A problem has been bugging me the last few days. Nothing serious. I just needed to make a decision about something, then work out, in light of that decision, what to do next.
This afternoon, I took myself off on a 30-minute walk.
In my experience, most problems can be solved with a 30-minute walk. If only I could remember that, I need never be bugged again.
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I managed to slip in another quick walk down Burlees Lane, up through the wood, and back home via Raw Lane yesterday afternoon. Here are the snaps:
I managed to squeeze in a short walk down Burlees Lane, up through the woods, and back home down the lanes between hailstorms yesterday afternoon.
An English wood.
An English wood.
I need to make a point of getting out more often.
We had been getting anxious for bats, not having seen any flitting above our patio this year. But we finally saw one—just one—on Tuesday evening. The bats are attracted to the house by insects, which are themselves attracted there by the residual day-warmth radiating from the stones of our south-west-facing house. The warmth was very noticeable. Jen and I could feel it from at least ten feet away. Our own little micro-climate!
Seeing the bat made my week.
Then, on Wednesday, we made a day-trip to Whitby to buy crab and to eat fish and chips. We took our farmer friend along for good measure. The fish and chips were excellent, as was the crab, which we ate in a sandwich for lunch on Thursday.
Herring gulls in Whitby harbour.
It was another glorious day yesterday, and I had presciently got all of my household chores out of the way earlier in the week, so I decided to take a walk up to the Moor.
Might summer finally be here?
I was somewhat overdressed for the weather in my moleskin shirt, fleece and waterproof jacket. This was confirmed as I gasped my way to the top of the hill, only to see a fell-runner run past in only his running shoes and shorts. He was so intent on his running that he didn’t even bother to touch the trig point to make it official. Now there was a chap who needed to examine his priorities.
There were skylarks singing in the sky, several curlews burbling in the distance, and a number of wheatears flashing their eponymous white arses along the walls and above the fields (my first on the Moor this summer). But by far my strangest encounter was coming face-to-beak with a female duck, sticking her head out of the heather. We don’t get many ducks on the Moor!
What the duck?
On my way down, I even spotted a few reed buntings on the edge of the Moor. I’ve not seen them up there before.
Male reed bunting.
A very pleasing walk. Albeit a little on the hot side!
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Shutting the gate after returning home with the Sunday newspaper this morning, I was treated to a virtuoso solo performance from a wren singing somewhere in the conifer in the back garden. At least, I was pretty sure it was a wren, but it was so loud—almost painfully loud—that I wondered whether it might be something else. But, sure enough, as I listened, transfixed, a tiny bird with an upturned tail flitted out from its hiding place amongst the branches and perched on the topmost twig of the tree. Pound-for-pound, wrens must be one of the loudest animals on Earth—as far as we vertebrates are concerned, at least.
Yesterday afternoon, I spend a most enjoyable hour reading the latest London Review of Books, taking in the sun on the patio. Swallows flopped into and out of view, ducks dabbled invisibly in the still-waterlogged field behind the wall, and a curlew even graced me with its presence.
I can think of worse ways to spend an hour.
The first swallow of the summer, tumbling over the back field first thing yesterday morning as I opened the gate. Only three days later than last year, despite this dreadful spring. If previous years are anything to go by—although why should they be, these days?—it will be a couple of weeks yet before they’re back in great numbers. Which I guess is why one of them doesn’t make a summer. It’s good to have them back, though.
The afternoon was glorious, with a strong, warm breeze, so I headed up to the Moor. Unusually, I didn’t spot a single red grouse, although the meadow pipits were back in decent numbers, and there was a lone skylark belting it out high above me for all he was worth.
Stoodley Pike Monument from the Moor
The wheatears will be back soon, I reckon.