|Fans in the Fens
||[Sep. 4th, 2014|10:03 pm]
The short version, because there is so much else I should be doing:
Monday was grey and damp, taking the start of September seriously, but we - durham_rambler, D. and I - decided to risk the rain and take a walk to the pub where valydiarosada would meet us for lunch. We parked at Wicken Fen, where the National Trust is trying to preserve and extend a patch of natural, undrained fenland, but we ignored that and followed the lode - the drainage ditch - across the drained flatlands.
It's a very green landscape. The ditches are bordered with sedge (and fill up with it, unless maintained) and lily pads float on the surface of the water. The water lilies were in bloom; I don't think of them as a wild flower, but there they were. There are willows, and some hawthorn heavy with red haws, and bindweed growing up every vertical. High in the sky we saw a marsh harrier (identification based on: what else would it be, here?) and a number of swifts (identification a debate between: look like swifts, behaving like swifts, but isn't it too late, shouldn't they have left already?).
Later durham_rambler and I collected gillpolack and delivered her to the Golden Lion in St Ives, where the party reconvened for a perfectly adequate pub meal and a couldn't be better conversation, and made plans for the following day.
Although we owe the pleasure of gillpolack's company to the Fan Fund, this particular bit of her trip was devoted to her own research, and our job was to show her what we could of how the region would have been in the seventeenth century. D. was in this respect our secret weapon, and put together a brief but varied itinerary, and the sun obliged by shining. We toured the Fen Edge, with a stop at Rampton to look at the village green, the old manor house and the thatched church; we paused at Wicken Fen, looking completely different in the sunshine; we dashed through Ely, on our way to Sainsbury's to stock up on bread, cheese and fruit for lunch, to accompany a bottle of Istrian malvasia which gillpolack had brought back from Croatia for us.
After which, it was time to come home (because we have to be ready to go away again).