A Friday Walk then, in all but name, as it’s happening on a Saturday. And a walk done so many times it’s become a meditation now. The Shining Shore.Taking place in the lanes around Thurstaston on the far side of the Wirral, I’ve not been here since last March. Mostly urban walking in Liverpool since then. But we’re both off work today and it’s good to get out here together on holiday.
Still wintry here, the long hedge in Station Road completely bare.

But for a few left over berries too bitter even for the winter birds.

We’ve parked in the visitor centre on the Wirral Way, where the train station used to be. Hence this being called Station Road.
No lambs in the fields yet, just curious sheep.

But in the Old School House garden the first sign of spring, a crocus.

At the top of the road we reach Thurstaston, St Bartholomews.

And in the church yard here we find what we are expecting to find in the middle of February.
A Galanthus Extravaganza.

The snowdrops are here.

All around the gravestones.

More than ever before.

Celebrating life.

Nature in all its glory, shining.

And crocuses too.

Or should that be crocci?
Meanwhile, Sarah’s spotted something, or maybe ‘things’

One monkey or two?

As you may well know by now Sarah is cataloguing all known araucaria, or monkey puzzle trees, on her own ‘Monkey Map’ website. And though we’ve been in this church yard many times before we’ve not spent so much time in here on a winter’s day, when the other trees are bare and monkeys are easier to spot.
Looks like one from here, but Sarah suspects it’s actually two trees, a male and a female.
The angel thinks it’s one.

But Sarah’s up on the wall and all over the place to try and prove it’s true.

And is it? See Sarah’s own post on the issue to find what she found!
Meanwhile it’s time for lunch.

Baked beetroots in garlic and thyme with mozzarella. Plus salads of cabbage, lettuce and tomatoes, with spinach, spring onion, rice and Wensleydale. All prepared by Sarah, thank you.
Sat here in picture perfect England.

After lunch we walk the high lane, far above the Dee Estuary.

Past the Christmas tree plantation.

The hazel catkins.

And the maybush.

It’s the new camera’s first time on the Shining Shore and it’s enjoying itself.
Down into the Dungeon, a marshy wood.

The place will be covered in bluebells in the spring. Here are their bright green shoots.

The stream slips over into a ravine.

Never seen people climbing up here before.

Sarah gathers kindling.

Dry bark to help with starting the fire at her allotment.

While I sit and look out over a misty estuary.

The coast of Wales is out there. But you wouldn’t know.

So me and the camera focus on closer things. Old fence posts.

Gently degenerating.

And this perfect tree.

Soon we leave the parish of St Bartholomew.

And cross Heswall Fields.

To reach the Shining Shore itself.

Tide well out, boats marooned.

Out there is Ireland.

Time for a cup of tea?

Then down onto the beach.

By the boulder clay cliffs.

Watching the birdlife.

The gentle ducks.

Throwing stones to listen to the ‘pwut’ of them landing in the mud.

Playing with the shutter speed until I actually capture a stone in flight.
Erosion has slowed this past year, but erosion it is.

Sarah walks quietly in one of her favourite places on the Earth.

The Shining Shore.

Time to go home?

Not without observing the proprieties.
Along to Parkgate, to Nicholl’s.

Been going for 78 years now. Making the finest ice cream in the known world, our known world.
Here’s the choice.

The choice is made.

And here we are, on the wall at Parkgate.

Panna Cotta and Strawberry for Sarah. Chocolate and Panna Cotta for me. Both with flakes of course. We’re having a holiday!
See all of 2012’s Friday Walks here. And search the blog on Thurstaston or Shining Shore to see this perfect walk done in other years, in all seasons.
Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
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