On our holiday we stayed in a hotel in the little town of Bamburgh on the coast of Northumberland. It has a majestic castle, built on a rock and looking out to sea.
It was also the birthplace of Grace Darling, famous for helping her father to save seamen during a storm off the Farne Islands. She was only a slip of a girl and yet she held the boat steady while her father went ashore to get the survivors off. The actual boat is in the Grace Darling Museum - it is a boat which in Northumberland is called a coble and for a 'rowing' boat it is huge, with enormous oars.
I had a morning wandering round Bamburgh when the farmer went across to the Farne Islands. Sadly the swell was too great for them to land but he really enjoyed seeing the seabirds and the seals. The puffins were there in force - I would have loved to see them.
There is a super Hugh MacDiarmid poem about puffins, made all the better for having seen them. Here is the first verse:
In my dealings with facts I resemble
One of the puffins we see in the Shetlands here.
The puffin flies in from the sea
With as many as ten little fish
Held sideways in its beak.
And the fish are usually arranged
With heads and tails alternating.
How is it done?
Sadly, going back to Grace Darling, she died only three years later (after being decorated for her bravery and after becoming famous)
from tuberculosis. Few families escaped the scourge in those days.
On the home front - the fields which we rent to our friend and neighbour are now full of young cattle. When they have settled down a bit I will go round with my camera, but at present they take off like rockets at the approach of humans - and as for dogs - well let's just say that they put the fear of god in Tess yesterday when they chased her round their field.