Pigeon post

Mum is now confined to barracks. Under extensive forensic cross examination she finally admitted that the sore ankle previously designated as “fine” was actually extremely painful. As she refused to lie on the sofa eating violet creams in the required manner, I gave her the much ignored (other than by moths and one of the cats it appears) mending trug. I have been reunited with two red cardigans which have been declared fit for “at home dining” and, quoth the artisan, “a darn with a black cardigan attached” Bonanza!

Lyra and I have resumed peregrination à deux. On one of Mum’s last forays out (possibly the one that broke the camel’s back…) we watched a couple of deer run out of the field by the stream and up into the Hirsel woods. Since then, Lyra and I have been on high alert hoping for a return fixture, to no avail. The only deer spotted has, rather sadly, been a dead fawn at the side of the road. There was a recent post about another such incident on a neighbour Facebook page. The poor beast had been left injured and the poster, coming along later, had had to do the needful. “Do not leave them to suffer, we are country folk, we know what to do!” she declared and I find myself wondering, as I drive rather more slowly than usual up the road, do I really? I mentally scroll through the list of neighbours with shotguns and ponder the etiquette of a late night call. Should I be like the old Queen and carry a shovel? I reduce my speed further and hope for the best.

Yesterday we tramped off up the hill and along by the rabbit warren, a route too lumpy and bumpy for mum. As we came down by the deer’s wood a huge approbation of pigeons clapped sedately into the air. I think we may be at the beginning of the breeding season. Walking through the woods there are tiny white feathers everywhere, dancing on twigs and balanced delicately in the centre of leaves. Overhead the buzzards have begun to circle and, driving along the lonely high road between Leitholm and Kelso, I’ve several times seen sparrowhawks hovering, curiously still and intent, beside the window. Today we took to the other woods. Lyra amused herself sniffing and snuffling in the fallen leaves whilst I admired the snowdrops and noted the first of the wild garlic coming through. As we passed the lake there was a cacophony of honking and grunting. A gaggle of Canada geese had decided to face off with a bevvy of young Swans. Team Goose was very much the aggressor, and a rather more focussed and orderly fighting force. The Swans, mostly immature, each with a smattering of grey cygnet feathers, were in retreat until Mater and Pater, alerted by the increasingly panicked grunting (I can’t think of a better description, they do sound a bit like pigs! “mute” seems a bit of a misnomer) sailed serenely into view outflanking the geese. At this point the cygnets rediscovered their mojo and the geese made a tactical withdrawal.

After a long day in the garden yesterday a-weeding and a-shifting (the unexpectedly tall orange chrysanthemum have been relocated to places where they can peer imperiously over taller plants) I had today off. With ten of the diversionary eggs left there was nothing to do but make more curd. The freezer was raided for suitable fruit and I feel, this time, the experimental cuisine may have hit paydirt. I added the last of the cocoa to the last of the blackcurrants and the result is nothing short of addictive. I have uploaded the recipe. There is no need to worry about shelf life, you may not get it to the shelf………..

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