Saturday, 10 December 2011
It looks deceptively pleasant outside; the sun in shining and the wind has almost died down. As the farmer is out shooting today I had no option but to take Tess for her after-lunch walk. I do like to do this anyway but if the weather is particularly foul I do chicken out and let the farmer take her.
Well wrapped-up we sallied forth. As we closed the back door a fine sleet began to fall and the sun popped behind a cloud for a little rest. As we reached the end of the drive I realised that that gentle breeze was actually a cruel, cutting wind and as it came from the North West it was making a brisk cut down the lane. This was not actually noticeable until I turned round to come home and it was directly in my face. I'll tell you this for nothing - it certainly made me walk more quickly!
Now home again, I must say I feel much better for that walk both mentally and physically - in fact I feel almost saintly.
As usual several pheasants are wandering about under our trees - hope they stay there to escape from the guns. There are also a dozen cock blackbirds at the bird table - they only come in when the weather is really cold, preferring to scratch about in the hedge bottom for most of their food. Outside the gate the cotoneaster horizontalis is still laden with tiny red bead-like berries. The blackbirds love these but seem to leave them until quite late in the Winter, then descend and eat the lot in a day.
Yesterday we went to our feed merchants and I was hoping for photographs of some of the flood damage but on the whole it had disappeared without trace. Both the Ure and the Cover had been over the day before but as you will see from my photographs, although they are full, they are certainly no longer in flood.
What did make me laugh was that as we passed a spot where our local beck had flooded the water had gone but the wild ducks had taken it over and were having a whale of a time wallowing, paddling up and down and making such a racket. There are still some Limousine cattle in the same field - they wered ignoring the ducks and getting on with eating.
I say they are wild ducks, but this is something of a misnomer. They are bred for shooting and wander about the fields in huge numbers and are very slow to take off and fly. As long as they stay on the ground or on the water they are safe from the guns. If I could I would go down there before the shooting season starts to give them a few lessons.
The photograph across the fields was taken to show you the barn where the shooters would be having their lunch as I walked (the farmer was having pork and chutney slice, cheese sandwiches, crisps and a banana; a flask of coffee had just a smidgin of whisky in it - last time I overdid the whisky and he had a job to get back home after the shooting finished!!)
The barn they use for lunch is the second highest - almost in the centre of the shot and almost hidden by trees. In there they sit on straw bales and discuss the local gossip! No high-flown putting the world to rights with this lot - euro crisis or no euro crisis. Keep warm.