Waiting Their Turn

We have now watched half the episodes of The Crown Series 2. My general impression is unchanged.

Much of the morning today was spent getting us back on line. The details are boring.

On another dull day the birds made full use of the feeders.

Sparrows tend to dominate in the front garden,

although they do occasionally allow the tits a look in.

The heavier wood pigeons and sparrows who cannot find room above find easy peckings from what has been tossed aside by the messy feeders.

Eventually Ron was able to take a turn on his own special feeder usually commandeered by voracious sparrows;

while the long tailed tits left a little for Nugget.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata with sautéed peppers, onions, and mushrooms with which she drank Diet Coke and I drank more of the Valréas.

More Than She Could Chew

Aaron works in all weathers. This morning, however warm enough, was even too wet for him. He visited anyway and we enjoyed a pleasant conversation over tea, coffee, and biscuits.

Afterwards I watched England’s World Cup Rugby match against Tonga.

Although this afternoon the skies remained overcast, the steady rain let up; Jackie worked on cuttings in the greenhouse; and I tried to photograph

Nugget without his getting too much under my feet as he darted back and forth after prey.

“Where’s Nugget?” (28)

Rosa Glauca hips and pelargoniums are just two examples of wearers of glistening pearls;

Virginia creeper perspired precipitation,

which weighed down one solitary bedraggled wasp’s antennae.

We have never before had so many nuts dropping from our copper beech. They have to be swept up daily, the husks making good mulch.

Later, with the sun made fairly regular appearances, we drove out into the forest.

One flock of sheep occupied the green at Bramshaw

while another streamed out onto a side lane.

A lone pony was carrying out lawn mowing duties at Nomansland.

Pigs, such as these at Landford, sought out mast;

we wondered what this one at Fritham had caught. soon we realised that

she had trapped a rat

and that she had bitten off more than she could chew. Jackie exclaimed that this sight had permanently put her off pannage pork.

We took the lane leading from Fritham down to Eyeworth Pond where

small birds flitted to and from the trees and the peanuts birders had left on the posts.

An inquisitive cow raised its head in the woodland,

and ponies enhanced the moorland landscape.

This evening we dined on fish pie and a medley of carrots, cauliflower, greens, and runner beans, all perfectly cooked al dente. We both drank Albarino 2017.

The Bird Feeder

The squirrel has won the latest battle in the baffle wars.  What he managed to do this morning was to shin up the pole until level with the edge of the concave dome.  He now realises that climbing any further up the pole is counter-productive and anyway gives him a sore head.  Whilst clinging to the pole by his back legs he one-handedly grasped the baffle’s rim, then reached out and grabbed the bottom of the green suet ball holder with his other arm, using which he pulled himself onto the table.  A raging tigress shooed him away and chased him across the lawn.  She then raised the bottom of the suet feeder in an attempt to place it out of reach of this creature who is able change his shape and extend it like a Disney cartoon character. Great tits For simplicity this tale is being told as if there were only one bushy-tailed invader.  Our suspicions that there are two were confirmed later when there was a face-off on the lawn.  The jury is out on which has the brains.

Oblivious of the frustrating conflict for the rodents, the birds, such as the great tits, carry on regardless, and one unusual duck, surely out of its element, alighted in the dish as Jackie was preparing dinner.Potato bird

As the day began to brighten after a morning’s steady, heavy, rain, I walked the Bull Lane/Trusty Servant loop.  The more pampered relatives of the sturdy forest ponies, who are left to their own devices, throughout the long cold wet months of winter have, as my readers will know, been covered with warm jackets.  Although they neither read books nor inhabit tents, these more delicate creatures are given further protection in warmer weather in the form of fly sheets worn to repel winged pests.  Fly sheetsOn the fence surrounding a paddock in the village, a pair was hanging out to dry.

Heuchera etc

Sunshine and rain vied with each other for ascendancy throughout the afternoon.

Our great friend Don, having spent five and a half hours driving from Bungay, arrived this evening and shared our meal of roast pork smeared with mustard and topped off with roasted almonds accompanied by perfectly timed vegetables followed by bread and butter pudding.  Don and I drank Chateauneuf diu Pape with this, while Jackie had her Hoegaarden.  We talked about a lot, reminisced a lot, and drank a little more.  I’m past elaborating.

The Photographic Model

Birdfeeder & titsWith the aid of Dave Farrow’s ‘A Guide to the Garden Birds of Britain & Northern Europe’ we are trying to learn our birds.  This morning we think we identified a nuthatch; and great, coal, and long tailed tits; on the bird feeder.  There was also a robin, but we are fairly sure we can spot one of those.  The pole holding the feeders has gone a bit wonky, but gravity works quite well on the hanging items, even if the fixed trays are on a bit of a tilt.  I just thought I’d mention that in case anyone thought the photo was askew.

Once we had completed the building of our second Billy bookcase, we looked up to see wisps of thistledown floating around the birds.  I do believe I can honestly use ‘we’ in this context today.  Full of confidence, we had a coffee and built a third bookcase in good time to collect Sam from the railway station.  The thistledown turned out to be snow, but it was wispy, light, and, despite continuing throughout the day, not settling.

After lunch Sam went through the fourth assembly at a rate of knots.  He did allow me to bang a few nails into the backing sheet.

Derrick c1977Photograph number 12 in Elizabeth’s scanned series was taken by a young woman aspiring to be a professional. I do hope she managed it.  In about 1977 she had a portrait project to complete for her qualification course.  Unfortunately I can only remember the name of her mother, who worked in my Social Services Office.  This was Liz McKay.  The student daughter asked me to pose for her and produced a very pleasing set of black and white pictures.  It was more than thirty years later that Alex Schneideman, a true professional, was to repeat the compliment.  We will come to one of his pictures a bit further on ‘through the ages’.

The original scan was taken directly from the print, as the photographer, of course, kept the negative.  The result was covered in dust and minute hair marks.  I therefore had another iPhoto challenge, requiring quite a bit of retouching.  This was simple and successful.

Sam, we hope, had a nice relaxing time until dinner.  This was Jackie’s arrabbiata with fusilli.  Thoroughly enjoyable.  Sam and I drank Roc des Chevaliers bordeaux superieur 2010.  Jackie, as usual, quaffed her Hoegaarden.