What a difference a little sun (and an absence of toothache) makes! I positively skipped into the kitchen this morning full of the joys of a good nights sleep, only a slight ache to the jaw to find the sky blue and the sun shining. Some days you know are just going to be good days. I had my wellies and woolly hat on, my pockets filled with gravy bones (the dog treat du jour) and Lyra on the lead before you could say Jake Robinson.
We went round by the little wood to the east then cut through past the alpaca field to the Butterlaw road. Lyra is most interested in the alpacas. They seem less keen and carefully shepherded their sheep (they share with the ryeland ewes) back through the gate to the further field. I have heard before that it is good to have alpacas in with sheep if there are foxes in the area, as the alpacas keep the foxes away. I have certainly noticed that if the alpacas perceive a threat they don’t run away but tend to put themselves between the sheep and the threat in a sort of penalty wall and then shuffle the sheep backwards out of harms way. Rather than distress the heroic camelids, we scootled on.
Along the road from Butterlaw to Simprim we saw our pair of buzzards in the ash tree again. Lyra and I stood for a while watching them fly off, low to the stubble field, and then circle back. The male is a big fellow, most impressive on the wing. As we passed a gap in the hedge a couple of fields on I thought I saw a deer in the corner. Feeling cunning, we turned in on the other side of the hedge and “quietly” made our way down before cutting through a little wood where we saw…..absolutely nothing. My stalking skills clearly need work. We startled a flock of fieldfare as we came into the stubble field and stopped to watch the murmuration swarm, ripple and reform before pressing on past a thicket of alder trees covered in a mass of tiny catkins. This time I had some juice in my phone and the photographer’s assistant was most patient, only charging two gravy bones for the parking.
At Butterlaw we stopped to chat to Spotted Dick and his friends. Luckily, we were able to assist Dick with a most inconvenient itch behind his ear. We completed the loop returning past the little wood again and I was struck by a feeling of new life. There were new purple shoots on even the most licheny old hawthorns and just a general thrum of growing in the air.