Stepping out

When Ishbel comes to visit I can be sure to be kept updated on my step count. As a result of todays endeavours I have scored 17000+. I have been striding out rather vigorously of late, so I imagine the cumulative count over the last few days must have been some thirteenty gazillion (in Priti Patel numbers).

As well as our foraging trips (recounted at length previously), Ishbel and I strolled over to Butterlaw last week to admire Sue’s chickens and Tom’s (hitherto unprecedented) tidying up. It is now possible to get to the sheds without clambering over piles of things and several giant spoil heaps have been razed to the ground. Space, it appears, is being made for another shed. Sue is very clear that this shed is not to house ANY NEW STUFF and is merely to permit a more rational storage of the current collection. I shall be monitoring the situation closely….

Not many flowers to report around the fields now. The fireweed is on its last smoulder. The burdock burrs have darkened to a honey gold and you can feel the sharp hooks at the end of the spurs. They cling like teasels. Strange mushrooms abound. I think I have now identified the little pale ones with yellow centres as yellow field caps. These are not edible (in case anyone out there is tempted).

Lachlan and I accidentally found ourselves up early for no good reason on Sunday. As everyone else was committed to their duvets for another hour at least, we bundled Lyra into the car and took the river walk along the Tweed. It was a glorious morning. The salmon are jumping at the moment, always quite a sight. They do not linger for a photo though. I also counted at least 12 swans, two still with some dove coloured cygnet feathers, one heron and a positive throng of ducks out sunning themselves and generally showing off. We were admiring the swans when there was an almighty chattering and a flash of lime green. In Blackheath, where we used to live, this would mean a flock of feral parakeets (of which there were, bizarrely, many) but in Coldstream it denotes a gaggle of lycra clad Sunday cyclists on the far bank. Their ability to gossip and cycle at a reasonable clip was impressive.

Today Ishbel and I took Lyra round the fields in the morning and in the afternoon we tackled the river walk, but going the other way round to ring the changes. Lots of fishermen in the river, sculling up and down in little boats like the water boatmen on my pond. The fish were still jumping though, so they hadn’t caught them all. We walked along in the low golden evening light and were treated to a parade of swans sailing past. A small boat overtook the last of the swans and this set up a commotion. There was much rearing up and wing waving before the last half dozen took to the air and flew off in umbrage.

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