About Me

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An itinerant observer and thinker about life in general, sharing some moments of wandering and wonderment.

Monday, 31 December 2012


Well folks, I've taken a break in the New Years Eve meal just to jot a few lines down. It's only three hours to go U.K time until that finely balanced point of turn between one year and the next and what a year it has been weather wise. One of the wettest since records began. It also rained this afternoon and during early evening but the day began dry after a night of really noisy, roof hammering wind. The U.K weather forecast last night spoke of gale warnings in all areas around our mainland and our associated islands. Rough stuff!
This morning in the garden with the dogs, the patio stones had finally dried out, much to the delight of the three dogs but there were leaves and other things blowing all over the place such as long soaked very drab autumn leaves and including these potted grasses.
But in the sheltered corners of the garden there was one tenacious evergreen in leaf. Climbing up all sorts of vertical surfaces, seen as a persuasive weed I love the shape and shine of the leaves on this evergreen climber. It's tough, a survivor, no matter the wind or the rain, it clings stubbornly to whatever it happens to be climbing be it wood,stone, brick, steel or cement. I sometimes wish I had that tenacity to thrive no matter what the weather throws at me. Anyway I digress, looking back over the last year we've had a lot chucked at us as a nation. One of the wettest years for U.K since records began. A really tough year for farmers across the whole of the country. But the good news is that to start the New Year, the weather will be milder for the next few weeks.
Like the ivy, wherever you are, keep on going on and very best wishes for the year ahead.
A big Thank You to all followers of my blog
I hope during the year ahead to be able to find new things to write about and photograph.
And ... wherever you are, just enjoy even the smallest moments each day brings.

Sunday, 30 December 2012


I finished off yesterdays post by saying we might have sunshine today. It was almost too good to believe as once again throughout the night, the wind yowled and howled around the varying heights and angles of the different roof tops of this house, but once again the pan-tiles survived and we woke with rose gold suffusing the sky with false warmth. Yes, O.K, so it's the end of an English December, one expects it to be cold and it was, however looking on the more positive side all that recent flood water could have frozen making the roads lethal and ... even had there been strong enough ice on the Cam, I doubt very many people these days would own a pair of skates. Though in years long past, many of the locals would have owned a pair of "Fen Runners."as they are known around here, but that's for another day, if come the New Year we do indeed see ice skating on local rivers.
This was the sky this morning ... when I ventured out into the garden with the dogs.
bright, cold, but the best thing of all was the fact that the patio slabs had dried out, much to the delight of the low slung Dachshunds  and even to my much longer legged collie who loves all sorts of water ... just not on patio slabs so it seems (he can be oddly fussy).
In the garden, tiny primroses had survived the waterlogged state of the lawn and even the earliest tiny daffodils with leaves, the buds were pushing and showing promise of flowering if the weather allows. Just this morning I saw a single pink cyclamen flower.
The cherry tree is almost in full blossom, a floral contrast to the many bird feeders hanging from it's branches. Oh, and there are some extremely large wood pigeons around here, that have got fat from feeding off the local wheat. I am thinking of pastry as I write.
Anyway, whilst Dad went off hunter gathering ... in the local Tesco, I stayed here and with my three canine companions I ventured out into the garden to do some much needed weeding. They enjoyed sniffing in and out amongst the still soggy autumn leaves whilst I pulled dead stalks of last years fennel out ready for burning on some future bonfire.
Dad returned laden with goodies for the New Year celebrations only to tell me that he had seen Hot Cross Buns for sale in the supermarket. It's three months to go before Easter !!!
Meanwhile ... given the right conditions and some decent weather over those three months
the kiwi vines growing along the veg garden trellis, might ... produce some fruit.
It was dark by the time by the time I took the duck loving mutt for a short stroll around the village green to visit the ducks. He loves to stand quietly right at the edge and across they come with a muted ... "Quack, quack." to say hello to him. There were six when I left, there are now at least twelve and I really must get photo's of them in daylight one day and
then I will be able to share them on the blog with you. Me? I'm off to my bed for the night.
The weather forecast for tomorrow is for rain ... no skating then.

