My walks and cycling have been curtailed for some weeks, thanks to something I did to my ankle (not sure what but it stopped me going anywhere far) which took forever to get better and then getting a nasty little cold. But yesterday, after days of patchy rain, the sun shone and we went across the border to one of our favourite circuits. We had the usual quiet adventures which make us happy; ogling an empty (and gorgeous) old stone house and imagining what we would do with if it were ours...spotting fat brown trout in the crystal clear waters of a stream...finding a Victorian bottle bank on someone's land, naughtily trespassing to investigate and the ensuing disappointment of discovering it all broken.
However, these little joys were eclipsed by the proliferation of butterflies, enjoying the muggy heat. This estate leaves strips of 'scrub' for wildlife and they are havens for once common species, now sadly not-so-common. I haven't seen so many butterflies in one place for a long time, and set about 'catching' them - in the nicest possible way.
Today I was not so lucky with the weather. It was nice enough, when my trusty/rusty old bike, Hercules and I set off for a quick jaunt round the lanes.
We are so close to the county border that I can switch in and out of Oxfordshire/Gloucestershire within a few miles of cycling. By the time I was in Gloucestershire, the monstrous dark clouds which had been glooming behind me, finally caught up and the skies opened. Not much to do except keep pedalling. The clouds chased me all the way back into Oxfordshire.
Despite being soaked through, I still enjoyed the contrast of the brightly lit landscape against dark skies. By the time I was nearing the woods, there was a bit of thunder and lightning thrown in, for extra excitement.
Had to get off to walk round these puddles. The holey tree on the right is what we call the 'hornet tree' - where we once watched the goings on of busy hornets, and a couple of years later found the remnants of honeycomb which had dropped down the trunk.
Drenched as I was, I felt a pang of sympathy for the farmer trying to cut his hay; like me he must have started when the sun was out, and like me, he'd been caught out.
The wind decided to get up, and if anything, the rain came down even harder. I cycled the last couple of miles home soaked to the skin and water almost blinding my eyes.
Naturally, by the time I was back in the village, it had stopped.