I took my back for a test drive today. After the last week of sitting in cars and trains for long periods, I found I was getting a lot of lower back discomfort and as a longish walk was mooted for Monday, I wanted to check things out. Not good, I found. For at least the first 45 minutes or so, it hurt rather a lot, then settled down, but after that my left foot started to ache. I guess I won't be walking down the Wear on Monday.
I'd chosen to walk down in the Valley, taking in Borders bookshop (nothing of any interest today) and Poundstretcher (big bag of birdseed), then along to Sainsbury's for some marmalade and back up round to home. In doing this, I had to go past the open field that lies beyond the dene at the end of my street.
Gateshead Council recently announced that it was having to make cuts in the Parks & Gardens budget and one effect of this seems to be that they've abandoned mowing this field. It was always meant to be a recreational area, but as it runs on a sharp slope down to the road, kids don't like to play ballgames on it. Its only purpose really is for people to walk their dogs. And now it's becoming meadow-like. I love it. It's taken on that wonderful pale sandy-yellow colour that you'd have to paint with Naples yellow and some white (or maybe raw sienna and a lot of white) and scattered amongst it are buttercups, ragwort and probably a lot more besides. I really hope they don't find the money to resume mowing.
I notice too that they've stopped spraying the edges of pavements and here and there colourful weeds and escapees from gardens are sprouting in the cracks and the angles between walls and paving stones. The natural world and the urban are coming together like fingers interlaced. Bring it on!