A carpet of buttercups and the village of Ashover in the distance.
We have been taking our dog for the same walks for twenty five years. Not the same dog of course, as we now have our fourth standard poodle. If you count the very first standard poodle, which I had before Nick and I met, that would mean I have been doing the same walks for thirty five years and am on my fifth standard poodle.
A carpet of wild garlic in flower.
Whilst being confined to home we have been using the walks close to home. With the dry spring weather the paths through the woods have been nice to walk. They're not so good in the winter when their muddiness makes them dangerously slippery.
We usually meet the same people on our walks. Many of the dog walkers that we bump into have, like us, been doing the same walks for as long as we have, with their own succession of dogs. Mostly we don't know the names of the people, just of the dogs.
A carpet of bluebells.
For the last eight weeks things have been different. There was much more walking traffic in the woods close to home. It was often really busy, making it hard to keep social distancing at times as walkers, dogs, horse riders and joggers tried to pass on the narrow paths. There were a lot of people we had never seen before and some dogs who were not very friendly. There were several incidents where unfamiliar dogs were in attack rather than play mode.
An old disused stocking factory. Manufacturing downstairs and living accommodation upstairs.
Then last weekend it all changed. As if someone had flipped a switch the traffic in the woods returned to normal. Most of the unfamiliar people, joggers and dogs disappeared and we had the woods all to ourselves again. Us and the regular band of dog walkers that is. Presumably with the easing of the lockdown people have gone back to wherever they went before for their exercise.
Possibly my favourite house in the whole of Derbyshire. Apart from Chatsworth that is.
With the lockdown eased we can now travel further afield for our walks and are no longer restricted to where we can reach on foot from home. These pictures are of one of our favourite walks which is a five minute drive from home.
The walk starts at a local pub.
It takes about 45 minutes or so to complete the walk at a steady dog walking pace. At this time of year the scent of the wild garlic is very strong as the woods behind the pub, where the walk starts, are full of it. It's a very familiar walk and it's so good to be able to do it again. We are not normally here to do it at this time of year. It's good to see it in Spring when everything is fresh and green, reminding us that if and when the day comes that we finally stop sharing our time between here and France, it's not a bad place at all to live.
Sadly the pub is closed but they are doing take away meals. Very good they are too.
On Saturday afternoon it was busyish, just like a normal Saturday afternoon. People were out and about, friendly, considerate and helpful. Most seemed to be familiar with the paths, just one or two asked directions. It was good to see normal activity on a favourite walk. A sense that we are getting back to normal is just what we need after all this time.