Me? I’m just yer bog-standard glutton for punishment!
Talking of bogs, I’ve now discovered a really boggy bog practically just around the corner from where I am… and I never even knew it existed! It’s actually called a moor, and its distinctly boggy. Which is definitely a quality I associate with moors. Though this particular one doesn’t look much like a moor to me. Not as I imagine moors to look at least.
I sort of expect them to be wild, open places… and a bit desolate. A few hills and hummocks maybe, and some craggy rocks perhaps. But definitely boggy in places. And definitely open… not much cover so to speak. Whereas this one couldn’t be less moor-like. More like a woods in fact. Whilst I was expecting it to be more… er… moor-like. [Hmm, all these “mores” and “moors” are getting a bit silly now.]
But I’m getting ahead of meself.
So, to start at the beginning… well, not at the very beginning, cos how do you decide where something actually starts? Or indeed ends for that matter. It’s all a pretty arbitrary sort of business really. “Ooh, let’s decide to call this the beginning…” whereas the real beginning could actually be anywhere. For example, I could say the real beginning was when I was born, or even… no, this is getting silly. A bit like that “mores” and “moors” business.
Anyway, this ’ere photochum of mine (who shall henceforth be known as Garage Pixie, or GP for short cos I can’t be asked to keep on typing Garage Pixie… such effort offends my innate laziness) suggests we have a bit of a jaunt for pic-taking purposes. Sounded good to me, particularly as last time we tried to organise something like that I had to cry off at the last minute cos some damned lurgy seized me.
So yep, I’m up for it. But then the whole logistics business began to intrude. Neither of us wanted to travel too far so we had to decide on some convenient place where we could hook up. GP suggests two possible locations… Flitwick train station, from where she could pick me up in her car, or a bus stop in the village of Clophill from where ditto.
Knowing what the bus services are like hereabouts I instantly favour the idea of the railway station at Flitwick, all it requiring being for me to grab a bus into Bedford first as its my nearest train station. So that’s sort of how we provisionally arrange it.
But this is me remember!
So, bright and early Tuesday morning (and it definitely was bright… a beautiful warm sunny day; good omen for a promising little adventure) there’s me on the bus into town.
Now I’m not entirely certain what happened after that, though I have a distinct recollection of grabbing a quick coffee and a sandwich. But then, somehow, I seemed to end up on the bus to Clophill… not the train to Flitwick. Oops!
Well… buses, trains, they both have wheels and windows and things haven’t they? And they both have people sitting in them. And they both go places. Hell, it’s an easy enough mistake to make. Particularly if you’re me.
Hmm. Clearly a quick phone call is in order, just to let GP know that plans have changed somewhat. But would you believe it? No damned connection! Stupid useless cellphone networks… I hate ’em. (In fact, I think I may have ranted about this before. Quite right too!)
Arriving in Clophill then the very first task is to try phoning GP to let her know that I’m not actually at Flitwick station after all. And, joy of joys, the damned contraption works this time. Great. All I have to do now is hang around for ten minutes or so for GP to materialise from somewhere.
Sunny day. A few spare minutes. Well, gotta grab meself some pics, haven’t I? Though I couldn’t quite make up my mind whether it was going to be a colour day, or a black and white day.
And whilst I’m grabbing these pics, a niggling little thought begins to intrude. Y’see, I happened to notice, whilst on the bus, that the route took us through the village of Wilstead… which isn’t too far away from Clophill. In fact, it’s just a coupla miles along the road pretty much. And the bus stopped there (to let some people off, and others on). And I noticed that. Cos I’m observant like that.
More to the point, this stopping and starting in Wilstead didn’t really come as a big surprise to me. Cos I know that buses heading for points south along the A6 go through Wilstead. I’ve known this for years.
The other point is, Wilstead is only a coupla miles or so away from my village… adjacent to it you might say. Dead easy to get to. I’ve actually walked there quite a few times on various of my countryside photo-rambles.
The final point being, it would have been an absolute doddle for GP to just shoot up the road to Wilstead from Clophill and hook up with me there.
Which raises the rather interesting question of why the hell I travelled miles out of my way on what were in effect two totally unnecessary bus journeys? What nasty little glitch affected what passes for my brain to the extent that I was possessed by the urge to waste a good hour or so (that could have been far better spent slobbing around at home) and the needless expense of bus fares to take me in what amounted to be a full circle?
It would have been so easy simply to have suggested to GP, when we were first making our arrangements, “How about we meet up at Wilstead?”. So easy, and so convenient. But not once did it even occur to me. I tell ya, its difficult being me sometimes.
Just to assist you in visualising the utter stupidity of this embarrassing brain glitch I’ve even drawn a little diagram to illustrate exactly what I mean… cos I’m helpful like that.
Hmm. Seems I’ve drawn the damned thing upside down. Clophill should actually be to the south, and Bedford to the north. But what the hell. It’s fairly typical of me really (as you should by now be realising). Certainly helps explain how I manage to get lost so often though.
