic weather that's persisting although I imagine it was quite cold.

So to New Year's Day. Equipped with flask and picnics we set out on an easy much loved walk to Cotehele. One of the great plus points about the Tamar Valley is that one can arrange routes away from the hurly-burly of heavy traffic. In fact for us traffic is a massive quality of life issue. This particular walk through quiet lanes and on country paths feels like a throwback to an earlier less hurried time and is always a pleasure. Arriving at Cotehele we had a quick look to see if any snowdrops were in flower. Not yet. However we were more than compensated by the sight of a forsythia fully out (!) and what my more knowledgeable friend told me was a witch hazel tree. However the real icing on the cake was seeing a clump of daffodils in flower! All very good to see.

The Tamar Valley is extremely variable in climate and where we live is in a frost hollow. We normally expect the gardens at Cotehele to be ahead of us but even so the daffodils came as something of a pleasant shock.

As to be expected we came across quite a lot of winter heliotrope during the course of our ramble. I've seen it out for some time actually - I'm pretty sure that it is an introduced species, it is quite vigorous and where it gets a hold seems to swamp everything else. In all honesty I never think of it as the most beautiful plant on the planet but welcome the sight of its flowers nevertheless as an indicator of the seasons moving along.

There had been several days here with really bright sun but New Years Day wasn't one of them. However the weather was quiet and dry so one shouldn't complain. A friend nearby told me this morning that it was cold on Dartmoor where she walked yesterday, I can very well believe that. Another big positive of our walk to Cotehele was the fact that my friend brought some of her homemade carrot cake. Yum yum! And we also met up with a couple we hardly knew who hospitably invited us into their home for a cup of tea!

A day of simple but rewarding pleasures.

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