My book Walking into Alchemy: The Transformative Power of Nature, has just been accepted for publication by Mereo Books of Cirencester. I have just received my first edited extracts. Therefore, I am offering today an extract from my book from 27th August 2016, if you like it please tell me and please let me know if I can put you on a waiting list to be one of the first people to get hold of a copy of my book:
In the very early hours of the morning I am awaken by very loud gunshots, but after a while they subside and no emergency service sirens sound, so I drift back to sleep. At 7.30 a.m. it is once again hushed and still. We have guests staying here, so I sneak downstairs, grab a few fresh strawberries and pluck two bright red cherry tomatoes from the large terracotta pot outside the kitchen window as I leave. It’s a little before 8 o’clock, but it is already 12.5º C, and the forecast is for 25º C or more. It is sunny, but a mist obscures the lower ground so that the hills seem to float in the pink-tinged light of a perfect early summer morning.
As I approach the stream, rolling clouds of rising mist billow and increase, the sun is low in the sky and casts topaz rays which fracture as they pass through the rich canopies of trees. Where the sun has warmed the ground the mist rises like steam from the grass. Everything is coated in a thick dew which casts a white pall on the verdantly green grass. Three placid cows, one wearing a small cowbell with a high pitched clang, graze calmly in the deep shadow of the wood. Lemon-yellow and mauve-purple nettle flowers nod lazily in the cool morning sun. I have always been nervous of nettles; when I was five or six years old I was walking along a low stone wall, lost my balance and fell into a patch of them, it was very painful. I skirt around these carefully. Low lying dense gossamer spider webs lace and thread around the leaves in triangular formations; I have never seen cobwebs look so beautiful.
The dewy fields are dazzling with a million be-diamonded dewdrops shining in the light, and there are many colours to admire: the once bright green trees are beginning to turn russet-brown, claret-red and plum-yellow in places. I rest for a while and find that the coffee that I made quickly and packed hurriedly has leaked: that was the comforting warmth I felt on my back not long after my walk began. I drink what is left and admire a slow-moving cargo train, its red engine pulling twenty carriages of timber, it blows its whistle as it nears the railway crossing. It’s strange, but a series of lorries filled with lumber on a motorway could never look so attractive or evoke such a warm feeling, I suppose there is a romance associated with trains which will perhaps never completely diminish.
The early morning quiet of this Saturday morning gives way to harvesting and haymaking: almost the whole acreage of the open fields are being worked. As is usual here, the men sit in their very splendid tractors in some comfort, although I admit it must be hot and noisy work, whilst their long-suffering wives and daughters help by raking the grass into even tidier and even more beautiful neat furrowed lines. Arduous work indeed, but it is essential to ensure that the grass dries or otherwise it will rot. When it is dry, it then has to be turned, and finally, it will be gathered in.
I leave the workers to their industry and begin to anticipate the rows of birch and the bank filled with lupins. I am not disappointed – the spiky blooms climb up the incline in serried rows of pink, mauve white and occasionally yellow – I give them a Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal. There are also fresh, new white-petalled marguerites with their bright yellow centres enjoying a second flowering.
The above is an extract from Walking into Alchemy: The Transformative Power of Nature by Amelia Marriette.