Today’s picture, taken with and sent from Granny’s iPad through a miracle of technology, shows my daughter Annie in her smart and self knitted winter hat. She would brighten anyone’s day up.
It was a day that needed brightening. I had gone to sleep with a howling wind whistling round the house and I woke up with rain hammering down. I went back to sleep again. By the time I eventually got up, the rain had stopped and the wind had died down quite a bit. This was lucky as the wrong newspaper had been delivered and I was able to take it back to the paper shop and get the right one without getting wet or blown away. Still, it was a grey and blowy day and I was grumpy as I wanted to enjoy some gentle cycling.
It was too grey to take good photos so I took a general shot for the record…
I kept on expecting the rain to start again as had been forecast but it didn’t so I pulled myself together, threw off the grumpiness, tucked my trousers into my socks and set off to do a bit of bicycling. I was pedalling along, stopping to take the odd photo….
…when I got to the four mile mark and the forecast rain arrived. I didn’t want to get soaked as my cold is still lingering on so I turned for home, fortunately with the string wind behind me now.
I took my wet clothes off, got changed and was just sitting down for a really good grumpy afternoon in the arm chair when the phone rang. It was Sandy, suggesting a quick trip to the Moorland feeders. I looked out of the window. The rain had stopped of course now that I had finished cycling so I agreed and a few minutes later, he arrived to pick me up. This really cheered me up as otherwise I had been looking at a wasted afternoon.
We got to the feeder station, got the cameras out and it started to rain quite heavily. We got back into the car and spent some time looking at birds out of the car windows. There were plenty of birds to watch.
We could hear the pheasant shooters banging away not far off but this lady pheasant seemed unconcerned as she scuttled about picking up seed dropped from the feeders.
It is hard to know what pleasure can be got from shooting hand reared and regularly fed birds driven towards you by beaters but it is big business so someone must enjoy doing it.
As we sat rather sadly in the car, we could see a lightening of the cloud cover down towards the coast and on a whim, we set off to search for a sunset near Gretna. We aimed for Browhouses which is right on the shores of the Solway. It is definitely a wide open space.
Looking across the water, we couldn’t see the Lake District hills but we could see an exceptionally fine range of clouds sitting firmly on top of the them.
They came in various shapes and sizes.
Changing colour as the sun went down.
I had hoped for a sunset and we certainty got one.
As the sun sank, we set off for Gretna in the hope of seeing a starling (or two). On our way back to the main road, we stopped to admire an enormous puddle in a field.
It was more like an inland sea than a mere puddle. As I was admiring it, Sandy tapped me on the should and said, “Look at that.” I looked.
It was a starling covered pylon. Then he said, “Look at that.” Once again, I looked.
More starlings. We didn’t have to go to Gretna, the starlings had come to us. We had a wonderful half hour enjoying a completely different view from our previous visits. The birds were covering a field directly in front of us and every now and again they lifted off like a magic carpet.
The air in front of us was full of flight.
More birds came out of the west.
The cloud kindly pointed them out to us.
Even to old starling watchers likes ourselves, this was a fabulous experience and we enjoyed every minute of it.
Other starlings were joining in from the east and soon there was the usual cloud of birds doing their aerobatics.
We saw them fly off to roost and headed on to Gretna, not to watch starlings this time but to purchase inexpensive headgear from Gretna Village shopping outlet. We were both in the position of having lost perfectly good woolly hats lately so we didn’t want to spend too much on a replacement and we found just the thing. It was lucky that we had gone sunset hunting because there were very few starlings in the place where they had previously been gathering near the shops and where we would have looked for them. Then, thoroughly satisfied with our excursion, we headed back to Wauchope Cottage for a cup of coffee and a biscuit.
Sandy kindly agreed to help me deal with the turkey mountain by staying for tea so I bodged up a quick curry, which made quite a dent in the the turkey supply, and we sat down to eat it.
After tea, we posed for the phantom cameraman to show off our new headgear.
When Sandy got home, he rang me to say that the clouds had cleared over Langholm and a full moon was to be seen. It was true and I went out and saw it.
It didn’t last though and it was raining again before I finished typing this.
I haven’t put a flying bird in today as we have had thousands already and too many photos. In the end, a day which had promised to be a real stinker turned out to be an absolute cracker and it was all down to Sandy ringing up at exactly the right moment. That’s what friends are for. Not only that but tomorrow is going to be a full minute longer than day. Whoopee.