Following yesterday's record-breaking October temperatures in England and the fact that, bizarrely, Our Lass is full of cold, this morning I decided to go for an early morning walk on my own.
Escaping the heat of the day and also unshackled from Cameron Binns, allowed me to maintain a more consistent, and hopefully healthier, pace. That's not to say that I was ignoring the wildlife, I just wasn't stopping to look.
Almost immediately upon leaving Tense Towers, I was surrounded by gentle birdsong from a Robin and a flock of Long-tailed Tits. I nearly trod on a Blackbird that was foraging by the path and decided to ignore my approach. Perhaps it was the green t-shirt, olive drab trousers and sunglasses that disguised my presence?
Once over the canal and striding through Linford Manor Park, I was aware of more birds joining in the audioscape, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, plus more Robins and Long-tails. Walkers and cyclists exchanged pleasantries with me, but joggers were single-mindedly focussed on the task in hand, burning off calories through their ears, to the exclusion of all else. Perhaps I'm being unkind, they may have been listening to a soundtrack of ambient mood music recorded one Autumn morning in the English countryside.
Using a road bridge to cross to the other side of the canal, I headed out of the park and along the towpath. The sun was becoming hotter and a few Red Admiral butterflies were venturing towards the hedgerows to gorge upon nectar amongst the Ivy flowers. A Moorhen clucked its annoyance at my approach and disappeared into the bankside vegetation, possibly to rant online about how, these days, humans spoil even the simplest of Autumnal pleasures.
As temperatures rose, the blue sky was reflected in the still water, with only a few con trails to mar the idyllic scene. A mooring of colourful barges and narrow boats could well have been a scene from several hundred years ago, were it not for the satellite dishes and TV aerials sprouting from their cabins. The backdrop, too, was changing, as a new housing development pushes ever nearer the canal.
Amongst one of the shrinking canalside habitats, a flock of Meadow Pipits took to the air with a chorus of shrill calls, then settled back down again after I had passed by. A few fishermen were sat motionless, staring at the mirrored surface of the water, and I wondered which came first, the angler or the garden gnome?
It was definitely very warm now, but I pushed on, rather than lazily sit and savour Mother Nature. Going under, and then over, another road bridge, I was able to access the Railway Walk that runs from New Bradwell to Newport Pagnell and entered a shadier, cooler world. The birdsong changed too, as I was surrounded by the turbo-charged piccolo calls of Wrens and a bass beat of rattling and grumbling Magpies.
Once I had crossed over the canal on the old railway bridge, the bells from St. Andrew's Church began to peal, and I momentarily lapsed into a jogger-inspired Pink Floyd soundtrack in my head. Nearing the old platform, at what had once been Great Linford railway station, I metaphorically alighted from that train of thought and returned home via Linford Wharf. Here I discovered that the faithful were indeed being called to worship, as Our Lass wished to visit the cathedral of commerce that is MK shopping centre. Oh well, back to the realities of 21st Century living.