Yesterday, on our walk through the damp fields in the early afternoon, we saw our first fieldfares - always an exciting time for us both as they are our favourite bird.
There is no mistaking that blue-grey head and rump and that chestnut back, and then to confirm it that swooping flight and that noisy 'chack-chack-chack, as they swoop out of one ash tree and cross the field to another. The down side is that our hawthorn berries will now rapidly disappear, but that is a small price to pay.
And it is a sign, as though we need it in this weather, that Autumn is really well and truly here, that the Winter visitors have joined us and that it is good-bye to all those Summer ones.
Incidentally, when writing the title of this post, I decided to look up the origin of red-letter-day in a book of Idioms given to me some time ago by friend G. Although the book says the term has almost died out, it is an expression I use frequently. (something to do with my age I expect!)
Apparently it originated in the fifteenth century when feast days and saints' days were marked in red on the calendar, and other days were marked in black. People began to use the expression to mark any day when they were likely to be celebrating or feasting.
Our fields are looking very damp and soggy, crab apples have fallen, making lovely patches of yellow on the grass - and being rapidly eaten by the cattle still in the fields. Ash leaves in particular are falling fast, particularly on these damp days. Days like this make me wish sometimes that humans hibernated.