I set out this morning in an elated mood, Northampton Saints having confounded their critics by pulling off a remarkable victory against Ulster at their Ravenhill stronghold.
I headed for The Twistle (the road has a sharp twist towards its western end and this may account for the odd name) and crossed into Muddy Lane.
The more official name for this track is Pit Lane but few villagers call it that and, as my photograph shows, the unofficial name is very appropriate. I should emphasise that the lane usually looks like this at the height of summer! It is bordered by a variety of shrubs and trees but nothing of real note. Elm continues to throw up new growth every year but invariably dies off at about the height of two metres - Dutch Elm Disease is still very much with us. My photograph above shows the peculiar corky ridges which make Elm so easily recognised.
The sun was shining brightly but, as it is so low in the sky at this time of the year, it gave out little warmth. A few Winter Gnats danced in safety around some rose briars. I had badly torn my sweep net in a similar situation a few days previously so I made no attempt to catch any. I did make a desultory sweep over some dead grass heads but all I came up with was an immature Larinioides cornutus - a common orb-weaving spider and nothing to set the heart racing. A Robin watched my efforts; it will need more success than I enjoyed if it is not to go hungry. A Heron passed overhead from the direction of Boddington Reservoir where it had doubtless been for an early morning fishing session.
Not all walks produce noteworthy observations but, what did it matter...The Saints had won!