|A bird has scuttled across the track here - possibly a pheasant|
Provided I am well wrapped up, I adore winter, and even though our part of Kinross-shire hasn't been troubled by too much snow (yet...), even the faintest skiff of the white stuff is sufficient to transform our lovely rural surroundings into a winter wonderland characterised by sparkling hills, alpine trees and the distant silver loch.
|FatCat has evidently been on the prowl|
|Ever not known whether you were coming or going?!|
|One man and his dog appear to have been walking here|
|Someone was too busy pawing the ground to let me
photograph her hoof prints: "Where's my breakfast?!"
|And, finally, I couldn't resist stomping on this mini-snowdrift!|
|Lucky to be alive - the thrush fledgling|
Do you ever get the feeling, when you're busy speaking to someone, that they're not quite focusing on what you're saying? Well, I had that distinct feeling yesterday evening when I was speaking to HunterGatherer upon his return from another long day at work in the farm workshop. As I prattled on, HG was gazing intently out the sitting-room window at the sheep paddock and then, before you could say "woolly jumpers", he was out the patio doors over the fence, flapping his arms and running through the long grass after something.
My first instinct was that he'd completely lost the plot; however, when I saw him then stoop down and scoop up a bird in his hands, I realised that there had indeed been method in his madness. His eagle eye – well honed from years of employment as a deer stalker on estates in the west coast of Scotland – had spotted a big black crow carrying off a baby thrush in its talons.
He'd been alerted to the incident because he'd seen Mummy and Daddy Thrush frantically pursuing the crow (which was easily twice their size) to and fro across the paddock, and then spotted that the crow was not empty-clawed.
Miraculously, the fledgling bird survived its ordeal. HG placed it in a clump of grass in the garden, from where it cheeped pathetically to its parents – who were still flying bravely at the, by now, extremely hacked-off crow, to deter it from returning for its intended Saturday evening supper.
The hunter-turned-bird-protector waited until he saw his new feathered friend flutter off back into the bushes and then returned to the sitting-room in search of his own Saturday night supper: steak and new potatoes served with home-grown broccoli and cauliflower from the Sparrowholding polytunnel. I suspect he fared rather better than his adversary, the crow...
|"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must
have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."
~Hans Christian Andersen
|Loaves aplenty - from award-winning Barnett's Bakery|
|A bowl of big meringues - sweet!|
|Tipsy Mallows come in a range of different flavours
and colours - the raspberry ones were fab!
|Scones as far as the eye can see :-)|
|Spice up your life - with Trotter's Condiments|
|Vinegars infused with flavours of fruit and herbs|
|Kylie and Eck - the perfect couple... Note height from the
unprotected edge of the wall down to the waiting water...
|Nothing to beat fresh crab in a fresh roll|
|The dreaded "Examination Schools" in Oxford|
|HunterGatherer getting to grips with being a punter...|
|The pudding platter at The Trout: wowsers!|
|Sickles and scythes and much much more!|
|With a little gentle encouragement, this bold
butterfly was soon on his way
|The camouflage of this butterfly is amazing...|
I spent the entire visit to the Butterfly House dreading that we’d tread on one of these delicate insects, as they were wont to land on the ground at one’s feet, having no respect even for HunterGatherer’s tackety boots!
|The bedroom where Winston Churchill was born|
|The approach to Blenheim Palace|
|Think of how long it would take to trim these hedges!|
|Dream starter at Cherwell Boathouse: asparagus
with quails eggs and pea'n mint mousse