The other way round

It is curious how the smallest change can unsettle you and shift your perception. A few days ago `Lyra and I set off for a walk along the riverside in the teeth of a howling hoolie. It’s a fairly exposed route most of the way and invariably we go around again the wind, meeting all manner of smug and toasty walkers coming the other way. Aha, thought I, we will take the usual walk in reverse, starting with the ice house and the Lees fishing beat, and have the wind at our back. It was not to be. In an unprecedented reversal of the natural order, the wind came from the other direction, as did the smugly wind assisted dog walkers. Is there some local update I am missing??? However, the change was nonetheless interesting. Lyra is allowed off the lead by the river and usually dashes on ahead and swarms down the bank at various points for a paddle. The switcheroo that day seemed to unsettle her and she largely stuck close to heel, which she normally does only in unfamiliar territory. I, on the other hand, found the view strangely less satisfying and caught myself myself turning 180 degrees to admire the usual landmarks from the same old angle. Creatures of habit both it seems. Normal service will be resumed for all future perambulations.

Hirsel Calf patrol continues. We are up to seven now. No blondies yet so far as I can see. Our own ladies are in fine fettle, though I was slightly unnerved yesterday when Catriona and Snouty came over to lick my hand when I took a short cut across the field. They had clearly concluded I must be harbouring a banana or some beet pellets somewhere and decided to have a good look in my pockets. The horns rather got in the way……We made up later, over the fence, when I produced an acceptable bouquet of ruby chard.

Spring in the garden is now well underway, with the, surprisingly hardy, anemone de Caen adding pools of vibrant blue to the borders. The frog chorus has reformed and we have the first wobble of spawn in the stream. On the clay bank a mass of buttery yellow daffodils (Mill Hill) has materialised, taking me completely by surprise. We had some garden visitors yesterday, coming to collect divisions of various plants and when we did the traditional tour, there they were, fully out, loud and proud. I’m sure the day before yesterday there was just four inches of leaves. In the Hirsel woods unfurling has been a more gradual and seemly affair. To my surprise, the naturalised daffodils have double flowers. I’m not normally a fan of yellow doubles, too blousy. However, these ones are slimmer than the modern monstrosities. They have retained a demure air and a touch of acidity in the colour, very much Jane Austin rather than Jane Mansfield. Given the scale of the naturalising, I think they must be quite an old variety. Googling suggests a double campernelle, a variety with a 400 year + vintage, which would tally if they were originally planted at the time the obelisk in the woods was built. Campernelles are supposed to be fragrant, so I shall have to give them a sniff next time I’m out to check.

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