A heady combination of timber work in the woods and a very nervous Alsatian having closed off the usual haunts, Lyra and I have been varying our routes.
On Wednesday we took a windy walk round by the river. In the garden of the last house there is a magnificent pirate ship. We have watched it evolve from a few planks and poles over the last year or so with complete fascination. There have been no pirate sightings thus far, but I live in hope. Lyra has little truck with boats though, and dragged me on. Long grass and a headwind is her idea of perfection and she was beside herself with excitement, rolling in suspicious heaps of cut grass, making nests and generally running about like a loon.
In the week or so since we were last there the comfrey has grown a full foot. There are giant velvety mounds everywhere, with flowers of every hue from pale blue to dark crimson. Red campion is billowing out from under the hedges and ditches and, under the trees, I found some pink stitchwort (last spotted in Selkirk and I was beginning to think I had imagined it as I hadn’t seen any since. I think the leaves are slightly larger than the white stuff but must look again to check). There are also lots of drakes, and only a few ducks, on the river so I’m thinking we may have ducklings before too long.
Lyra and I returned to the fields to the southeast today. Walking past the little wood I was struck by a most peculiar bird call. For all the world it was like an old fashioned typewriter. Furious clicking, then a long whirr (as the bar was whisked briskly back into place) and a terminal “ping”. Presumably the annual notice advising all birds to keep out of focussing distance AT ALL TIMES was being prepared.
Lyra and I pressed on. Interestingly, she still seems quite unsure of the route (despite this being our regular round trip last year). She would tiptoe to the edge of the ditch and peer in, but wouldn’t risk crossing to the thicket opposite – even when she startled a young deer and a couple of partridge. The hares though are another matter. These must be chased. I had been thinking that there were fewer hares than usual about this year, having only spotted a couple out driving, but I think it may just be that I’ve been in the wrong places. Just as we got to the second big field Lyra and I both spotted two tell tale black tipped ears poking up above the wheat. After a spirited chase across the field, Lyra keeping up and even gaining slightly, the ears disappeared. As Lyra stood looking around in bemusement they reappeared behind her and tanked off back in the opposite direction. The chase recommenced, Lyra now falling back slightly. Again, the ears vanished briefly only to reappear behind her going flat out towards the far hedge. Rinse and repeat….After 4 sprints from hedge to fence and back again the fluffy one was flagging. She started poking in the fence bottom next to the road in a desultory manner and I speeded up to get to the gate first, lead in hand. As it happened, the hare beat me to it and loped through the gate in a relaxed manner just before me, tipping its ears jauntily. Consolation for the disappointed fluff ball came in the form of a gravy bone……
In other news, the season for baby bird rescue has commenced in earnest. Two early morning rescues so far. One from the laundry pile and one from a slipper. They had taken refuge after escaping the moggies I expect. No need for an alarm it seems – there is a regular 7 am cheep.