WHEN YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS…

…Surprising what you find:

Pretty Frilly Blue

 

Grounded in nature

 

Placed by nature -irresistible

If you peer in you may see the blue frilly butterfly on the right.

 

Crafted from  nature.

Nature blooming

 

 

Carved out woodland life

 

Dumbledore, or, could it be Gandulf…

The woods are different every visit, be it nature’s own changes with the seasons, or, things we have not yet found, all waiting for the next time we go exploring the woods.

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This post, I uploaded for the first time, pictures taken with my phone camera. I don’t think I have mastered the art of uploading phone photos. All tips gratefully received.  🙂

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EXIT….. RIGHT

I Watched the sheep on the farm the other day when the weather was having a tantrum. The sheep decided it was time to  give up outdoor life, being in the field exposed to the elements.  The flock determinedly exited from the field.  They all trotted off down the farm track towards the barns, but at the end of the track found their way barred by a closed farm gate.

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After a very, very long wait, standing, heads motionless and everyone of them turned in the same direction, (there was only one way they were going however long it took) someone came along and opened the gate.  Sheep generally don’t stampede in what we know as such a thing.  But,  that batch made the fastest beeline for the gaping barn doors that I have seen.  Who needs sheepdogs…..

RETURNING FATTY FAVOURS

Rook

Hubs has been feeding up the local bird life – mostly, Rooks just now – with lots of luscious fat balls. He leaves the fat balls hanging in net bags on the bird feeder. The Rooks spend a bit of time untying and unhooking  the net bags containing the fatty feast.  Once the fat ball bags have fallen to the ground, the Rooks nip at them. The fat balls are pushed and rolled around on the grass using their beaks and the odd clawed foot or two. It’s like watching a bird version of  croquet.  For them, it’s not enough to just peck at the goodies through the wide gauge netting, these birds want the food unencumbered.  Any missed morsels to be found at the base of the bird feeder, or, in the grass, are picked up by a few smaller birds that sneak in. They know the Rooks will not bother them as the Rooks have the bigger prize.  The smaller birds also know that  being amongst the Rooks will provide protection for them from any marauding predatory birds.

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Fat Balls

We’ve had the first few days of bright breezy drying weather for many weeks. As cold as it is, (balmy highs of 4-5 deg C with wind chill) you take advantage of it to get the laundry out on the washing line to dry.   As a thank you for hubs tender loving care and forethought in providing delicious fat balls, the Rooks have  copiously shat all over my washing.  About 90% of it.  Of course, they waited for the day I pegged out big stuff like bed covers and sheets!

P1020105 Sands Hotel Burray Laundry blowing

 

 

 

WRESTLING …NO POINT

How are you finding the book?”  I was sitting quietly on my own in the bar eatery, reading.  I was interrupted, gladly, with that question. I briefly studied my questioner, a lady with two boisterous children in tow.  I tried not to screw up my face, I don’t think I was very successful…….”I’m having problems with it

her – “So did I….it was a bit Hickory, it went on a bit“. ……..

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Zzzzzz

Me -“I think I understand what you mean; It’s hard work, I am skimming more than reading“,  adding that the book had been a gift about three years ago and I had just got round to reading it, (well, trying to).

We enlightened each other about what other books we had read by the same author, none so tedious as this one.  “BUT!” she said with a great flourish and a big smile, “I did read to the end …I finished it!”

Today, after another couple of attempts, I firmly decided I was not going to continue to wrestle with the book….there was  no point.

IMG.0683 Tia 1

I might come out to play now.

DOSING

What a din!  I thought it must be a sheep-shearing day at the neighbouring farm.  Mums and lambs were noisily milling about in front of one of the barns, the doors of which, were firmly shut.

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This was not the norm for them.  As far as they were concerned, when you head for the barn forecourt, you naturally move on through the wide open doors of the barn and into it.  The lambs were all born in there, except for the odd one or two, so, both ewes and offspring had a deep formed affinity to the place.  They wanted to be let in and they did not care who knew it.

And of course, it rained, not just any sort of rain, but soaking curtains of rain.

