The downside to three day weekends is the four long work days that go with them. When I worked at Mad House I worked four ten hour days and it took me quite a while to get used to it. It’s been a few years since then and I started this week wondering how I’d cope. Maybe if it hadn’t been sunny when I left home on Wednesday morning I wouldn’t have minded quite so much. The garden was calling but I had to ignore it.
The cool breeze across the Big Bridge was welcome and I was soon walking along the river towards the Boardwalk. Here the blue sky and sun glistening on the water made me want to just keep on walking with the sun on my skin and the birds singing in my ears. There was a certain amount of grumpiness at the thought of being shut in an office all day along with a little apprehension about my new role.
The wild sweet peas growing amongst the flowering grasses, poppies spilling over the bank towards the shore line and a haze of purple buddleia soon put paid to that though. The wild flowers seem to change every day at the moment. Something new to see every day. Wednesday’s offering was a beautiful teasel standing proud in prickly splendour and the brightest blue chicory flowers I’ve ever seen, they almost glowed.
It turned out to be such a busy day the time flew by. There was no time to worry too much either. In the first hour I’d taken my first manager escalation call, a Mr Angry who’d been waiting at a bus stop in the middle of some emergency roadworks and didn’t think the road being closed was a good enough reason for his bus not arriving. There were stats to look at and emails to allocate. Before I knew it day one was over and Jess was offering me a lift home. After ten hours it was welcome even if it did put paid to good walking miles.
By way of a change Thursday morning’s walk took me over Cobden bridge. On the way there exotic looking passion flowers caught my eye. If there was ever a more intricate flower I don’t think I’ve seen it. Clematis tumbled over a wall near the top of the road and I stopped for a moment to admire them. I stopped again to look over the bridge at the water and, once again, wished I could cross the road and walk through Riverside Park.
Day two flew by aided by a few lessons in getting stats from the system and the intricacies of the bus tracker. There wasn’t really time to notice the extra two hours and, before I knew it, Jess was offering me another lift home. The July hundred miles are going to look a little short if this carries on.
Friday was another warm day. The highlight of my morning walk came as I passed the fancy flats and looked down over the moorings to see three tiny fluffy cygnets with their parents. Hopefully I’ll be able to watch them as they grow. Passing Horseshoe bridge I stopped to admire the fluffy seed heads on the thistles and then it was on to another ten hours indoors. With Jess leaving early I even got a walk home, back over Cobden Bridge where some kind of sailing event seemed to be going on. A man was waist deep in the water pushing a sailing boat away from the jetty while a group of spectators stood and watched.
By Saturday morning the long days were beginning to catch up with me and the weather had taken a turn for the worse, luckily I didn’t have to walk all the way to work in the rain because Commando was off for his Park Run so he dropped me on the other side of the Big Bridge. Walking through the desolate park drizzle was threatening but not quite managing to fall. Probably I should have hurried but I didn’t. The intoxicatingly sweet smell of lime tree flowers made me stop. For such tiny, insignificant looking flowers they certainly make a big smell.
Then there was a black ladybird on the blackberry leaves, not to mention the first berries. They may still be green but it does show the odd black beetles I saw don’t seem to have done any harm. One lone gooseberry remains on the little bush behind the TV studio fence. Has someone come along and picked them or have the birds eaten them? The dog roses have lost their petals now but soon there will be rose hips to add a little colour.
When I turned the corner I was greeted by a wall of buddleia and Russian vine followed by and explosion of toadflax and wild carrot. Along the water it seemed as if the weather couldn’t make up its mind. Half the sky was black and threatening, the other half bright with the sun trying to come out. On the bank the first yellow goatsbeard seed head of the year tried hard to pretend it was a giant dandelion and I knelt to take a picture. Further along a beautiful thistle had me kneeling again.
Soon I was dawdling along the Boardwalk, making the most of my time outside. Here there were mallow flowers and thistles in waiting. Looking out over the river I was surprised to see more swans than I’ve ever seen along this stretch. Maybe it was a swan party to welcome the new cygnets. Right at the far end I could just make out the little swan family.
Someone recently said they wished the council would clear all the weeds along this path. What exactly is a weed and what is a flower seems to be a matter of perspective and I suppose one man’s weed is another man’s wildflower. I, for one, hope they leave things exactly as they are.