Saturday, 29 December 2012


Well, just for a bit of a change (at least for the first paragraph) last night the problem was wind (no ... I don't mean personally). It woke me several times through the night as it raced around the upper part of the house and made musical instruments out of the chimney pots. This morning we watched the trees sway one way then another as it changed direction. Had the fallen autumn leaves been dry they would have been swirling around all over the place, but they were just too rain sodden heavy to even try to fly. Eventually in the afternoon it lost it's power just leaving pewter dark skies behind it.
I decided to take the dog for a small walk along a section of the River Cam where I know there is a rather unusual houseboat almost permanently moored. I had been wondering how it was coping with the rise in river height. Just as we had got out of the car ... the wind picked up again and slammed us with a full blast of almost horizontal rain. We were wet within minutes and so carried on along the footpath on top of the now slippery bank.
There was a canal barge safely moored on the other side, but the flooding could clearly be seen ,something the dog just had to explore, so I clambered down the bank to see if there were any signs of how high the river had risen. Sure enough about three feet above the normal level was a thin, almost invisible, but continuous line of tiny round duck weed leaves (Lemna minor) which indicated that the river level had actually sunk over  the last few days. However further along from where you see the tree on the right of the photo, I saw numerous trees (willow, alder & some silver birch) many of these had been uprooted and were all leaning in the same northerly direction which suggests they'd fallen during the southerly gales some months ago. It was a sad sight to see. The rain raced off away from us to douse some other walkers to the east of us, I saw them as I drove back, looking as bedraggled as I did. Some gentleman who had been pheasant shooting had only managed one each before they got fully doused, it wasn't really the best time to be out.
As we headed back to where the car was parked I managed to get photo of the boat. She was moored up right by the bridge and it was obvious, looking at the fact she could not have got under it that the Cam water had risen quite considerably over the last weeks.
One of the strange things about this vantage point on the bank, is that turn around and one is looking down onto a local farmers fields, which seems rather strange to visitors to the Fens, in fact some get quite spooked by the fact that a river can be higher than fields.
Also if you look carefully across the river in the top photo, you will notice a dyke running at right angles around the corner of the field. Footpaths too tend to be almost ruler straight but ... after a while one gets used to this precision land and water management.
Unfortunately this year the hard work of folk over centuries was beaten by the weather.
Shhh ... tomorrow might just be sunny all day ... I will let you know.

Friday, 28 December 2012

MUD ... MUD ...

"Mud, mud. Glorious mud." Words from a famous Flanders and Swan song & here it was.
Yep ... those are my wellie booted feet "gloriously" covered in fen farmers mud. After a night and morning of rain falling from pewter dark skies which lightened but didn't show any signs of what my Gran used to cal "Sailors patches." i.e area of blue. Eventually late afternoon we headed out to do a few necessary bits of shopping, (I wore wellies whilst shopping, looking more like a farmery type) I was prepared for the stop on the way back.
We parked up and headed off down a narrow track between an animal feed beet field and a very soaked stubble field. The mud as you can see from the above was clinging to my boots, which got heavier and heavier, the dog too was getting muddier and muddier.
We both washed off in one of the dykes which was full to the brim, so much so that it was actually overflowing onto the track that runs between the windbreak hedgerows and ...
yes ... guess what ... fully of splashy, soft, boggy, mud! We washed off as best we could.
 As you can see the daft dog managed to better than I did, no way was I going swimming!
We headed back to warmth and dryness.