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The weather is always uncertain when the sheep are being treated, or, sorted, or, sheared. It seems like nature is being deliberately perverse. This occasion, the stock were being ‘dosed’. You can bet your bottom dollar that when they are sheared, which will be soon, we will experience gales and probably a hail storm.

IT’S WHAT IS AT THE OTHER END OF THE LEAD

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A vet once said, (not so long ago either) that the real problem was not the dogs he sees but what is at the other end of the lead.

A black Retriever bounded onto the bus with a woman seemingly in firm control. She sat at an available window seat usually taken up by a parent with a buggy. Three stops on, she did get up to make room for a mum with a buggy, and she slid into the  vacant seat directly opposite .

The Retriever was quickly and excitedly all over the man already seated in the window seat. The man did not try very hard to keep the dog away.  The woman gave up trying to calm the dog. It soon became evident they all knew one another very well.

I saw the black snout facing and close to the man’s face, the dog had its tongue out.  It seemed odd though, it was an extra long tongue.  This was one of those occasions when my eyes did not register what they saw and I was slow making the connection. Man and dog were tongue to tongue.

 

STORMS AND THIRTY-SIX HOURS OF TORRENTS

Thirty-six hours of torrential rain and stormy winds. The noise….during the early hours I gave up on sleep, it sounded like anything that might have been fixed to this sodden earth was flying all over the place, banging into everything it its path. I got up; it was cold, I couldn’t see much out of the windows.  Sleep, when it came again was restless and half-hearted.

Metaphorical

Metaphorical

Roads today had turned into dirty fast flowing waterways.  The drains could not cope with the incessant and relentless deluge.  It was impossible to tell if some large lakes were where they should be, or, whether they were new additions. It looked like some sheep were paddling in generous pools in a few fields where grass was visible between the water.

Villagers were re-siting sandbags as a nearby river rose; someone was checking a drain. A woman, kitted up in wet weather gear, stood on a bridge taking pictures of a field that had disappeared under water.  The top of an ancient standing stone was the only visible place identifier. 

Ancient Standing Stones

Ancient Standing Stones

The main river is tidal. When the high tide passed, when the rain lessened and the winds reduced, a lot of the surface road water subsided. The ground is totally saturated, and with the over-topping of  rivers it remained impossible to distinguish where the riversides were.

 

70 MPH WINDS – FESTIVAL GOING IN EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, IN AUGUST 2015

It’s tea time and it is late October, I am looking through the pitted glass; it’s pitted with the salt spray that has gusted around on stormy wet winds, winds gusting at about 70 miles per hour today.  Memories of a fine pleasant Edinburgh in August this year, seem unreal on this rip roaring weather day;  it feels like it was a really long time ago.  The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The International Festival, (main stream theatre) and  the Edinburgh International Book Festival, all ‘colluded’ to start simultaneously this year. I thought it was fantastic. Virtually the whole of the city centre and many nearby suburbs buzzed with Festival. 

My shoulder and neck ached from carrying my camera,  so, there were some days as a festival-goer I gave ‘me’ a rest.  A couple of times I saw the most fascinating person, or, action, and I had nothing with which to physically record the moment. You never know what wonders there will be at Festival.  It sometimes works in your favour focussing your eyes 100% and chatting with people, like, when I climbed on a bus one afternoon and sitting facing me was the most stunningly made-up young man, who was on his way to perform in a cabaret act. Exquisite feathers of shiny and many coloured hues, for eyelashes, fluttered at me.  He had fine very pale pink lips and a white face.  All of this theatrical beauty was crowned with dressed fiery curly auburn hair. “You look wonderful“,  I found myself blurting out.  I know he was surprised, it showed. He was also pleased and he thanked me. I sat next to a woman in the seat in front of him and  there began a  friendly three-way conversation. The man rifled around in his capacious handbag, also part of the theatrical wardrobe, to find me a card for his fringe venue. Well, you can’t remember every little thing can you. No card I’m afraid, but, I did learn that the eyes transformation took about an hour and a more careful application (!!!) required about two and a half hours.

I wonder what this glorious ‘lady-in-waiting ‘ is loitering for.  Maracas perhaps?

