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

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WHAT YOU FIND PARKED OUTSIDE THE GROCERY STORE.

One, two, three heads with floppy ears I counted, appearing and peering up from the front seats; there were some more bobbing around in the back of the vehicle. I lost count. there seemed to be an entanglement of canine bodies and from the middle of it was “keep away,” barking.

A large man in working clothes hobbled towards the car. It was one of those shaped like a tall post van, but with more windows. Van
He opened the driver’s door and ordered the three dogs to “move over” so he could heave himself into his seat. The driver opened the passenger window, giving the one dog that stayed next to him, the opportunity to put its head outside. It wanted a pat. However, I was not sure about the aroma that wafted out at me as I patted it.

Me: “How many dogs have you got?”
The barking dog deciding this was its cue to resume its rasping noise.
“Q u i e t!” a female voice ordered. ………..Where had she been hiding.

Eleven, we’ve got eleven dogs”,
Me:“I lost count”.
“We often do as well”, said the woman, leaning forward from the corner of the rear seat as she spoke.
Just then the man at the wheel called “Come here Tiger”.

An almost white pigeon fluttered down onto the dashboard. Tiger’s tell tale trail signs of dried white splashes were already on it. The bird made no attempt to fly out of the open window. It would not, it liked being where it was, I was assured. Tiger had been hand reared. There was a pigeon loft at home. No, they did not race or take messages anywhere, the other pigeons just enjoyed their home comforts in their loft. Tiger, I was informed, was not part of the loft flock.

The car with its canine, feathered and human cargo and the groceries, eased out of the parking space and disappeared from view.

MARCH – RIDING ON A BEACH, PLAYING IN THE SEA AND THE MAGIC OF SNOW

It was lovely and Spring-like day on Sunday the 3rd of March, especially in the afternoon when we headed for one of our nearby sandy beaches. At the car park by the sand dunes that lead to the beach, we saw this horse waiting for its turn to run in the sand.

-Where's-my-rider-

Families were having fun paddling in their boots at the ever receding edge of the water;

Beach fun

Beach fun

There were adults, children and dogs happily meeting up with one another;

All socialising

All socialising

One of the horses, gingerly negotiating the narrow stone ‘belt’ down to the sand, got to canter on the beach;

Canter-On-The-Beach

On Thursday 14th march 2013 it was another lovely bright day and it was not just because the sun was shining.

This bird was a little black sentinel on a pristine white roof:

Bird on snow roof

From a side window, I saw this tree with sparkling white branches;

Snow+Sun Wb

The town had been covered with 18cm of snow (approximately 7″),it was a very localised heavy snowfall, the outer areas had very little. There was no way I was staying indoors to admire the view. I wanted to crunch through the snow and see places;

P1020241-Scene-from-Mt-V-Wb

…and take some pictures of the magic.

Taylor's-Trees

WHAT IS THERE NOT TO LIKE ABOUT THE MILKMAN’S HORSE?

It is not everyday you get compared to a milkman’s horse. When I go out with him, hubby says I am like one. Now, I cannot remember a milkman’s horse, I am sure they were hard workers and very biddable animals. The suggestion is, according to Hubby, at every stopping point, the horse, (not the milkman) socialised with the householders, or the people who queued for their cans of milk. I have no way of actually knowing, as that type of house-to-house, or, street- to- street milk marketing would have happened before I was aware of it.

So, what prompted this seemingly uncomplimentary suggestion. Where I live, it is usual to acknowledge people you see, whether you know them or not; you might even exchange a word or two, perhaps, even, have a chat. What has this to do with a milkman’s horse, I hear you ask?

We passed a guy waiting for an inter-city bus yesterday. After initial polite salutations, it was clear that the man was Canadian. He and I got into conversation very quickly. Hubby disappeared from sight. The man probably learned as much about me and some of the life of the area he was leaving, as I learned about him.

This afternoon when we went out for a walk, we passed a house in the street where we live, where, the patio windows were unusually, open. A woman was mopping the floor, and a cute lapdog sat nearby. Not for long, it came rushing to me, and in its evident haste misjudged its movements and hit itself on the wall. It was naturally a bit dazed, even so, it allowed me to pet it. The lady cleaning up was moving out, she had lived there – invisibly – more than a year. Invisibility was what she preferred, being a bit of a troglodyte, she said. For all that, she was keen to talk, to tell me about her American life, what she missed and did not miss after nineteen years in the U.K. The move, like all moves, was an upheaval, but, she was only going five miles away to a cheaper property. I learned that poor heart health with a concomitant reduction in income had necessitated the retrenchment.

what is there to dislike about a milkman’s horse? In my humble view, if I am like the milkman’s horse of yore, the horse must have been a remarkably sociable companion.

BIRD RESCUE

I was introduced to this bird as you see it here. Hubby rescued  the fledgling pigeon from the river last week.  When he saw it, it was treading water.  He found its feet and claws were clogged up with a heavy  compound of matter, probably from the nest.  A bit of scouting around showed that the pigeon had tried to fledge from a nest that was resting on a pipe under a pier, not a viable haven for any young bird to safely move out from.  Hubby was not keen to place it back there, and certainly not without giving it a chance to dry out and get its feet and claws freed of the muck that was disabling it.

Young feathered friend

You can see its juvenile feathers sticking up.  Later, it was not averse to one finger gently stroking its head. The animal rescue society was not in the least bit interested  in assisting it or us.  we were instructed to return it to its nest. It did not matter that it was a not a viable situation.  You can bet your bottom dollar, if the bird had been a rare avian species, they would would have been tripping over themselves to assist.  The options were, as far as we could assess,  to put this healthy young bird in danger in the paths of predatory sea gulls, or, to hover a while to see if the pigeon parents were keen to make contact.  Hubby checked out the near nest environment on three occasions over a day and a half.  Meantime, birdie was kept in a box and hubby fed it on suitably prepared bird seed.  Once, he thought some interested pigeons were in the vicinity of the river, though over the other side of the river to where the unsafe nesting place was.

The pigeons wings seemed to grow stronger in a very short time.  It was allowed free reign in the garden to see what it would do.  The bird flew a near distance to the fence a few yards away, two or three times.

Then, with its confidence increasing, it took off, perched on the ridge tiles of a neighbour’s house for a while, seemingly taking its bearings.  We like to think that it was giving us a pigeon farewell, before it finally flew away.

WE WERE BEING SHOT AT!

After yesterday’s experiences, be warned.  Beware of people in holiday cottages and not their dogs! At first, we thought we were being shot at; after about three or four shots, although it was difficult to gauge the trajectory of the shots, we reckoned that we were not the actual target practice.  Whoever was shooting, was out to scare us off land on which we were legitimately walking to reach an historic site.  As we approached a couple of  tents with their flaps tight shut, there were another couple of gun shots fired. We stopped and looked around.

There was a golden Labrador dog sitting peacefully in front of a house, (a holiday let) we had recently passed.  We deduced from its unperturbed demeanour, it must be a gun dog.  Just then, the front door opened and the barrel of a gun could be seen pointing straight ahead at cliffs opposite the house.  A couple more rounds were let off.  We carried on walking.

Image

Mounting a small hill, we looked behind us again.  This time we saw five people at the front of the house, including children, and the dog. The gun barrel was still visible from the open doorway waving about, but, the shooter did not show him or her self.

When we got to the historic site, there were the more muted sounds of .22 guns/rifle shots, usually used for clay pigeon shoots, and the hum and growl of a dozen large windmills.

So much for a peaceful walk in a tranquil idyll…(not!)