Thursday, 17 April 2014
Walk 2: Bignor (aka a much more successful walk)
The weather was gorgeous and sunny for this walk and I headed out of the door at about 1 pm. This time I was using the Baby Bjorn, which babalu likes to be in in the facing out position. She tips her head back to look at the trees, all the while making little cooing noises. She will often then nod off like this - it looks dreamy!
I was in the landy which is good for these country lanes and drove the short distance to Bignor, home of Bignor Roman Villa and then up the steep winding hill which brings you to the ridge top at Bignor Hill which is both on the South Downs Way and the Slindon Estate.
Luckily today there was only a light breeze and both baby and I were in better shape nap-wise than on our first walk. We set off in a westerly direction along the track, which alternates between opens sweeps of classic chalky South Downs and leafy lanes. There were young bullocks frisking about in the fields (OK, humping each other) and I could see lambs in the distance too. I didn't hear skylarks, but could clearly hear buzzards mewling as they moved in slow circles high above.
I phoned an old friend, with whom I had walked 50 miles of the South Downs Way a couple of years ago (we did it West to East, finishing at Amberley) because returning here today was just so nostalgic - the same time of year, similar bright, bright weather and my dog, mooching along in front with the outer tips of his ears bouncing in rhythm with each other.
The trip had been a happy one as he and I either chatted or walked in companionable silence in the gorgeous spring countryside.
As I stood talking to him on the phone now, I looked out across a a bare crop field that formed a slight hill against the sky. Behind it, the view fell away to the countryside below, all bright fields of oilseed rape and pockets of dark green woodland stretching to the horizon. At that moment, across the field from left to right ran a group of around twenty young deer, their dark shapes and short antlers easy to make out against the paler chalky soil.
Babalu and I walked on at a comfortable pace and found a shady spot to sit and have a feed, in the shade of a brambly hedge.
What a beautiful spot....not for the first time I thought about how lucky we are to live in this part of the world and how great to be able to bring a baby up around here.
The logistics of the kit is starting to make sense too - the baby Bjorn is still the best carrier for the moment and the miscellaneous collection of bibs, nappies, muslin cloths etc seems to holding up too. I packed it all back up and carried on the walk. I ended up doing a big oblong loop which brought me back past the distinctive radio masts.
Once I had coaxed the dog back into the landy (he was keen to carry on the walk) I thought over what a successful three hour ramble it had been - with mood, weather and route all working in our favour. On the way home, I stopped at Charlies Farm Shop and, as I hadn't brought any food out with me, treated myself to some chocolate ice-cream. It came in one of those little tubs, the sort that used to form the backbone of interval snackery at the theatre, last seen in about 1989.
A good day out!