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 The Royal Mile, is about a mile to walk; the top end has the iconic Edinburgh Castle and at the lower end you arrive at Holyrood Palace, where the Queen stays when in Edinburgh.   The top end was closed off to through-traffic during Festival.  With the good weather most days, snapshot fringe performances took place.

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There was all this activity  at the top end, near the castle.  Manipulating a puppet while playing a violin – what a brilliant act!

The cyclist in the picture above is a mime artist and is not moving.

Here below, onlookers filming and taking photos of the puppeteer and her fiddler

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A puppet act with a difference

 

 

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A quarter of the way down…. this group had a regular longer performance at an indoor venue. Here on The Mile they were providing a taster of their act.  They worked their audience well and a good crowd gathered.

 

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And more….  the boards, like the one in this picture to the left of the stage, gives the  schedules of free Fringe acts throughout the day at the various similar stage venues here.  This is just a wee snapshot of one day at The Festival when I was wandering around exploring what was happening on The Royal Mile. There was a lot more to find in many different places.

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Opportunistic Play Time

Come on now……. she called.  They were playing in the field, the first fine day they had been able to get out to do so, in their young lives.

She called again as she opened the gate; come on now…..and they ambled toward her .  The three lambs, two black ones, Suffolks, (their body wool will change to a cream colour as they mature) and a North Country Cheviot lamb  and the two mums, obediently followed the farmer back into the barn.

it is too early for lambs to be out for any length of time. Today, a lull between storms, offered the first decent window of opportunity for these lambs  to be introduced to pasture and, for their mums to eat a bit of  grass.  Even the  remaining heavily pregnant Suffolk  was able to contentedly waddle around  the field. She also obediently trailed back in to the barn with the others.

The winds of the early hours of the morning had been strong enough to dry off surface  water, giving just the right conditions for two or three hours time out in the ‘playground’.

Our weather for the last few days has been ever so wet, temperatures have lowered and the mornings are chilly now. During the day it is quite mild. It is so wet today with what is called locally, sma’ rain falling, (very fine rain that wets you through, also like ‘Scotch Mist’) that even the Daddy Longlegs are desperate to get to the dry side of the window.

Daddy Longlegs Sheltering

Daddy Longlegs Sheltering

Here’s one I found introducing itself to leaves on a plant in my home-made cold frame, one dry sunny day a few weeks ago, taking advantage of the plants being exposed to the world. The sharp eyed amongst you, will also see this Daddy Longlegs on a picture below.

Introducing myself to you

Introducing myself to you

At the weekend we drove 250 miles return trip to see a performance of Dunsinane, given by The Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company, (RSC) who are taking the play on a limited tour. The cast included some well known good actors. You could call it, I suppose, bearing in mind dramatic superstitions, ‘the second Scottish Play;’ the first one that actors don’t usually name, is Macbeth. Dunsinane is a story set post Macbeth, just after he has been killed. Lady Macbeth lives on. There is an inter-regnum, a gap to be filled and warring clans have to be brought on side to make alliances where there are usually none. Macbeth’s widow and her supporters are pivotal in this political scenario. It was evocative of the current complex situation in Syria.

On our way home,we stopped off for a bite to eat in a favourite eatery. I was easily tempted to a dessert, the crowning glory of which was a home-made meringue. When it arrived, other customers and me gasped at the size of the meringue with the strawberries and coulis dripping out of a thick layer of double whipped cream sandwiched between the top and bottom of it. I didn’t have a camera with me to do it artistic justice, but, I can vouch for the fact it was amazing!

Today, between showers, I pulled up two of my golden beetroots. One of these and another one grown in a different plot. The leaves of these beetroot are edible and make for a great delicate vegetable dish, when they are briefly tossed in oil with fried onion and chopped garlic.

Salad

Salad

There’s a bit more space now for the cucumber plants. They’ve flowered, though, I don’t think there’s time for them to fruit. The flowers are very pretty. Their tendrils encircle anything and everything. Could they have been the inspiration for The Day Of The Triffids?

Cucumber-Flower

And here’s a couple of demure flowers that are hiding.

Demure Blooms

Demure Blooms