Saturday, January 23, 2021

Snow on Saturday

 We woke up to more snow this morning

This was the view across the garden from our bedroom wndow.

The school's trees on the other side of the hedge were covered in soft snow, they looked quite magical.

The snow keeps melting a bit then fresh snow falls, softy and gently to top it up again. 


I did some baking instead of going for a walk.  We did have a good walk in yesterday's lovely sunshine.

Scones for lunch with homemade jam.

Plum crumble for tea.  It will last a couple of days, unlike the scones!
What more is there to do on a cold, wintry, January afternoon.  I'll read a bit - the latest Ian Rankin Rebus novel, watch a couple episodes of 'The Bay ' I enjoyed the first series and am now enjoying the second which is available online.  Occasionally I drift to the window to watch the birds.
We've had lots of birds visting the garden in this cold spell.  Mostly goldfinches, we had a visit from two male bull finches, of course my camera wasn't handy. Also blue tits and great tits.  Lots of blackbirds too.  Collard doves, wood pigeons, magpies and crows up in the trees.  I wonder how many will be around for next weekend's Big Garden Bird Watch?  We'll see.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Trees and other things

Yesterday we went for a short local walk quite early in the morning.  It was good to get out in the fresh air even if for just a short while.

I've been busy trying to de-clutter.  Lots of old paperback books have been placed in boxes, they are probably too old even to pass on to a charity shop.  The pages are brown, dry and flaking, spotted with age, the covers are scuffed at the edges, some torn.  I notice some are priced at  three shillings and sixpence, others at five shillings,  Old money, old books who on earth would want them?
I have boxes of notebooks from the last thirty years or so.  In them I find dotted amongst the pages, research I've done for leaflets and exhibitions at the museums I've worked in.  Family history notes from Local History libraries and Archive offices.  Stories and poems I wrote when I attended Creative Writing Courses, all side by side with recipes, lists of things to do, holiday planning and itineraries, lists of what to take on holidays and present and card lists for both Christmas and birthdays.

The family history notes have been extracted and I'm filing them into paper folders under each family name.  I can sort them again from there.  I think I have most of the information in my latest family tree files  I am typing up the stories and poems.  Some of them I remember, others I don't.  I must have written them as they are my notebooks and my scribble.   Everything else has been shredded.
Days are drifting by.  Last Tuesday when we had a long and lovely Zoom chat with friends I was convinced it was Saturday.  When Saturday finally arrived I was convinced it was Sunday.  Today I am aware that it really is Monday - and so it goes.

We have taken out a subscription to Netflix.  I've watched three good films already. 
'All is True'  'Collette' and 'Hope Gap' All very different but all beautifully filmed with good, strong casts.
I've not talked much about the trees but they still remain stark and beautiful, casting wonderful reflections in the pond. The ground was wet and muddy underfoot but the air was dry.
On the way back from the walk I spotted this wonderful shrub overhanging a garden wall all those bright red berries ripe for the birds to eat on these cold days.

The last few days I've been finding it hard to keep warm.  Homemade creamy parsnip soup and roll helps to lift spirits and warm cold fingers and toes.
I hope everyone is staying safe and warm.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

A Wintry Walk

 On Sunday afternoon we went for a walk across nearby Berryhill Fields.  We can walk here from home which is always a bonus when the roads are still icy.  Up on our hill we are always the last to see the snow disappear.

The sun came out as we set off across the snow covered grass.

This little bird was enjoying hopping on and off the remains of a snowman.  We think it is a female Lesser Whitethroat but please do tell me if that is wrong and what the sweet little bird might be.
Edit - Caroline from Ragged Robin blog has identified the little bird for me as a Stonechat. Thank you, I knew someone would know🐦
It was muddy as well as icy and you never knew how deep the mud was until you sank into the furrows.

Across the city to the hills of Cheshire.  To the left, on the horizon you can just see the folly at the village of Mow Cop.

Tractors had been out making dirty tracks in the snow.

