Upon closer Inspection…

Upon closer Inspection…

Hi there.
Thanks for joining me.
Had a fantastic night last night.
It didn’t pan out quite as we had planned,
but nonetheless, it was a night to remember, as they say!
We went to spend an evening in the company of a few good people, a couple of extrordinary folk singers, 
and – wait for it – the nightingales. 
Magical? I’d say so!
I switched my phone off as we approached the campfire,
and so have no photographic evidence of the 8 hours that ensued.
This shard of slate welcomed us with wonderful lines of poetry by Gerard Manley Hopkins –
I looked it up and discovered the poem in its entirety….
Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
Praise Him.

It was an amazing and exciting evening.
We sat round the fire, ate stew, drank tea 
and listened to beautiful  folksongs.
We listened to Sam Lee – great singer and storyteller –
who – when it was pitch black at midnight – led us into the forest to sing with the nightingales.
And that’s when it all went to poop!
Just as we left the campsite, a few drops of rain began to fall.
Undeterred, we put on our Weather proofs and followed Sam into the dead of night.
About 25 of us in single file, walking through the forest.
Long story short, we walked straight into a lightning show to remember. The skies lit up, the thunder clapped and the rain started to ‘avit, as they say round these parts.
I was so glad I had worn my Glastonbury wellies! 
It was t o r r e n t i a l.
But you know what we Brits are like.
Any sane person would have turned on their heels and headed straight for the carpark.
But oh no! We still trudged through the night following Sam.
And it was BLACK DARK.
No torches, nothing. I had one in my bag, dib dib dib dob dob dob, but thought better of using it in case it scared the nightingales away.
(This is where you have to wonder at how mental I actually am).
There was an older lady who I took under my wing, a young woman with a child, whom Dave helped, and a pregnant girl.
Honestly, it was like the start of one of those scarey Friday 13th films. All lovely jubbly, but then it starts to get a bit iffy.
Sam told us that the nightingales lived along the railway track, so we stumbled around in the dark over a by now very slippery sleeper-bridge, over tree roots and through 5ft high stingy nettles. 
Are we having fun yet????
Then we stood huddled in a group, and waited in silence.
The overhead powerlines were rather disconcerting, and I couldn’t help thinking it wasn’t the best place to be standing in a serious lightening storm. 
But we were there to sing with the nightingales, so we waited.
Did the nightingales show up though?
The posh older lady under my wing whispered to me,
“No self-respecting nightingale in its right mind is going to venture out here in this storm!”
And she was right.
Nightingales weren’t up for it. Not even a peep.
But poor old Sam was desperate that we should have this unique experience, so he single-filed us poor soaking sods back the way we came to a safer spot, (away from the overhead power cables) and then  started to sing to the trees, hoping to get the birds fired up.
Did it work?
Did it heck.
The rain was coming down in torrents by now, 
and we were seriously drenched to the skin.
Groping around in the dark, 
we could just about make out who was who. 
The two reporters from the Times who had come along for the experience were huddled under a tree wondering what had hit them, and I got a serious fit of the giggles.
You know when you suddenly take stock of the hilarity of the moment. 
Standing in the pissing rain in the pitch dark with a bloke and his two friends who are singing, trying to wake the nightingales.  
But do you know what?
It was brilliant. We got home at past 2am,
soaked through. 
But laughing and happy, with the BEST memories.
Did we hear nightingales?
Of course not! No self-respecting nightingale in its right mind would have ventured out in that storm !!
Just us.
The whole purpose of the evening with Sam Lee was to become attuned to our surroundings, to listen to the silence.
We did that – and then some. 
I can’t wait till next year.
Love & hugs,

44 thoughts on “Upon closer Inspection…

  1. What an amazing thing to do! I hope you had a good old soak in the bath when you got home after being drenched!
    Have a good evening
    Love and hugs

  2. WOW it sounds like you had a fabulous time apart from getting soaked to the skin! Such a shame about the nightingales. I will catch up with you when I return as off to see my friend tomorrow in the USA for 4 weeks! So excited! Have a great evening.
    Hugs to you both
    Linda xxxx

  3. Brilliant Barbara. I saw that on the telly, looked very special, and Mindfulness. Would have been an amazing experience, but at least you got a different very memorable one, and helped others to experience it to. Sorry you didn't hear any Nightingales. I somehow think you putting your torch on would have been the last thing on the Nightingales minds!!!! That's so my kind of thing, and who cares about the weather, I'd have been at the front trudging on, telling everyone to keep going! And no doubt having everyone in fits laughing at my 'Olga Korbut routines' trying to keep my balance in the dark, when I'm bad enough in daylight on even ground!!!!! It's a real shame you have to wait until next year to try again. But something to really look forward to.