Thursday, 27 December 2012


It rained for much of the night and all of the morning, with clouds so dark one didn't know it when sunrise actually happened but local news spoke of further flood warnings. Fields that I had seen which were waterlogged already were no doubt more so. Here at the house the water covered the large patio areas all the way up to the door and even the tall legged dog seemed reluctant to pad across the paving, imagine the problems the two miniature dachshunds faced with tender underbellies so very much closer to the ground. Of the birds there was hardly a sign, even they were not venturing out in the downpour. But ... eventually the skies cleared and the sun appeared and the whole garden was suddenly a hive of aerial activity especially around the many bird feeders here.
We didn't get out for a walk until late afternoon (wearing wellies, good job too). A footpath from an old Nissan hut was just full of boot, dog & Muntjac prints. Fields were full of water mirrors reflecting the by now rather lovely fenland sky and it was quite mild, but within a few yards from the car, itself parked in part puddle, part mud the two of us were splattered with dark slush stripes. The mutt's belly was dripping, I was splattered with it even above the tops of my wellies and I almost fell base over apex a few times.
The drainage dykes were full of water, the sedge stems a pale biscuit colour and branches of all the deciduous trees bare, but to my delight and surprise the wild briars were full of  the cheery scarlet brightness of ripe rosehips. I had thought the birds would have eaten them. As for sloes, very few ... no wonder only the night before Dad & I had enjoyed sloe gin made by a friend. She had made large amounts as presents and good it was too "Hic!"
In the distance I could see what looked like a rather active dark figure of a scarecrow, I was intrigued. When we got to the end of the dividing dyke, with water logged fields either side, it became clear.
He had been digging small drainage channels from his fields to the dykes that criss-cross the fens and certainly they are much needed this year. He was still busy as we left the fen.
I walked back through a farm, the outbuildings of which were quite clearly built during war time. It was quite sad to walk past, looking through the open doors to see long disused animal byres and pens, a farmer who now totally relies on his arable yields.
The footpath joined the main road where there is a cemetery and the church on the other side of the road. With now darkening eastern skies the bare branched willow trees caught my eye. I just love the way they seem to cascade with grace down towards the ground.
In contrast to the deepening skies on one side of the road, across on the other side, looking over the ploughed fields, a glorious sunset was forming and the fens were lit with a mild golden glow which seemed warm, though the air was already beginning to get chilly.
We walked along the slushy verge back towards where the car was parked near the dilapidated old Nissan hut, the dog with his nose to the ground, me with an eye on the overhead display. I took quite a few photographs, but I like the contrast between the cascading willows and these starkly silhouetted "reach for the sky" branches and a stump.
We returned, both of us splashed with dark fenland mud but happier for our outing.
The local weather forecast is for yet more of the wet stuff heading our way tomorrow.
But ... it's not just us but the forecast for the whole of U.K is full of warnings of floods, gales and also further north, snow. In the Cornwall & Devon areas, even risk of landslides.
So a bit of mud on the mutt and me is not much to moan about really!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012


Just briefly to catch up, as I write this, it is just about the very end of Boxing Day and I've caught up with yesterday's escapades. Today has been a gently day and apart from a small trip to get much needed supplies like bread and fresh veg we've done very little but I did manage to get the daft dog for a short walk along the locally known as "Back Way". It was just a short walk before the rain came sweeping back in and oh boy am I glad that we got out when we did, because just as we reached the last few yards ... it bucketed it down ... yet again. The Fens as I so clearly saw today have had problems, so much so that farmers have been unable to plough many fields due to severe flooding and the loss of some of this years crops have been huge, causing local farmers a vast lack of income. 
But today, as the skies darkened, we were headed back towards the warmth and dry of our temporary home, through mud ... the ploughed fields were just huge chunks of solid mud amongst which could be clearly seen the chunks of small pieces of the local flint, which no doubt blunt the sharp edges of the ploughshares.
Everywhere I walked was through thick, wellie clinging mud! Even the dog, it has to be said, much as he loves plodging through all sorts of wetness ... mud ... water ... puddles etc found the going rather too gloopy even for him. My wellies got heavier.
In the mud, sludge-slimy pathways were the hoof prints of Muntjac deer, some of them tiny.  They are very beautiful small deer, about the size of large dogs but around here have grown to such numbers that they have become a pest. The daft dog doesn't quite know what to make of them. I also saw something the mutt missed, an adult dog fox running clear across the stubble field and disappearing into a reed filled dyke. The pewter grey sky was starting to "cry" with promise of a downpour, so we headed back along the quagmire of track  and silhouetted against the rain filled clouds,
stood the local windmill ... 
and no folks, that is not a black and white photograph but is a genuine colour photo,
that just goes to show you the conditions that we were heading back through, to the warmth of a centrally heated house, good food, company and a rather nice red wine.
A very lovely (is somewhat wet) relaxing, boxing day.


