Tess is going for a wash and brush up this morning. It is a fine Autumn morning. A pale, watery sun is shining in a milky blue sky striped with puffy white clouds. - do I make it attractive enough for you to come along? We are going to Bedale, a distance of about twelve miles. Bedale is on the upper edge of The Vale of York and fog is forecast for the Vale, so keep your fingers crossed that we can see the sights!
There are no pheasants on the lane today: the pheasant shooting season has started and already they have learned to avoid humans and to keep a low profile. Once off the lane and out on to the Main Road, there is a slight mist. The hawthorn hedges along the sides have lost their leaves but here and there a field maple with yellow and red leaves relieves the monotony of brown.And bramble stems arch out towards the roadway with their brightly coloured leaves, like early Christmas decorations.
Now and again there is a stand of trees, or a small copse, or a larger wood. Here most of the deciduous trees are bare apart from the larch, which is in brilliant garb and the wonderful beech which lights up the interior of the woodland with its leaves like copper pennies.
We pass through Constable Burton, where the wall of the Hall's walled garden edges the road and where horse chestnut branches, already losing their golden sparkle, turn brown and hang limply over the road in the mist.
Once through the village we are out in open country with fields either side of us. Some have been ploughed and look so smart with their straight furrows; some have been sown with barley, which is up - the new bright green shoots standing bravely ready to face whatever Winter might throw at them. One or two fields have been left with stubble after harvest. Here the pale stalks of straw are peppered with cock pheasants scratching for the gleanings.
At Patrick Brompton the little church stands surround by bare trees, the leaves of which lie thick on the ground.
By the time we reach Little Crakehall the fog is quite thick. Single bare trees in the hedgrows take on an air of mystery as they rise out of the fog. I spot a sparrow hawk on the fence, preening its feathers and stretching its wings. Before I reach home again I have seen three.
I intended to take a photograph of Bedale, but by the time we reach there the fog is really thick.
I deposit Tess at the parlour. The farmer is collecting her this afternoon. She loves the attention and is quite happy to be left (we are all the same, we women - we do like attention!)
It seems strange at home without her around my feet. I hope you enjoyed the journey with us - tomorrow I will show you how lovely she looks when she is first cut (that is if she will stand still long enough for a photograph).
As we come up the lane to home, the pedigree limousin cattle from the farmer down the lane, are gathered round the feed trough in the field - a sure sign that the grass is getting weaker and not giving them enough nourishment. I stand at the gate to photograph them - one or two turn to face me wondering if I am a further food source.