It is a cold, gold, old time of year as autumn readies itself for winter. Trees which flared like brands plunged into the earth, have lost their claim to flame; embered leaves, dead and dusty now, tumbling over their roots while grey hawthorn hedges twist and turn in the low slung sunshine thrown splendid across the fields. I thought: "I live in the country. I'll go for a walk."
I have a copy of a map from 200 years ago, the fields named: Wheat Riggs, Bottle Banks, Gin Quarter, Old Cow Pasture, Kings Chambers. Wells and a windmill, limestone quarries where once men gouged out the land, all etched in ink. I like history on the page or on the ground. I thought: "I shall walk around Barley Close to the pool where marsh grasses grow and deer drink and once there was a ford." I walked down the winding lane and over the rough ground edging the new sown crop, the land sliding out to the horizoned Cheviot hills, till I found the blue green pool water, bullrushes and reeds swaying in the picked up hurly burly wind. I walked around the pool, its leaf beach empty of deer, slender grey trees and dead nettles guarding the privacy of a lost and ancient Britain. My way blocked, I scrambled onto a lichen painted fencepost to better clear the strung out barbed wire. I paused, considered, jumped; my ankle turned on the rutted ground and I thought: "You just cannot trust the countryside." I limped slowly back to the cottage and the present. I think I may have sprained my ankle.