Roachside Cottage

Part of the living landscape of the Roaches

Peak District National Park - Upper Hulme, Nr Leek ST13 8UB

Having spent my entire life living in the North of England (well, sometimes it felt like I was living in a succession of Premier Inns during the later part of my working life), I’ve always been a bit mystified that some people, especially Southern people, regard August as High Summer.

For me, August is very much “back end”, everything we’ve managed to get to flower in the garden has done it’s thing and the blooms are now decaying and distinctly past their best. The endless evening light of June and July is a vanishing vision in the rear view mirror of another year passing. The warmth has gone from the morning and evening sun and when we wake in the morning, it’s still only half-light.

Thus it was this morning, the moon was still high and very visible in the sky when one of us poked a head out of the bedroom window. The valley floor below us was filled with a grey mist. There was the unmistakable smell of autumn on the still air …..and it was chilly. Very chilly! But it was also dry and the sky was promising some sunshine.

So it was, a good 4.5 mile walk after breakfast, followed by a litter-pick and down to Leek to get some food shopping done. The air warmed up nicely and it was a lovely day.

After unpacking the bags and stuffing the fridge, we decided to have a wander round Buxton Country Park for the last bit of the afternoon.

As I was ambling up to Solomon’s Temple, thinking deep thoughts and reflecting on the meaning of life, Scout was whizzing back and forth in the undergrowth either side the track – as she always is.

Then I noticed that she’d taken on a strange green, lumpy appearance. At first, I thought it was the dappled light coming through the trees, but no, she really had become green all over and not at all the sleek spaniel I’d come out with.

She was absolutely “caked” with bindweed seeds. Thousands and thousands of them, tangled deeply into her ginger coat and clumped like hedgehogs in her flappy ears.

As we walked, all those people who normally show signs of affection for this affable spaniel, stared and recoiled in horror as this hideous green, hairy lump shambled towards them.

It took a full hour with the wire grooming brushes (which oddly were in the back of the car), to tease out these hideous things. So, if you arrive on the car park at Pooles Cavern anytime soon and spot what looks like a circular brown/green doormat-like object on the floor, well, now you know……


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