I’m sure we all have our favourite walks, where we know every curve in the path, every furrow, every gap in the hedge. I certainly have mine, it meanders through the very edge of the village and then out into farmland. I pass two tiny vineyards, although really this name is far too grand, for they are merely several long rows of grapes between crops. Ideal for producing enough vin de table for the year. I know this route so well, I know where the wild daffodils grow in the spring and where the sweetest blackberries can be found at the end of the summer.
But just occasionally I take a different direction. Last Saturday, was the most perfect day for the end of September. Clear blue skies, really warm and yet just cool enough that walking was a pleasure. We headed out en famille with the dogs. Unsurprisingly we were not the only ones out for a stroll, half the neighbourhood it seemed had taken an afternoon amble and as for once we had decided to stay within the village as opposed to venturing off into open farmland we seemed to spend half our time stopping to exchange pleasantries and share a few words with complete strangers, but that is the beauty of village and country life, we say bonjour to everyone we meet and conversations begin quite easily.
There’s also an upside to walking around one’s own village, you notice things. A newly painted shutter
or indeed a shutter in need of paint! This house would have been the old vicarage or rectory, but it has been uninhabited for several decades now and has fallen into really bad disrepair which does make me rather sad. It has such great bones, I love the windows and the general style of the house. One day I am hoping I will get to have a look inside.
We wandered down tiny alleys that I don’t think we even knew existed for at least the first two years that we lived here. I remember a neighbour showing us a few ‘hidden walks’ one autumn!
Our village has a working farm which is situated right in the middle. The cows graze outside all year round. I often see the owner on his tractor driving past our house, when school is over for the day, his son rides in the cab alongside his dad, our youngest daughters are the same age and were at primary school in the village with him a couple of years ago.
This is not a fancy smart village but a good honest hard working one and most importantly there is a great community spirit.
No walk with dogs would be complete without a tiny detour so that they can be let off their leads and have a good run
And then we head back in the direction of home before the sun starts to dip lower on the horizon and the evening takes on a slight chill, just enough to remind us that it really is autumn.