Currently we bask in sunshine and revel in its warm embrace, while the wide river here is sparkling, cool and clear. We are at the small village of Stanstead Abbots and though we have walked once up the one and only street to shop at the Co op, the heat radiating from the pavement and road does not encourage any further excursions in this direction.
Instead Janis and I have had our bikes out and travelled the one and a half miles along the dusty towpath as far as Ware, the next larger town on our route up to Hertford. Here we found a Tesco and were able to buy provisions for our cupboards, ready for the return of Janis’ sister Sharon from Morocco tomorrow. The air temperature being high outside made the shopping a pleasure for once and refreshing in the cool air conditioned atmosphere of the store.
On the ride back we stopped off at the mooring in Ware of ‘It’s Five O’clock Somewhere’ and enjoyed a glass of wine or two with our friends David and Heather. It was a surprise though good to see them again and with any luck we shall pass them a second time on our way up to Hertford. We knew they were destined for these parts so it was satisfying to make contact.
Earlier yesterday morning we biked in the other direction southwards and crossed the bridge over the river to the Fifteenth Century gatehouse of Rye House. This impressive stack of Tudor bricks is all that remains of a large fortified manor house which was surrounded by a moat, the imprint of which still remains.
The gatehouse of Rye House in Hertfordshire
Later we made a second visit to the nearby Rye Meads wild life Sanctuary, managed by the RSPB and spent the morning in the coolness of the many hides awaiting our wild friends to show themselves. It was very pleasant watching the very ordered life go on in the bright sunshine.
A tender gesture between Coot Mates
The young Kestrels that we had noticed were near fledging on our last visit had gone and the nesting box on the tall electric grid-pylon was empty apart from small pieces of down that adhered to and fluttered at the entrance in the light breeze. However the Kingfisher was still busy taking morsels of fish into his nest but only slightly more frequently than he had been before. The young here must be nearly ready for fledging by now.
Black Headed Gull looking on vigilantly
Incidentally the small water bird that I was unable to identify in my last posting, with further research was a Little Grebe I think. He was there again yesterday, his puffed up little body consistently diving for long periods every few seconds.
Kingfisher on familiar post with tasty morsel
We enjoyed another good day and the warm bright sunshine altogether has enlivened tremendously this month of July for us.