Dales drives and canal walks in the height of summer

SUMMER IS truly with us. The weather has been positively hot at times and we have had some impressive thunder storms, which has saved me having to water the garden too often. I am, at last, eating vegetables and salad that I have grown, and am enjoying that part of my diet.

A walk by Pocklington Canal proved just the tonic, especially for the dogs.

Last week I actually gave myself a treat, I went to our wonderful local arts centre and watched the new Jurassic World film. There was a young boy sitting next to me who seemed rather frightened at times but his father obviously wasn’t worried, and I managed to whisper that it was all right and we were in a dinosaur free zone. I really enjoyed the film, and found the total escapism was very therapeutic.

Last Tuesday I went to Bridlington, where I gave a talk to the Unison retired members group at the Moorfield Sports and Country club, I took the opportunity of visiting some of my favourite shops beforehand. The talk went well and after it I drove home, in time to take the dogs for a short walk before setting off again, this time to Nafferton, for a meeting, It was a long and not a particularly good evening and I drove back rather exasperated. The countryside did look lush and beautiful however and this always calms me down, and the sunset was most colourful. I visited my doctor first thing in the morning a couple of days later. She is pleased with my progress and is being most encouraging and helpful. I have been sticking to my diet and it is fortunate I like salad and vegetables. As I explained, I had never thought that the eating of a single prune would be the highlight of my day!

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After briefly returning home and seeing to the dogs, I popped in to see a poorly friend before driving over to Grassington for an appointment with my dentist. It is quite a long way and I always enjoy returning to the Dales. Of course the scenery is magnificent and even a delay at Greenhow while they were blasting in the nearby quarry did not diminish my appreciation of the view there.

After having a couple of fillings seen too, with a local anaesthetic required, I drove back via Skipton, then Harrogate. Rather foolishly I had forgotten to have anything substantial to eat, and the anaesthetic was wearing off and I knew I needed something so I called in at a huge supermarket on the outskirts of Harrogate, where a nice lad offered to wash my car.

I did some shopping and got something to perk me up, with a large coffee. My car looks great and I happily chomped on the biscuit. I did not realize I was chomping on a numb bit of lip as well. By the time I got back I was feeling a bit tired and it was not until the next day that I managed to get the dogs out for a long walk.

I went to the Pocklington Canal, as the water nearby does make for refreshment for the dogs. My Labrador was in and out of the water constantly, and the Staffie had a few dips. My terrier Brillo fell in twice and each time I had to pull her out.

It is really a quite splendid walk, and the grasses and reeds that grow in profusion are a delight. As you get to the less frequently walked parts, the wildlife, especially the insect life, is very rich. The yellow flowering waterlilies and the purple mallow and vetches are striking and the dragonflies and damsel flies flit enticingly like jewels just above the surface of the water. Then there is the meadowsweet that makes the air smell sweet and refreshing.

What was not quite so pleasant were the horse flies and other flies that insisted on biting me. At one point I noticed my Staffie leaping backwards from something in the longer grass and when I looked it was a grass snake, quite a large one. Fortunately the dog did not get bitten.

On the Saturday morning I needed a couple of things including a car charger for my smartphone that I am slowly learning how to operate. It seems to use up the battery rather fast. I took the bus to Beverley and found what I needed at a market stall and then got the milk I required. Once home it was back to work in the garden, digging up weeds...