Sunday, 23 May 2010

Red Bull Footstick

Barrow beach & ford


Pinkeens at play

The road of the disappearing hare

This sunny Sunday I decided to go on a solitary walk, away from the tarmac and on to the old roads used these days by the farmers and their cattle. Walking speed is reduced to an amble once you leave the council road. It suited my purpose, giving time to listen and enjoy the surroundings; as well as to think.

I noticed cows with calves in one field taking shelter from the hot sun and a large bull looking benign, standing quietly in his paddock on the opposite side of the road. I raised my camera and asked him to look at me 'I want to see the whole of your face please ?' and he turned his great head remaining in pose until I said 'Thank you'.

My route led me to one of this land's three sister rivers The River Barrow, the other two are the Nore and the Suir which rise within a few miles of each other, to meander through familiar named places and join as one great river that flows into the sea at Waterford. The Barrow, perhaps named after the goddess Berba, runs a few hundred metres to the rear of our home, to a place where it is both narrow and shallow, providing a ford for sturdy tractors. The banks are about 3 metres above the rivers' summer level and a footstick leaps the gap.

Here at the ford I stopped. It is truly our nearest sandy beach, one that on quiet summer afternoons when I lived alone, I would visit with a book, my pipe, a bottle of wine to while away time in peace and in perfect harmony with nature. Today I sat for a while and listened to the babbling Barrow as it flowed over stones. The sound isn't constant, it has a rhythmic sequence. It was to rivers such as these that

the bardic-filidh came to compose their poetry and to travel in a shamanic way.

As I looked at the shallows there was a shoal of pinkeens, or you might call them tiddlers or fry, they were darting in and out of the shallows, I was very conscious that it was the vibration from my movement on the bank that made them quite so active and so I stood still as possible to get the best photo of them.

From across the other side of the river, there came the sound of a cow pumping water. ref

She was a brown cow one of those with baleful eyes, as she finished drinking and came near me, I asked her to come closer to fill the lens and she did. Following this I tuned and ambled along only to see a smallish animal running towards me, at first I thought it might have been a hungry fox, then I realized it was a hare and by the time I had the camera up it had disappeared from sight. Similar thing happened with a field of sunbathing rabbits, that as soon as I stepped closer they all bolted. Perhaps I could have a camera attached to my hat so that the raising of an eyebrow takes a snap; I am able to raise one higher than the other just in case you are wondering.


  1. The epic bull of Ulster? (white, though, I think...) Tie a camera to a bull's head - would it be more interesting? London police horses have them.

    Nice post, Mel.

  2. That bull's brother lives in a field near me. With their white ringed eyes they appear to be wearing glasses! Nice walk Heron. We've had to curtail our daily walks for a while; too darned hot.

  3. Hi Mel. Enjoyed the walk, especially love 'footstick' - not heard of that before. Reminded me of the discovered ancient walkways of the levels. Any chance of a pic of the eyebrow?

  4. Hi Mel, great pose from the bull:) Enjoyed this jaunt with you, Aine.

  5. Very enjoyable, Sir Heron. I like it when it turns all rustic :))

  6. Reading this gave me an enormous feeling of peace

  7. What a lovely peaceful world you inhabit, Mel. Your cows are very obliging as was the bull. I can just imagine the tranquillity of your walk on so beautiful a May day. I can relate, though. I have sheep with which to while away the time. They are very conversational and remarkably rewarding to chat to.

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful poetic way you described your solitary journey and loved the pic of the brown cow with the baleful eyes

  9. What wonderful little tours you take us on Sir Heron (with a nod to Nat).

  10. Wonderful post. That wonderful cow face almost made me weep.

  11. A beautiful walk to have right on your doorstep, I love the path between the field and the hedgerow. The bull is a magnificent animal and looks quite docile - for the moment at least!

  12. Lovely blog Mel, lovely photo's..You sure do get about...bit of a vagabond maybe :-)


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