Doggon Park

Trees in the park are on the turn

Trees in the park are on the turn

I abandon trying to reset the clock on the cooker to Greenwich Mean Time and head over to Catton Park.

I’m a little later than last week and already the park is full of people with dogs.

When there’s a pack of them it’s easy to identify who’s top dog, they are the one with control of the ball or ball throwing apparatus. Meanwhile at the other end of the pecking order is someone holding a bag of what dogs do.

I can’t help but notice that I’m the only one here without a dog and I start to wonder about park usage, then a jogger runs past and thoughts turn instead to critical fashion comment.

The park seems to have survived the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo earlier in the week with its strong winds and heavy rain, although I don’t think we had as much rain as first expected.

Generally the autumnal changes are subtle, the trees now have a rusty orange hue and I suspect the change will accelerate now the weather has turned noticeably cooler.

The grey, overcast sky doesn’t make for good photography and the endless barking dogs makes any sound recording pointless. I wanted to capture the sound of the leaves falling in the breeze, all I got was yap, yap, yap, yap, yap…

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Flowers in the park

Bellis Perennis

Bellis Perennis

The last full weekend of the year before we put the clocks back to GMT. It’s a little after 8.30 and I’m already in Catton Park, early bird and all that.

The season continues to change slowly. We’ve got some strong wind coming in on Tuesday so that’ll nudge things along a bit and after the recent heavy rain there’s always the danger that we could lose some trees. But that’s all for next week.

Three dachshund run barking along the path. Their owner, in a rather unfitting pair of blue rubber gloves, is not far behind, also barking. “It’s OK, they’re just a bit frightened.” Like I wasn’t, seeing all this head towards me.

After yesterday’s trip to Thetford, I’m determined to find things other than fungi this morning. Even though we are nearing the end of October there are still some flowers around and the rose hips are continuing to ripen.

Inevitably there’s fungi. Inevitably I photograph them. I’m aware that two beady little eyes are watching me. A robin. He ‘ticks’ a couple of times and disappears in an instant.

The sky threatens rain, but the forecast doesn’t. I’ll take no chances.

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Guns and fungi at Thetford

Magpie Inkcap or perhaps a Lawyer's Wig

Magpie Inkcap or perhaps a Lawyer’s Wig

I’m no expert when it come to fungi and I’m very much from the school of only eating mushrooms bought from a shop. But there’s no getting away from the fact that at this time of year any visit to a woodland is going to end up as fungi foray.

When I was at Thetford a couple of weeks ago I spotted my first Stinkhorn. It was an exciting moment. But little did I know that awaiting me on this trip would be something far more spectacular.

On the Beech Trail just after crossing over the driveway, there’s a open area where the Forestry Commission workers must chip felled trees and branches. There, standing proud was a… well I think it was a Magpie Inkcap, but it could have been a Lawyer’s Wig. I did say I was no expert. But what ever it was one thing is certain, it’s the most amazing thing I’ve seen, mainly due its size. It was at least a foot (30cm) tall and on its own amongst the chippings.

Along the Beech Trail the colours on the trees are starting to change and are obviously more noticeable than in the conifers, but the true stars are the fungi at the moment. I plan to return in a couple of weeks when I suspect the full technicolour of nature will have a hold.

One of the pleasures of visiting Thetford is that despite the large numbers of visitors, the place is so big that yo can walk for hours without seeing or hearing anyone else. The only noise that spoilt the peacefulness was the occasion rapid gun fire from the shooting (paintball) range. The birds seemed noticeably quieter too this time and I wonder if they two things are linked.

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Morning after the storm

Catton Park

Catton Park

Last night’s electric storm over Norwich has left Catton Park feeling fresh and green this morning. There’s a slight mist but no sign of the fog we were warned about.

The wet grass doesn’t put off the Sunday morning dog walkers, a group of which are gathered near one of the dead trees. The humans are exchanging doggy tales and weather observations while around their feet their canine friends wait impatiently for a ball to be thrown.

On the walk through the woodland next to St Faith’s Road the dew drips from the trees. Suddenly I’m in a downpour as two squirrels run along the branches shaking the leaves above my head.

The bench I’m sitting on writing this is damper than I thought so I’ll continue by walk around the Park and concentrate on the changing colours.

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Sloughbottom Park, Norwich

It’s Saturday morning. The team in the blue and white striped shirts and black shorts are playing the team in the white shirts and black shorts. I sit and watch a while. I’ve no idea who they are, what the score is or how long there’s left to play. While I’m there the blue and white striped team score twice. The white team never look like scoring.

Elsewhere in the Park children are playing on swings and roundabouts, people are walking dogs and other games of football are being played. There’s a girls game just finished and over in the distance I can see people on bikes riding the waves of the BMX course.

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