    Yes, I frequently, and for many years, look from the outside and think what would aliens coming to earth make of this, and see how comical, ridiculous, futile, we human beings can be in what we choose to do for fun or otherwise!!!! I think being autistic, and literally on the outside looking in, helps me see it. But then I seem to be able to convey what I see to others that makes them see it as funny too. We are a very strange species….

    Thank you for sharing your very special experience.
    Love Brenda xx

  4. This was on Countryfile last night, a guy sang with a nightingale, so special. Hopefully you'll have better luck next year. And there was me telling you to be careful of damp knickers!!!! 😁 😁

  5. Sounds an amazing experience regardless of the nightingales hiding from you. Sounds like you had lots of fun despite the weather. There is never the wrong weather, just the wrong clothes!

  6. Hello Barbara

    Oh what a joy to read your adventures! Your blog really does bring the picture of you all to mind and cannot help but laugh at your adventure.

    Well you may not have heard your nightingale, but if you go to 'catch up' you can hear this beautiful bird on the Countryfile show!!

    Hope you have dried out now………..although today has not been much better weather. Well it is Bank Holiday!!

    Lol Barbara W (Worcestershire)

  7. I saw someone on TV singing to the nightingales but have to admit it was not in a thunderstorm. Well the nightingales were sensible stayed in the dry. You do get up to some adventures but that is what life is all about. It is for living. xx

  8. So sorry your evening didn't turn out quite as you expected but the way you have told the tale gives us all a vivid picture of the antics in the woods. My daughter & I have had a real giggle as we read your blog. thanks for sharing.

  9. What an amazing tale Barbara! We can always rely on you to share your wonderful experiences with us all. Not surprised that you got a fit of the giggles, that would have been me too!
    I love to imagine what other people are thinking in strange situations – and I can see imaginary 'bubbles' coming from their heads with their thoughts written in them!
    Here's to better weather and the nightingales coming out to sing – next year!

    1. Hi bloggy friends – hope that your weather hasn't been too bad today. Our sunshine deserted us yesterday, and we had lots of rain (good for the farmers!). At least today has been dry – ooh would you believe it, the sun has just come out, as I am typing this.
      My patient is improving slowly – I have been on constant duty changing the ice packs to get the swelling down, so that Neill can move his knee better. Not possible to do all of exercises yet, but we have just come back from a little walk- to keep everything moving. Love and hugs, Gilly xxx

    2. Hi Gilly,
      Really pleased to hear that Neill is improving albeit slowly – it will take time but it will be worth it. Good that you have both have been out for a little walk. Love and hugs to you both, Alison xxxx

  10. I always start giggling when you say you were giggling! I'm surprised you could still stand up after all that! Good on you for even going, shame you didn't hear the nightingales, but sounded like a great night out! Glad you had your wellies on!

  11. You certainly know how to brighten a gloomy day. I did my degree thesis on G M Hopkins – bringing back memories again.
    We have had one of those days. Husband bashed the car going down to the allotment, the onions have a virus, the kettle blew up and the final straw – the bird boxes are full of swarming bees.
    As things were a little quiet between the two of us – he went to his man cave and me to do some pricking. Then my parchment friend came round and brightened everything up. Finally, your blog. You certainly know how to live each moment. What an inspiration you are to us all.
    Thank you my day just got better and now two magpies in the trees.
    Lots of love to you and everyone blogging
    Anne (Reading)

  12. Ah well, hopefully it wasn't too cold. Pity it was 'ahem' cloudy, otherwise you might have seen the space station!!
    Back to the crafting then.
    Maggie (Yorkite)
    Just bought me Richmond tickets.

  13. Barbara, you have to write books! You are such a wonderful storyteller and really make everything you write about come to life. On second thoughts, us crafters still need you, so perhaps that is something for the far future! Thank you for brightening a rainy evening.

  14. Sounds like a disaster and great fun all rolled into one. Sometimes they turn out to be the best nights. All helping each other even though no one knows anyone else. Fabulous. Xx

  15. It was an amazing event, the last of a series for this year, with people from all over the country in attendance… hoping to hear the Nightingale sing.. Alas this didn't happen , but as our host , Sam Lee explained, it is quite late in the year for them, especially as we have had such a warm and elongated Spring. The music was was sublime, and perfect for such a wonderful evening . Good food, good company and a chance to get in touch with our lesser used senses ! Cant wait for next year……Storm, what storm ! x

  16. Hi Barbara
    Oh the things you get up to. It sounds like it should have been a magical experience but you chose the worst mpnight to be entertained by nightingale! If your thunder storm was like our thunderstorm you were quite brave staying out in it all. Sounds like you had fun though, good company, good food and good music, shame about the soggy undies!! Hope you've enjoyed your bank holiday.
    Love Diane xxx

