Had a bit of a 'scare' yesterday. Actually no, it was more like a massive gigantic frightener! I decided to walk into town in an attempt to grab the last few bits for my walk. It's only a couple of miles or so, about a five mile round trip I figured. My boot insoles are a pretty harsh and unforgiving but generally brilliant as they keep my arches raised and the heels supported. After a long walk my arches do tend to feel a bit bruised, I suspect I've battered all cushioning out of the insoles over the past few years. Last week I bought myself some new 1000mile socks. They are thicker than the socks I ordinarily wear (being double-skinned) which makes my boots that bit tighter than usual, pressing my feet into the hard insoles as I walk. For some insane reason I figured I'd remove the insoles for the short walk into town. Prat.
Well, I made it about half a mile and had to sit on a wall for a few minutes...the familiar ache that is the precursor to shin splints was readily apparent. Shitbags. I walked another half a mile and had to rest my feet again. I spied a Superdrug and grabbed some gel inserts. They didn't really make any difference. My feet just kind of 'flap-flop-flap-flopped' as if they belonged to somebody else. I stared at them, flopping and flapping away like dead things. I hate flappy-floppy walkers, and now I was that person. And no matter how I tried to walk, they just kept on flapping. And flopping. What the heck?!?! By now my legs were starting to hurt up towards the knees so, like a real trooper, I jumped the bus into town....yep, and all the way back again. I live in mortal fear of shin splints, I had them from Shap into Scotland last time after the soles of my boots collapsed and my feet fell flat. NOT a fun thing and I'm not keen to suffer them again. Hence the bus rides.
Anyway, that was yesterday. Today I went back into the New Forest to see if I'd done myself any lasting damage. Inserts back in place, arches supported, aches gone again. I stomped (softly) into them thar trees and hit the tracks once more. Phew...looks like I've gotten away with it. Last night I'd cunningly taken a sharp knife to the inserts to give my feet a touch more wiggle room without unduly affecting the support contour, I think it helped.
So today it was proper hot n ting! 13 degrees of gloriousness with butterflies and hoverflies all over the place. I was a little narked that despite plodding along miles of woodland edge I didn't see a single beefly. To be fair, I didn't see many bees either, other than lots of very small ones in Dandelion or Daisy heads. Presumably Lasioglossum, but I didn't take any away with me and I can't do them by eye (can anybody??)
I did see plenty of these fellas though (yup all boys, the gals come out a tad later) in the open woodland near Bank. It's a Bibio, one of the so-called St Mark's Flies. I suspect it to be Bibio varipes or maybe B.lanigerus. Can't decide if the hind metatarsus is 3 or 4 times longer than wider, seems about 3.5 times longer than wide in the one I potted. The woodland habitat suggests varipes, but I'm not at all sure. Need a series for comparison. Or the females!
Ambling on through the woodland I heard Redstart song several times and merrily grinned away at the two males I saw. I love Redstarts, they're just so damn gorgeous! I think the general rule of thumb here is 1 Redstart for every 50 Robins. I had seven Redstarts, needless to say Robins are hyper-abundant! Also had a good few Willow Warblers, the odd Blackcap and...you guessed it...Firecrests.
Many years ago, when I had a flat muscular stomach and no grey hairs (it's true!), I spent six years living with a girl who had a horse. I spent a lot of time at the stables, hence I'm quite good at reading horse body-language. Note this pony's half-lidded eye, floppy bottom lip, ear position (and I don't mean 'on the side of the head' lol), that cocked hoof. This pony is SO laid back I think it's about to fall over! With that in mind, I figured it wouldn't mind if I checked it over for Horse Flatfly presence. I checked, no Horse Flatfly and the pony didn't even swish its tail at me. I left it, hoof still cocked and bottom lip about to drop off.
I arrived at Blackwater Arboretum. Still no drinking water in the toilet block but I chucked cold tap water over my head and let the sun dry my hair. Bear Grylls taught me that one... I checked the time, 4:10pm. The last bus from Brockenhurst is at 5:48pm and I was quite a way away from the bus stop. I decided to get my marching head on and hardly stopped to look at anything of interest as I route-marched back through the woods, across Black Knowl and back into Brockenhurst. As it transpired, I made it in just over an hour and had a lengthy wait for the bus! Good to know, I guess. Here's the view looking back towards the woods from Black Knowl. Plenty of Buzzards over those trees but still no Goshawk.
As a postscript, I've just nipped to the loo and looking in the mirror I see that my face is sunburnt. If we enjoy a good summer I'm gonna be properly bronzed by the time I arrive home again. Bronzed, fit as fkk and a couple of stone lighter. Ha...I hope so anyway! I was wondering where to go with tonight's song. Now I know....