Friday, 17 February 2017

Friday 17.2.2017

Another optimistically joyous late winter/early spring day. Breeze a bit nippier but beautifully warm in the sun, blue with streaks and flecks of white overhead, still and quiet in the woods.....



......apart, that is, from the thunderous hoofbeats of deer hotly pursued by dogs, both parties apparently fully aware that the likelihood of the one catching the other is less than zero. Ditto the equally fruitless chasing of rabbits, hares and pheasants and frantic scrabbling at the ground in search of small hairy beasts. Honour satisfied all round and lots of fun for all concerned.

So let`s see - (i) Vitamin D dose - check
(ii) Serotonin boost - check
(iii) Friday wee dram? Well, as they say, "It`s 5 o`clock somewhere".

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Wednesday 15.02.2017

Spring skittered in today for a quick look round. Frost lingering where the sun hadn`t penetrated but it was warm in it, t-shirt and hatless after three layers of headgear and jacket only a few days ago. Snowdrops and daffodils shot up another few centimetres and birds were all a-twitter. The only thing not yet present were lambs and woodpeckers but it can only be a matter of time if it stays like this.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Sunday 12.2.2017

A nondescript winter`s day...or so it seemed. Grey and cold as we set off up the road at a bit of a gallop (wanting to be back for the rugby, pity about Scotland) but of course no such thing as nondescript out there. True it was grey but the cloud was quite high, there was the occasional glimpse of blue and the sun kept making gallant efforts to break through, bathing everything in that distinctive slightly creamy winter light.


And yes, it was cold, a nippy breeze slicing at the ears, but it kept us striding out with a bit of yogic type breathing - well deep breaths anyway - detoxing the lungs...and no doubt the brain.

Still on a bit of a high anyway after seeing the delightful Madeleine Peyroux (http://madeleinepeyroux.com/) in Edinburgh last night at the Queen`s Hall which in itself was a revelation as a venue. The evening included a bit of a mystery bus ride (yes H. - buses again!), therefore getting lost, walking miles but then finding the hall with time to spare for a very good pre-gig supper at 10 to 10 in Delhi just along the street.

Celtic Connections in Glasgow was brilliant but last night I fell in love with Edinburgh all over again.

And for the rest of the day?
I read this
http://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/a_weaker_more_hostile_craven_intolerant_country_did_anyone_vote_for_that_1_4873801

and this

http://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/the_idea_that_brexit_will_release_britain_into_a_world_of_free_trade_is_delusional_1_4881725


and watched this

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08fjlvx/terry-pratchett-back-in-black

Will definitely try being "more Terry" from now on. :)



Friday, 10 February 2017

Friday 10.2.2017

Warm in the sun, icy out of it, icing-sugar snow clinging to the trees and sprinkled on the ground in patches after yesterday`s showers.



Dramatic skies





and stark winter silhouettes.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Wednesday 01.02.2017

The cloud and mist have been sweeping backwards and forwards all day on the back of a brisk wind, affording the occasional glimpse of a pale blue sky but mostly shrouding everything in grey. So when we set off at about 10 to 4, the latest this year,it was gloomy,nay,quite dreich even, as they say in these parts. By the time we were coming back down the hill,the mist had descended again and the gates had set up an eerie wailing in the rising wind, the whole landscape thus transformed into the setting for dastardly deeds of one kind or another.
Ah well, as one doughty old philosopher-farmer once pointed out stocially, "It is February." Indeed.

Meanwhile, book of the month is Nobody by Marc Lamont-Hill:not what you`d call an easy read but is informative, informed and a bit of a mind-blower. Includes a telling and currently significant examination of the notion of running a country as if it`s a business. Required reading in fact. :)

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Sunday 29.1.2017

After two walks this week on freezing cold but dry days - especially on Wednesday, a penetrating heart-attack easterly wind which nearly had us over and necessitated several layers on body, head and hands - today it was about crunching over last night`s snow in shirtsleeves, hatless and gloveless, a diamond-dazzlingly afternoon, the sun ever higher in the sky with real warmth in it though the ground remained frozen for the most part.



Meanwhile and between country walks but involving some city walks it`s been all about the fantastic Celtic Connections, keeping the dark at bay and the best kind of antidote to, let`s say, the world of alternative facts if by any chance you`re needing one, bringing together as it does musicians from all over the world.


Lots of driving up and down, late nights, bleary eyes but it`s been worth it to see:
Banda das Crechas (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6vRN4oK6LI)
Billy Bragg & Joe Henry (http://shinealight-joehenry.billybragg.co.uk/)



Anxo Lorenzo trio with Xabier Diaz e Adufeiras do Salitre










not forgetting Barluath (http://barluath.com/)


Phew! And still to come:

James McMurtry with Nathan Bell and Alice Drinks The Kool Aid
Martin Green's FLIT
& the fantastic Treacherous Orchestra with Ezza

All at http://www.celticconnections.com/. Altogether the best way to beat any suggestion of the "winter blues".

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Wednesday 18.01.2016

So let`s see:
Christmas? Check.
Hogmanay? Check.
Traditional January trip down south? Check.

Walks around the beautiful Cotswolds? Check.

Back to work? Check.
Back to walks? Check.

(i) round the block at lunchtime from work on a quite stunning, mild, spring-like, bird-tweeting, sparkly sort of day,prompting slight detour to get best views:












(ii)round the woods this afternoon on another springlike day, the sun with real warmth in it, the kind of light that enhances the lichens and throws shadow bars across the path......


....and in New Year`s Eve Resolutions update: the French is going well and I am somehow delighted to learn the word for rear-view mirror is, apparently, retroviseur. Of course it is. :) Juggling not going so well....perhaps as someone suggested I should try doing it in French. All other resolutions on track.