  17. Omg that's so funny, I can just imagine it. Just got Stephen to read this I knew he'd laugh. He's just said can we come too when you do it next year lol! Wxx

  18. Hi Barbara,
    the things you two get up to!! i would love to have been a fly on the wall when you were trying to sell this eveing out to Dave. I think I would have been howling with laughter not just giggling. I have just read your exploits out to my Husband and he reminded me of the time we went to the local dump in a howling gale, junk was blowing everywhere out of the skips and the fence went with it before we were escorted off of the site. He just said what is it with you crafters who want to experience 'real life' can't you do it safely from indoors. Yes we could but where would be all that fun?? I suspected poor Sam was worried about giving a refund for his underperforming nightingales! Glad to hear you are both safe, well and dry. Better luck next time. Love Bev xx

    1. Hi Beverley, I have to say, it was my idea ! Barb was only too happy to go…. Sometimes we just have to step out of the comfort zone ….it was just a great experience all round .

  19. Hi Barb,
    From the weather reports and photos you picked a right night to go out in! At least you could laugh about it. As others have said it was on Countryfile last night as well. There was another programme on as well a couple of weeks ago where the people all had lanterns with them so I don't think your torch would've mattered. It's a good job you bought those expensive " wellies" for Glastonbury – they've been worth the money!! Hope you have better luck next year. Love and hugs Alison xxx

    1. Hi bloggy friends,
      Weather not too good here today – felt more like Autumn again! Well Dave & I were right dipsticks today – we went to the gym only to find it was closed – we'd forgotten it was Bank Holiday! There was I all psyched up as well! At least I came home refreshed, and not wobbly after being on a treadmill!! Still I got the ironing done when we got home. Love and hugs to you all, Alison xxx

  20. Oh Barbara only you could come up with such a bizarre event. You made me giggle. Yep the Nightingales are savvy. As you say quite an experience and not one that we would have guessed at. Just hope neither you nor Dave suffer from the soaking. Hope you had that lie in this morning. Keep the surprises coming in a way only you can do. xx

  21. This so made me laugh tonight as today whilst on holiday in Loire, similar sense of ridiculous as only British can. Having been cooked alive with temperatures over 37 degrees this past week and being generally a wimp in the sun, some up to a very pleasant 23 degrees this morning. Right picnic time I said, never mind forecast for showers, off we trek, pack dog in car and set off for beautiful gardens we know north of Gizeaux. Arrive fine, pay our entrance fee to deserted Chateaux and gardens, we are the only people there, lovely we congratulate ourselves, less than five minutes setting off down comes the rain, we've left our Macs in the car and the brolley but it is only a shower not going to spoil our picnic say I. So on we go. Lady, owner of Chateau I believe, comes chasing after us on her bicycle, clutching two umbrellas. Madame, il pleut, would you like to borrow these umbrellas? Non, merci, in my best schoolgirl French, it is only raining a little, baffled the lady looks at us, are you sure she says, looking to the skies which even I admit now look rather blacker than a little shower. We'll be fine I say, and add the clincher, nous somme Anglaises! Ah oui, she replies, this of course explains everything, who else goes for a picnic in torrential rain, sitting beneath a tree, eating their picnic and saying isn't this just fantastic to be out on a bank holiday Monday enjoying the weather! Saying that we did have a fabulous time even if we got rather wet, would not have missed for the world, not quite sure the dog agreed though, she has been looking reproachfully st me all evening and have a feeling she will hide tomorrow if I suggest another trip. You can take the girl from the country but not the country from the girl. A bientot as they say here. Much joy. Karen xxx

    1. You have reminded me of a wedding we went to in Spain a few years ago. Everyone sitting on the terrace of the castle enjoying pre lunch drinks and the fabulous tapas, when a shower of rain started. The Spanish all ran for cover in the marquee, while the hardy Brits sat tight and enjoyed the food, until it turned into a full blown thunder storm. Ambled over to the marquee where we shook ourselves to get rid of the worst watched by the incredulous Spanish. They could not understand us at all,not realising we are used to weather. xxx Maggie

  22. It must have been a good evening if the bad weather failed to dampen the spirits Barbara. I think you are definitely made of sterner stuff than me as I think I would probably have been heading back to the car once I realised it wasn't just a shower. Sad the nightingales didn't sing but better luck next time. x

  23. Hello Barb, all I can say is well done, and although you did not hear the nightingales, it sounds like an awesome experience, albeit a very wet one. Hope you have since dried out. Take care. Bx

  24. What an amazing experience, Barbara and glad you had a great time despite the weather and not hearing the nightingale sing. Yes, sometimes you've just got to laugh (have a giggle) when things go crazy. Will have to check out "Countryfile" on Catch up. Have a great da, Barbara and everyone xx

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