Monday, March 02, 2009

Changing Attitudes.

I used to think how romantic to lie in the fragrant heather; now alas I wonder how many ticks are lurking ready to bite me in the bum and give me Lyles Disease. The heather on Exmoor on Saturday was bare and recently shorn and I was reminded of how we used to sweal – burn the heather to the ground - on Seat Naze, in the valley where I was born. A good swealing would do the moor a power of good I would have thought.

Sunday was bright and breezy so I set off up North Hill with just my pole, camera and phone (not working – flat battery). I told MTL I would walk for an hour and then turn back and come home. By the end of an hour I had just about reached the top of the hill which then continues for about four miles. I had stopped to take a photo or two but hadn’t spoken to a soul – unless you count the sheep, lambs, pigs and horses.

Next time we’ll drive up and MTL can drop me where I stopped, and then drive on to the end and I’ll walk until I meet him and we’ll have a picnic. The first time we had a picnic on North Hill my old friend Vanessa was with us and we drank rather a lot of wine. We walked down the other side to Selworthy to have tea at the famous cafĂ© but it was closed and on the way back, up a stony track, I misjudged my footing fell and broke my leg – for the second time. After this I realised that I was drinking too wine etc which inhibits the absorption of calcium and I’ve been a good girl ever since.

I could hear the lambs but couldn’t see them until I went to look over a gate at two pigs and a whole menagerie came towards me, expecting to be fed. And then I saw the lambs. This lot of animals were a very bedraggled lot but I suspect they may be rare breeds. What do you think?


Jimmy Bastard said...

There is no finer sight than that of a Scottish hillside covered in purple heather.

I still feel like I'm a 5 year old bairn everytime I set foot on the shingle tracks around Loch Lomond.

Money can't buy that feeling.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I don't know much about sheep...but I do know, shorn sheep is the funniest sight, oh how I laughed the first time I saw 'em.

PI said...

Jimmy: I regret not having digital when I was up there. How about it? A photo or two on your blog?
BTW my Scottish BIL - an ex pat - couldn't understand why we hadn't retired to Scotland until he saw the heather on Exmoor. Not that it could compare with the grandeur of Scotland - no mountains -but it has its compensations.

The Preacherman said...

Thay aren't bedraggled they're beautiful!!!!

So's Exmoor. Not quite on a par with the Pennines mind ;-)

granny p said...

I used to love lying in bracken - then they tell us it's carcinogenic - and then they mention lyles disease -or whatever it's called. Shame.

Lovely pictures below. You make me homesick for Somerset at usual!

kenju said...

Those sheep are a motley crew!

PI said...

GG: I've just realised what shorn sheep are:)

Manic: I know you know much more about sheep than I do but honestly their fleeces were hanging off them.

Granny.P I trust you weren't thrown in the bracken a la Mary Webb:)
My BIL in the States watched me walking barefoot in the his heather garden and then told me about Lyme's disease.
Sorry to keep doing it to you.

Eryl Shields said...

Isn't heather a bit scratchy to lie in, I've never tried but I've had the skin ripped from my ankles walking in it, and, what on earth is Lyme's disease?

David said...

I am so anxious to come see your fine countryside as soon as my obligations here are fulfilled
( no rush though )

PI said...

Eryl: heather in bloom is soft and cushiony - it gets tougher and scratchier after blooming.

'Lyme disease is an infection that derives from a tick bite. The disease has a variety of symptoms, including changes affecting the skin, heart, joints and nervous system. It is also known as borrelia or borreliosis.'

Not all ticks are infected and lots of my friends have had tick bites without ill effect.
If you are striding through heather or bracken its advisable to wear trousers etc.

PI said...

Judy: no-one seems to know what breed they are.

David: it is very varied although small in comparison to yours. I think Scotland would come closer with its mountains.

Keith said...

Walking alone on t'moors without any means of communication (phone - flat battery!)?

Tut, Pat, I thought you would have known better than that!

Suppose you had been attacked by lambs? Then what?

I take it that you had waterproofs, a Guide knife, a box of matches, a clean hankie, a shilling, a first aid kit and of course a map and compass (with a good battery in it!)

miss diarist said...

Whatever they are, they're so sweet looking. How I long for winter walks!

And I know you don't do awards anymore, but I couldn't help but gift you one over at mine!

Mrs Pouncer said...

Dont talk to me of ticks, I pray! I employ a burly woman in a siren suit to pick ticks off my fox terriers, and a hideous sight it is to behold. Also, very expensive. Last week saw me buying Gordon's instead of Tanqueray in an effort to defray costs. The Thames Valley never used to be infested like this, but the weary willies of the Labour Party do nothing to help.

PI said...

Keith: hanging head in shame. I'm great at giving advice and rotten at following it. One of these days I'll get my comeuppance but remember at a certain age one becomes invisible;) And I wouldn't step outside without a clean hankie.

Miss D: that's sweet of you thank you and I'll be over soon and put it safely in the attic with the rest of the lost ones.

Mrs P: great to see you. I hope the burly woman collects their poo also. Under those conditions I could almost face having a pet again. I know it would lower our BPs. I love the idea of blaming ticks on the Labour Party - the louses.

Kath said...

That's funny because I actually did get a tick while walking with my husband around Loch Lomond! And it was right after my husband said,
"You won't get a tick around here."
Yeah right, honey :o)

PI said...

Kath : that was bad luck. Husbands have a habit of being wrong. I wonder if Jimmy knows there are ticks round his favourite loch.

Jimmy Bastard said...

I might be able to find one or two photies for you in the near future.

We are away up to the Hebrides next month. I'll take my trusty camera with me.

PI said...

Jimmy: that'll be grand.

sablonneuse said...

There seems to be a general horror of ticks round here and the flea treatment for the cats is for ticks as well.
They say they prefer long grass so I'm determined to keep our grass short!

problemchildbride said...

Lyme disease? That's in Britain now? Man! I blame the Europeans. They are clearly behind it somehow. Messing with our sovereign British ticks!

Seriously though, that's really too bad. It must put a lot of people off getting out and enjoying the moors and hills and that is a real shame.

PI said...

Sandy: heather and bracken are hot spots. Short grass is a good idea. Once bitten twice shy;)

Sam: there's always a fly in the ointment. Lots of people don't give a dam and then you have the scaredy cats like moi.

R. Sherman said...

I've been away, but am catching up.

Love the photos, as always. I must get to your neck of the woods one of these days.


PI said...

Randall: Oops! I nearly missed you. Yes! You really should:)