Thursday 31 May 2012

A Stroll Down Rake's Lane

A friend of mine says that photography is like golf, ‘a good walk, spoiled’. I suppose if your idea of a good walk is a brisk march through miles of countryside then my favourite evening stroll down Rake Lane won’t interest you, because it won’t take any time at all. But to an idle snapper like myself, puttering along the track looking for photo opportunities in every inch of hedgerow, it makes a very satisfying walk.

Evening Light - Rake Lane

Rake's Lane is officially known as St Andrew's Lane, but I think if you called it St Andrew's Lane in the village you'd just get blank looks, since it's been Rake's Lane since time immemorial (if you know why, please drop me a line).

From Orchard Corner to Rake's Lane proper, the footpath runs along field boundaries and the  hedgerows are filled with hawthorn in bloom and wild roses bursting onto new growth.

A quick turn left and we are on Rake's Lane, heading downhill to Grange Farm. Even this late in May, huge bumblebees drone around a few inches above the ground, disturbing leaves with the down drafts from their wings and the verges are filled with the rustling of birds, rabbits and other small creatures.

Not just a footpath, a bridleway too.
As we drop downhill we come to a fork, the track heads left and sinks steadily below ground level but before the hedgerows close in we are afforded a view to Low Hutton and the Wolds.

Canopied Path

The Grange, Low Hutton and The Wolds

These tracks, worn deep in the land and roofed by oak, ash, elder and hawthorn are known as 'holloways' which derives from an the Anglo Saxon term 'hola weg' - a sunken road. Reputedly none of the holloways in Britain are less than three hundred years old and this track has a feel of ancient mystery about it.

Holloway - 'hola weg'

Deep in the shade the photographer is forced to contemplate details, rather than wide vistas. Ironically the light is often better here in winter when the trees have shed their leaves, than on a fine summer evening.

Elder Details

Eventually we leave the holloway and pass back out into the light and follow the foot path down towards The Grange and The Old School House.

The Old School

Occasionally the unexpected turns up on this stretch of track, once I found an abandoned vacuum cleaner.

Proof that nature does not abhor a vacuum
And that pretty much wraps it up. Just a couple of miles of track but always an absorbing voyage of discovery.

All material © Michelle Stone 2012

Sunday 13 May 2012

Huttons Ambo Diamond Jubilee Party - 4th June 2012

Come along to Huttons Ambo Jubilee Party on Monday 4th June at 11am
The party is open to all residents of the village,
tickets are £5 for adults, free for children.

Programme of events
1100-1200 Fun sports for children of all ages in the field behind the Village Hall

1300-1430 Buffet lunch. If the weather is fine then tables will be set out along the road outside the Village Hall (the road will be closed for the event). If wet, lunch will be inside the Village Hall.

1500 Gather by the war memorial for a toast and “three cheers” for HM The Queen, followed by an informal game of rounders or cricket for anyone interested, weather permitting.

There will be a (cash only) bar in the Village Hall and adult ticket holders are entitle to one free drink.

Please bring your own cutlery and plates and if you would like to bring additional seating, e.g. folding garden chairs, it would be much appreciated.

Music and Memorabilia.
There will be a display of 50’s memorabilia - photographs and newspapers recalling the Coronation photographs – and it is planned to have some 50’s era music

In addition all children (up to primary school leaving age) will receive a commemorative mug.

All material © Philip Stone 2012

Thursday 10 May 2012

St Mark's Flies

St Mark's Flies
Near the end of April and the beginning of May, on those warm sunny days that punctuate spring showers, the country air is filled with large glossy black flies. These ferocious looking creatures drift in the air above the hedgerows, trailing their legs in a most menacing manner but zooming off suddenly if approached. In fact they are completely harmless and simply looking for a mate.

AKA Hawthorn Flies
They are known variously as St Mark’s Flies – because they emerge around St Marks Day (April 25th) – or as Hawthorn Flies because of their predilection to group over hawthorn bushes in hedgerows.

This year (2012) they must have had a hard time of it, for despite fine weather around Easter, the last several weeks have seen rain of almost biblical proportions and they have had few sunny days to fly and breed. Like mayflies, their adult lives are short, they will survive only a couple of weeks and will die soon after mating, however their eggs will hatch into grubs which live in the soil for years, until they emerge again in early May for a few brief days in the sun.

All material © Philip Stone 2012