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purple thistles and 2 magpies playing chicken with a scary looking cow

I’ve had the most splendid weekend. It’s been punctuated with colour, delicious food, Kir Royale (nod to Grandma; along with the cherry tomato plant which has suddenly grown seemingly from nowhere after I optimistically prodded an old wisened one into a pot next to my ornamental purple chilli plant as a half thought-out experiment one evening) and laughter with old friends and new (2 weeks new!).

It was my birthday on Friday and my colleagues marched me out of the office at 6pm (“sometimes it just doesn’t matter that much Dawn”) and sent me on my way. And as a result the weekend has been long and glorious. I’m even blogging (first time in a while) so I think that’s saying something.

I’ve had some wonderful gifts, not just this weekend, but this year… and some are tangled up with a most handsome man who lives on a house boat. I’ve always loved living near water.. living on water is just one more step towards perfect in my mind.

As a result I’ve been taking advantage of his riverside abode to go on some gorgeous runs along the river. This evening was astounding though. I’m sat here in my sweaty running lycra typing, after demanding use of his laptop and explaining I can’t tell him about how beautiful it was yet because it will break the spell and I have to write about it first.

I was the purple thistles that caught my eye first. I hadn’t quite realised how elegantly pretty they are, but the rain seems to have sharpened everything. It’s been a schizophrenic day of grey downpours followed by summer sunshine, like the world couldn’t quite make it’s temperamental mind up what to do. But it made for a totally gorgeous evening. And the river seems to be swollen with burgeoning teenage beauty.

The thistles remove my blinkers and I notice all the colours around me and into my head pop the strong black lines and flicks of colour I’m going to paint a hummingbird in. Perhaps I can try with the pink orchids (?) and white little  trumpet shaped flowers which have exploded everywhere, dripping with rainy teardrops; something bigger and bolder to recreate the hairy forelocks and big symmetrical horns of the cows who are precariously tiptoeing to the river’s edge searching out the juiciest grass; I smell a sweet grassy scent which must be corn-crop related (it side swipes me back to age 14 and running between cornfield and the river with our silver wienerama Willow, her ears windmills as she bounces up and down through the crops: maybe this is why I love running by the river so much: I had kind of forgotten I did it all those years ago).

There’s a mummy goose keeping a watchful eye over her three young ones as they try out the shallows whilst half a dozen ducks do a swim-by in formation, breaking through the glass-reflection of the river surface, leaving triangle arrows of light in their wake. Two magpies do a daring dance around the legs of the scariest looking horned cow: it’s impossible to work out what they’re doing (maybe David Attenborough knows) but to me it looks very much like they are playing a round of evening double dare?

Then, just before the bridge, a smudge of two-second-rainbow to the left. A clutch of trees blocks my view and then there it is: the brightest bottom third of a rainbow straight in front. And it’s fading water-diluted double, right above.  A double rainbow to round up your birthday no less…

I consider the possibility that maybe this is what is meant, when they say you’ll find  a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, then stop to do battle with the purple thistle, because I want to take it home and paint it after all. It won’t come without a fight but my fingers have lived to tell the tale (just).  It’s a five minute duel and when I finally resume my run boat-ward towards prawn coconut curry and wine tinged kisses, a owl glides right above my head, so close I can see it’s feathery face and hear it’s wings. It’s the closest I’ve even been to an owl in flight, in the wild and there’s no doubt about it, even as my eyes well: its golden in the sinking sun.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Andy #

    One of your best!
    For the obvious warmth and barely-referred to deep down happiness…
    For the immediacy, so breathlessly written post-run…
    For the usual incredible imagery and vivid descriptions…
    More please!

    July 24, 2017

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