Right. Having got all that nonsense out the way, let’s proceed with the tale…
So there we are, GP and I. Oh, and Freddie. Let’s not forget Freddie. Anyway, there we are, GP Freddie and I. Off to our first port of call… Flitwick Moor.
Wow! Simply wow. What a super place! Though its more like a wood than a moor, despite being very moorishly boggy. Um. I think we may have had that conversation already.
So we traipse around this ’ere moor place (which apparently is quite unique hereabouts) and have a whale of a time taking pics and just soaking up the gorgeously tranquil atmosphere.
Seems the bog stuff there is all peaty and they used to harvest peat from it at one time (do you harvest peat? Dig it up? Whatever. You get the drift). Which is a bit of a coincidence cos some time within the previous few days I’d been reading something really interesting about peat. Snag is, I can’t quite remember what, or where I was reading it. Though I know I found it jolly interesting. Something about peat being kept under water and what happens to it when it dries out.
Anyway, there we were, mooching around this moor (more like boggy woodland to me), approximately following little trails and footpaths when we come out onto a road and there, just across from us, is Flitwick Mill. Clearly worth a pic or two. Freddie, not being a photographer himself, wasn’t much interested in taking pics. Hadn’t even brought a camera with him in fact. Though he seemed quite content to poke his nose into various things whilst we were doing our “Coo, I’m a photographer” bit.
Then dive back into the moorland (boggy wood) to make our slow and circuitous way back to the car. Upon reaching which by mutual agreement we decide its lunchtime. Aha! Let’s take ourselves back into Clophill and The Stone Jug for some ale and maybe a nibble or two.
This would be the same Stone Jug that I tried to con persuade two so-called “mates” of mine into visiting last time we were in Clophill… but they weren’t having any of it. Miserable sods.
Thirsts quenched, appetites satisfied (and boy were they satisfied; those sandwiches were proper sandwiches… doorstep wedges of fluffily soft bread enfolding super slices of fresh ham off the bone and lashings of English mustard. Just like wot I make when I’m at home), we start off on the second little session of the day. (Dammit, my mouth’s watering now just remembering those sarnies!)
We could so easily have gone back to Flitwick Moor, but instead we decide to pay a visit to Maulden Wood. Not quite as entrancing as the Moor but nevertheless a super place to explore. Though somehow we seemed to get hung up on photographing a combine harvester in an adjacent field.
In fact we spent absolutely ages trying to get some decent shots of it. On reflection I’m surprised Freddie didn’t get thoroughly bored with these two idiot photographers that it was his misfortune to escort but, perfect gent that he proved himself to be, he stood patiently by, occasionally exploring a bit of hedgerow or something whilst we did our stuff. No huffing and puffing, never a word of complaint, not even the merest hint of impatience. Markedly different to the behaviour of some non-photographers when in the company of snappers.
Combine harvester over and done with we eventually moved on to investigate what other delights the Wood had to offer. And I have to say, not being terribly well up on all this nature stuff (I know; I should be wot with my Druidic leanings an’ all; but hey… I’m thick!) my very own Field Guide to Stuff Growing Outdoors came in dead handy in helping me identify all the various things.
I discovered it has some minor limitations but for all that it’s still something I’d not want to be without. In fact, so useful has it proved to be in the past, and me being such a helpful little soul, I’m quite happy for anyone to grab themselves a copy. Totally free and without charge. Though feedback’s always appreciated.
One of the high points of our visit to the Wood, for me at least, was the dragonflies. Here again was a subject of which we spent ages trying to get some decent pics. Don’t know yet how GP fared but I’m reasonably satisfied with what I managed. Particularly given that, tantalising little buggers that they were, they weren’t wholly co-operating with us. More given, in fact, to taunting us and then flying off just as we were getting close.
But the real high point of the entire day, for me at least, was that I finally managed to get the definitive picture. Definitive of this whole photography caper, that can be summed up in one little caption…
“It’s all just a load of bullshit!”
And on that note we approach the end of my telling of this little adventure. For having traipsed around Maulden Wood time started to press and we began thinking of making our way back to our respective homes.
Now you’d have thought that, after having spent a week tramping miles an’ miles around some weird foreign land (well, Edinburgh to be precise) not all that long ago, and then having spent the day pounding footpaths through moor and woodland, I would have just about had my fill of walking. You’d have thought that, wouldn’t you?
But oh no, not me. That’s what I mean y’see… just a glutton for punishment.
So, having learned the lesson of my circuitous route out to Clophill in the morning (yep, I do occasionally learn from experience; only just not very often) I suggested to GP that maybe she could ferry me back to Wilstead. Which is exactly what happened, leaving me with a casual amble of a couple of miles or so to some special coffee and a nice relaxing evening… processing loadsa pics!
So to close, I guess I really should now properly introduce you to my new-found friend and our untiring ever-patient companion throughout the day, Freddie…
What a captivating little character!