The morning was bright when we headed out. The season is really showing signs of change. The birds are busy pairing up and there were plenty of robins about as well as great tits chattering in the hedgerows. Normally, robins are very territorial and will fight each other, but we saw no signs of that as they hunted for food among the leaf litter. First, we headed out to Cressing church, keeping to the road as the footpaths are still very muddy. One of the houses we passed is quite old. In the front garden was a large tree that neither Ana or I knew the name of it. I’ve looked it up and found out its a Phillyrea (Phillyrea latifolia) the tree is an evergreen with dark green glossy leaves and later in the year, it will have clusters of small’ greenish white flowers.
According to Greek legend the gods created Phillyrea from the sea nymph, Philyra who was so beautiful that Kronos fell in love with her. She was unhappy at the birth of her baby who was born half man half horse that she begged the gods to turn her into a tree.
The tree was introduced into England from the Mediterranean in 1597 by John Gerard, the herbalist, who in the same year published his celebrated Heball. Phillyrea was first planted in the gardens belonging to the Earl of Essex.
As we walked along the early morning traffic kept forcing us to jump into the hedgerow as cars race along the country lanes. It can be quite frightening at times. They don’t seem to want to slow down even when they see us which is the reason why I don’t like walking on the roads. I like the fact there isn’t any pavements as it makes where we live feel more rural. At the church, we took the path that led to Egypt Farm. As the path is not as well used, it wasn’t as muddy as our normal route.
Egypt Farm (according to the book, An Essex Country Childhood by Emma E. Upson) gets its name from the Egyptian rye, a name for a certain grain from Germany, as Emma talks about (hay) rick-making. I’m guessing it must have been grown at the farm years ago before the short stem grain was created for modern machinery. The Egypt Farm yard is very nice and tidy and I told the farmer so as he step out of his barn. He laughed and said he was a bit OTT when it came to neatness. The farm house was built in the 15th century and was updated in the 18th century and has a lovely pond in front of it.
The house in the first picture of the slideshow you can see there’s no pavement. Our walk took 116 minute of which 84 minutes were brisk. We’re trying to keep fit. 😃