Saturday, 14 November 2009

Just another Saturday.

Winter has arrived at last. The promised eighty-five mile an hour gales never materialised here in the North of England, but we did have almost an inch of rain in around three hours yesterday evening. We went to a Birthday Party and parked at the bottom of a slope - along with a lot of other people. In the car headlights it looked as though we were parking in a river bed. By the time we came out four hours later the rain had stopped but the beck was full to overflowing in places. This morning the countryside has suddenly taken on the air of a dying year.
Opposite, on the horizon, the deciduous larches of our neightbour's farm have gone from being little beacons of light yesterday to being dank, brown needles today. This morning the outdoor heifers were fetched home to a warm barn full of sweet-smelling straw, leaving the field a quagmire. The five feed troughs are gone and the nine pheasants who had taken up residence in the hedge bottom close to an easy food source are wandering desultorily around the area, pecking at blades of grass and just waiting around to see if any food materialises.
The bird table outside the kitchen window is alive with feeding birds - spotted woodpeckers, great tits, coal tits, blue tits, greenfinches, goldfinches, hedge sparrows, house sparrows, collared doves, chaffinches - and an occasional flurry of long-tailed tits. On the ground beneath the table blackbirds scratch and peck at the one or two apples I have thrown there and in the hedge-bottom a wren flits furtively - never an easy bird to spot. The perky robin sits at the top of the fir tree and sings its beak off. That cheery little fellow never lets us down - it all sounds so lovely that it is best to forget that he is singing because he is so very territorial and his song is saying - keep away, this is my patch.
The farmer is out with his shooting pals today, shooting our land and our neighbours. Being a kind man who dislikes killing anything he doesn't shoot but goes along as a beater. I can hear the gun shot in the distance and there are six or seven pheasant under the bird table, refugees from the fields, trying to keep well out of range of the guns. Last time the guns were out, a fortnight ago, they had a magnificent view of a dog fox slinking along the hedgeside on his way back to his earth.
Today the sun is struggling to get out and not having a lot of success, so it is basically a grey day. The grey days before Christmas my mother would have called it. Christmas looms ever nearer and before long the house will bear that lovely smell of dried fruit, brandy mince pies and spices as I make the cakes and puddings. But I am putting it off as long as I can.
Finally, readers of my blog, even if they didn't participate, will know of TFE's wonderful Poetry Bus, which ran for six weeks or so and inspired us all to write a Monday poem. Sadly Joan O'Flynn (AKA Drama Queen) a passenger on that bus, passed away yesterday. If you have not already done so, please go go TFE's blog (see my blog list) and read the most wonderfully inspired poem, which was probably the last poem Joan wrote - "Wait for me." Reading it and realising that the writer has gone so soon after writing it is a very humbling experience - the
poem has stayed in my mind for the last twenty four hours. If you wish to leave your condolences to her family TFE's post will tell you how to do that too. Rest in peace Joan.

14 comments:

Arija said...

Such a lovely description of your neck of the woods of all your doings with such a sad,sad ending...

Cathy said...

I wish I could send you some of our blue skies!

steven said...

weaver - what a beautiful rich sharing of the changes in the dale. thankyou . . . steven

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

I was feeling a little trepidatious (love that word!) coming over here, with the thought of catching up with a week's worth of your posts! As ever, it has been deightful to stroll through the dale with you (visit Tescos), see the birds, at home and 'abroad'; hope that Tess' chastisement hasn't been too severe; ponder about seeing in the dark (we get beautiful starry skies here too); agreeing with you about Gordon Brown's letter faux pas. I too would have been insulted. Black felt tip or no, he could so easily make sure it doesn't contain any mistakes. Sex education in schools - YES! I believe the younger generation is far more open-minded anyway. Don't forget to send a mince pie when you've made them!

Heather said...

I thought of you last night as I listened to the wind rumbling round our house. Glad to know you didn't get the severe gales which were forecast. I don't think our garden can soak up much more rain - it has been raining most of today. I read Joan's beautiful poem and thought it was almost as if she had had a premonition. She has left us a lovely gift.

Reader Wil said...

It's so sad if someone of the blogger family dies. A few years ago we lost one of our blogging friends on another blog( efx2). It was a very sad experience.
So you had a lot of rain too. So had we this morning. I went to choir practice but I had hardly left the street then I was wet through in spite of my cape.

Jenn Jilks said...

England did make the news. Good you escaped. I thought of you right away!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Lovely descriptions, specially of the rich bird sightings on the bird table...

Titus said...

Beautiful post Weaver, thank you. We didn't get the winds either, but we sure got the rain. Just about to embark on the Christmas baking.

Elisabeth said...

Thanks Weaver. You've brought sadness and a certain sense of the poignancy of life and death into my Sunday morning world and I'm grateful, not only for your introduction to Joan's last poem through TFE but also for your beautiful description of winter in your neck of the woods.

It is a matter of life and death, the lot of us all and it helps to share the joys and the sorrow.

Cloudia said...

Thank you - going over to read the poem.


Aloha, Friend!


Comfort Spiral

The Weaver of Grass said...

I am glad that some of you went over to TFE to read that superb poem of Joan's and maybe even went over to her blog to leave your sympathy with her family.
Thank you for the comments her - it seems we were lucky indeed to miss the rain.
This morning is a lovely sunny morning with a slight mist and quite warm. Tomorrow will rain again!

Dave King said...

Beautifully written. Such sad news of Joan. Life mixes the extremes. Thanks for a fine post.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Nice, just nice, Weaver.And Winter has us now in it's grip, we will enjoy it while we can and endure it when we must, in the hope of singing and seeing, another sprintime.