The sculpture of pit wheels commemorate those lost in an accident many years ago.

I love this tree, it looks perfect in all seasons.  Winter trees have a strange beauty especially in ice and snow.

 In the distance one man and his dog on the hill, otherwise it was just us.

The pond, which had been dry all summer was full again and completely iced over.

The sky started to change as we turned and headed towards home.

Lots of people and dog tracks in the snow.

We thought these tracks were probably made by a crow as there were quite a few of them about their black feathers standing out against the white of the snow.

By this time it was getting very cold.

We'd had the best of the day.

Now we are back in lockdown and I feel for those who have to go out to work, those who are worried about their children's education, teachers and support workers in the thick of it, shop and postal workers and all those on the front line who care for our health and safety. For us things won't change much, local walks, local Co-op shop and staying indoors.  Keep warm and safe everyone.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

All the 'ing' Things


Birds in the Garden in the Snow

As well as the usual Goldfinches and Chaffinches we had pair Greenfinches and what we thought was a Siskin or a Serin.


Nothing too heavy or taxing, mostly books from crime series I have been  reading.  Some a little more blood thirsty than others. They were all set in the weeks before Christmas.

The Quartet Murders by J. R. Ellis - a famous violinist is shot during a concert in Halifax. Music lover DCI Jim Oldroyd from nearby Harrogate is at the concert.  A gun is found but the perpetrator appears not to have left the theatre, meanwhile the dead violinist's valuable Stradivarius has been stolen.  Can both crimes be solved before Christmas Day?  The Christmas Carol  by M J Lee,  Genealogist Jayne Sinclair has just a few days to find out who the person in a dedication  signed by Charles Dickens, in the front of a copy of a first edition of A Christmas Carol is. The answer will affect the price when the book is sold at auction on Christmas Eve.  A Cotswold Christmas Mystery by Rebecca Tope, another adventure for Thea Slocombe and her faithful spaniel Hepzie even though all her family are gathered for Christmas a local mystery is a great distraction.  Set in Oxford A Darkly Shining Star by M S Morris is the fifth book in the enjoyable Bridget Hart series.  The murder of a tour guide of the ghostly areas of Oxford leads DI Bridget Hart and her team to a twenty year old case of a young student and actress who went missing after the final performance of Twelfth Night.  Murder Unjoyful  by Anita Waller is the fifth book and last in the Kat and Mouse series of books set in Eyam in Derbyshire.  Christmas is looming and the ladies of the Connexions agency  take on their most dangerous case to date.    Murder in Advent by David Williams is set in the fictional cathedral town of Litchester where the proposed sale of the cathedral's 1225 copy of the Magna Carta leads to murder.


Festive television - not a lot of interest but I did enjoy Upstart Crow, Worzel Gummidge, Peter Rabbit, The Man who invented Christmas and Uncle Vanya all wonderful in different ways.  Uncle Vanya was a stunning production with a great cast including the fine actor Anna Calder-Marshall as Nana and Toby Jones as Vanya.  I remember seeing Uncle Vanya at Nottingham Playhouse in 1970 when Anna Calder-Marshall played Vanya's niece Sonya.  Then Vanya was played by Paul Scofield.  I still have a copy of the programme in my collection.


Mostly good, home cooked food 

The Spelt flour Christmas Pudding I mentioned in an earlier post was a triumph. It tasted wonderful.

We still have some left in the freezer.


In a wildlife treasure hunt organised by one of people in an online group of which I am a member.  The Self Isolating Bird Club has been a joy through these dark days of tiers and lockdowns.  It's run by Chris Packham, Megan McCubbin and their team.  Everyone is kind, gentle and very helpful to others who are just learning about wildlife.  There are some amazing photographers in the group too.
I've also registered to take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.  We've participated in this event for quite a few years now.  It is something I look forward to doing. 

The snow had been melting away this morning but this afternoon we had another downfall.  How is the weather where you are?  What have you been reading lately?