Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Things that Go Croak in the Cellar

I went down to the cellar yesterday morning to find these three little poppets waiting for me when I opened the door. They stood stock still. A minute sibling was crushed and dessicated nearby. I scooped them up and took them outside, one by one, and put them on the edge of the stone trough by the spring.

Hard to spot, aren't they?

I tried another angle:

And another to let the boys at the back be seen:

The toad watch signs are currently out on the lane out of our village as it passes the reservoir. This is a popular crossing point for toads on their way from breeding ground to water's edge. For more information on the migration of toads, you may want to have a look at this site:-

I'm now just trying to figure out what they are doing in my cellar. And that's not even where I keep the wine...

Friday, 16 April 2010

The Beauty of Peace

What a sublime afternoon it has turned into today. Still, slightly cool air but warm sunshine and a hint, hopefully, of good things to come. But I go back to the word 'still'. For it is truly still today. No wind. All is calm. And the only winged creatures in the sky are the ones that were made to be there - our sweet chirruping feathered friends. What a joy it is to be outside today where, here in the hills, a sense of true peace reigns. I am so grateful for that.

We do not get disturbed by many planes up here - when they pass over on their way to and from Manchester airport, they are still relatively high. Sometimes they are noisier than others. I guess it depends on the plane and the wind direction. They do not bother me, though, as it is nothing compared to what we used to have to endure in our house in London. Our road may as well have been the runway as they were so low by then you could see the whites of the pilot's eyes. We would go for weeks at a time with huge Rolls Royce engines droning overhead every two minutes, often pausing only for a coule of hours between 1am and 3am before the Jumbos rolled in again from the East with the inevitability of a Pacific breaker. In summer you had to go inside to make a phone call - and even then, if the windows were open, it was a real strain to hear. I had a radio in the shower which consistently failed to pick up the BBC but was adept at tuning in to the communications between cockpit and control tower. It was quite revealing in fact.

No such excitement here. The fat buzz of a bumble bee, the extended crow of a cockerel, the exciteable bleating of mother and new born lambs, the hard bark of dog or cow, the whinny of a horse, the poetic call of the curlew. I have heard all these in the last five minutes. This is the musical backdrop to my days. I wonder gently about the world before engines and come over all Cider with Rosie. White sheets hang on the line to dry for the first time in about a year. My neighbour's chickens are pecking around my garden in the evening sun. I am sitting on a wooden bench, warm sun on my face and a cup of tea by my side. It doesn't get much better than this. As far as I am concerned right now, let that volcano roll. I am here, I am happy and I have no need to go anywhere.

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