Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Tuesday 16.10.2018

Fresh rather than murderous wind this morning, moving the low grey clouds along apace, occasionally revealing a slash of blue higher up.
In the woods - full on autumn......

...........complete with giddy flocks of chittery chattery birds flitting in and out of the trees - birds that clearly knew I`d left my binoculars at home - redwings? Probably. And we were escorted down the road by an equally excitable collection of chaffinches and yellowhammers, flitting from fence top to telephone wire, then swooping low across the stubble fields.

Yesterday on the top hill was another of those preternaturally still evenings,as if we`d ground to a halt and were just hanging, waiting. Impossible to grasp we were still spinning at nearly 1000 miles an hour while simultaneously hurtling around the sun at about 67,000.
A little easier to remember today.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Sunday 14.10.2018

Storm Callum has been and gone and tonight you could hear a pin, or a leaf, drop.
Plenty of leaves had hung on, despite Callum`s fury and the evening light illuminated them,

while on the top of the hill, with the temperature plummeting and a crescent moon hanging in an ice blue sky, the colour intensified.

Fortuitously, when the stormy weather first arrived, the wind that we leaned into on the way up the road and which buffeted us around on the way back down was surprisingly warm. If it hadn`t been it would have required Everest-climbing gear.
It was the kind of weather you could almost have a conversation with as it tried to knock you off your feet: in the end joyous enough to make you laugh.
It was shirt-sleeves order in the woods where the sheltered trees hardly moved and despite the threat of rain it was yet another beautiful autumn day.

Then the deluge did arrive though for us"fools on the hill" thankfully no flooding and no sooner had it drenched the world than it moved on and we were left with another light show.

Meanwhile back at the ranch.......

....apple chutney, apple jelly, stewed apple, cider vinegar.......

Monday, 8 October 2018

Monday 8.10.2018

Do birds have different calls depending on the season? A grey, still morning and the birdsong in the woods sounded plaintiff, the crow-caw warning of impending winter. Maybe a bit too much pathetic fallacy. Or maybe not:
"Songs - that are used to attract mates and defend territories.
Calls - that are used to give alarm, maintain contact within a flock, beg for food, etc."

The sounds of geese overhead, and the sight, definitely signifies autumn

as does the squawk of the pheasants, ubiquitous now, scattered by Dog 2 (who seems able to smell them from a mile off), usually the male first all flashy colours and long tail with the brown female not far behind. They know she can`t catch them (they can fly!) and she knows it too but it`s a game they all seem to enjoy.

The weather fronts so beloved by meteorologists continue to chase each other across the country while the jet-stream curves this way and that, all of which results in the best feature of British weather, especially at this time of year - its changeability: in the morning nose-biting, still air and frost segueing into mild and blustery by the afternoon with apples tumbling off the trees and that rich scent of earth. Autumn - love it.
On a bare branch
A crow is perched -
Autumn evening”

― Bashō

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Wednesday 3.10.2018

Yesterday was such a wonderfully wild day: strong,cold, blustery, gustery (?) wind all day but bright and sunny. We leaned into it on the way up the road, the metal gates clattering and emitting their mournful wail ("winter`s not far awaaaaaay"),the telephone wires joining in the chorus and the starlings wheeling and diving and swooping, obviously having the time of their lives (not to anthropomorphise of course.)

But in the woods it was all about the trees, swooshing about up high, creaking and groaning as the wind buffeted them and just beginning to put on their autumn colours.

Today a much wetter, gloomier, quieter day: less inviting but no less autumnal.
A book reading day in fact and everyone, everyone, should read this gem: picked it up on a whim in the library despite having an already overloaded TBR pile and read it in the space of 36 hours because couldn`t put it down. Poignant, inspiring, warm and funny.....and her picture makes her look like somebody you would like to know. :)

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Sunday 23.9.2018

Autumn, autumn and yet more autumn. How autumny (sic) can one season be?

And so we arrive at the autumn equinox, which, I discover courtesy of the BBC, "marks the day when day and night are roughly equal length" which I knew but, further, "everywhere on Earth experiences roughly 12 hours of sunshine and 12 hours of darkness"which I didn`t know. We are all poised on a "perpendicular axis" as I write, perpendicular, that is, to the sun`s rays before the descent into winter begins.

And this morning was such a perfect one, clear sky, crisp air, that we set off not long after 8 to enjoy it at its best. There is something very satisfying about breakfast after a good walk.

But all the walking over the last week or so have been golden. Well, not all. There have been strong, surprisingly cold winds and short sharp squalls but it`s all part of the shift and change and unsettledness that autumn is.

Mostly golden though:

seasonal jobs underway,

berries everywhere - a glut of everything this year -

and leaves just on the turn.

And the summer was as summery as the autumn has been autumny (I know that`s not a word really). Much ambling down south, morris dancing (watching), a birthday party in a park complete with brass band, some shambling @ Shambala Festival and a little bimbling back at the ranch (including a trip to see Mama Mia Here We Go Again: if you feel weary of this you`re probably weary of etc etc). Some sheep wrestling (again, mostly watching - don`t ask) and, rather gloriously, more time to think and read and write and walk and watch films and listen to music. Semi-retirement has (so far) been a very good idea.

And talking of reading - three really good books: two novels, both about survival and poetry and song, beautifully written but set in completely different worlds and one description of a journey which is not only funny and informative, not to mention encouragingly partisan in places, but also points up far too many dismal similarities between 1936 and 2018. A must read.

Take your pick. :)

So off to beat the bounds on what has turned into a squally, windy evening, make my obeisances to Mabon (www.thoughtco.com/all-about-mabon-the-autumn-equinox-2562286) and get settled back in front of the fire. And no work tomorrow!! :)

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Thursday 9.8.2018

Real autumn feel to the day: on the way up the road this evening a cold wind and light shower, boots soon soaked from the wet grass in the woods but as we emerged an hour later the wind had dropped, and, despite the curtains of rain draped along the northerly horizon,the sky overhead was blue, the clouds white and fluffy and the sun still warm.

A smudge of rainbow in the distance slowly expanded to arc across the sky as we walked back down the road,a crow-y parade of honour adding the final flourish.