And yes this post is a day behind and you will understand why shortly. We left eventually left Wales after heavy morning rain had prevented packing up the car with all the necessities for a longish stay in Fenland. It really was too wet to pad back and forth to the car with bags of clothes, Christmas presents (as yet unwrapped) and of course all the things needed to take the mad mutt away on holiday. But we eventually drove away (the Rover behaving well, in fact she seemed to relish being out on the open road and later practically purring with pleasure along A roads and motorways.
I drove up to see Dad last year on Christmas Day and I have to say, it is a good day to drive long distance, for one the roads are not heavily congested, generally clear of heavy haulage and for the most part free of idiots. One can actually drive and due to lack of traffic, enjoy the scenery that one passes whilst progressing up northwards.
"Northwards?" one may ask, when the final destination is Cambridgeshire. "But surely Cambridge is in the east of U.K!" Well yes it is but there is no way I am going to head M4 ... M25, those who know U.K roads will appreciate this. An alternative is to angle up through Oxford ... scenic but speed limitingly slow, sooo .... It's up through the lovely counties of Monmouth & over the border into Herefordshire (fond memories) and then around Ross on Wye to join the M5 heading towards Coventry.
The sun was out in full blaze and after the rain there were rainbows gleaming everywhere.
The scenery really is lovely but something I saw time and time again on the journey was the evidence of the past months of heavy rain. Whole fields just flooded, some with fences and hedgerows barely visible above the water levels that at times mirrored the cumulus filled skies up above. I stopped at a lay by to let the dog out and photographed this ...
The water was so high one could only just see the tops of the trees forming field boundaries. I witnessed sights  like these time and time again during my journey. But another sight I saw that I was unable to photograph was a sight that struck me in a particular way because of the date. Normally I would see old "Old Man's Beard" a wild native Clematis, also known as "Travellers Joy." which was very apt yesterday because the fluffy seeding heads spread along the bare winter branches and in the bright winter sunlight looked indeed like Christmas garlands for mile after mile. Sadly there were no convenient places to stop and take any photographs of this phenomenon. I would see them for mile after mile when there were no lay-byes and ... when there was a place to stop ... yep ... no old man's beard to photograph. Bloomin typical! Still the daft dog enjoyed exploring the various roadside stops where I was able to stop and have a have a bit to eat.
   But time was getting on and at the half way point I was spot on with my timing. Yahoo! I would reach Cambs with day light to spare and be able to enjoy the sight of the fenland as the sun was beginning to set ... I hadn't allowed for the buggeration factor gremlins.
And no ... this time they were leaving the Rover alone.
My menopausal Rover was enjoying reliving youthful speed, with her fuel injectors fully jetted out, she was sneakily creeping up past the official speed limit, with so little effort I didn't notice immediately, she was purring with power, I just hope no speed cameras captured her sleek, youthful profile on camera, she was just loving the drive, so was I.
As the afternoon started to draw to a sky dramatic close and we were surrounded by dramatic cumulus clouds in varying shades of rain heavy grey to sunset blushing pink. At one roundabout I saw this and just had to pull over on a virtually deserted road and ...
take a photograph ... (it reminded me of my RAF youth)
By now the skies as you can clearly see in the above were darkening, threateningly. So much for reaching Dad's before daylight faded, and then I got slightly lost, missing a viral turning. Light rain and low light made the small local signs hard to read but I eventually got onto the right road which lead through a small village named Earith. A 30 mph speed limit meant I could appreciate the efforts of locals to brighten up the place with Christmas decorations shining bright in the darkening light, but light enough to notice the signs of flooded fields glimpsed between the gaps in the houses. "They must have suffered badly." I thought, feeling sorry for the inhabitants and then I reached a low point in the road ... where in the headlights I saw a very solid, impassable, bright yellow barrier!!!
The only direct road through to Dad's was totally flooded!
Thanks to a very friendly native who in true Christmas spirit let me use the family phone to ring home and also gave me the two alternative routes ... (both tortuous and long).
I took the A road alternative and that is when the rain really came pelting down hard. The wipers at full speed, barely cleared the windscreen, suddenly the reasonably clear roads were full of idiots driving without due care and attention, but ... I eventually made it.
What a joy and relief to turn into the drive at Dad's and be met by a wonderful sight ...
electric candles flickering a homely welcome in every single window and a huge warm hug! Not only that but our Christmas meal of superior quality beef steak and an excellent red wine, was ... to say the least, deeply appreciated (by me if not the daft, travel weary dog). He at least had the company of two rather delightful Dacschund ladies). We made it!

Monday, 24 December 2012


Yes folks ... Moose Eve as in Ex Moose Eve, a long standing joke between friends. The characters in this alternative Festive season are Chris Moose and Fez Divity. I'm still stuck here in Wales where the sheep are being given extra feed as the ewes are hopefully "with child" and due to the inclement weather, getting extra feed, it's not snowy, just muddy!
Yesterday was reasonably mild, considering it was the 23rd of December, normally snowy on our mountain at this time of year,  sun was to be glimpsed amongst grey clouds.
Today, after strong winds all through the night it, yes rained all day, yet again! I just about managed to half pack the car ready for the journey up to Fenland, the plan being that just like last year, the roads will be amazingly clear and so an easy run tomorrow.
Once there, hopefully my recalcitrant old Rover will be parked next to a Volvo that also being elderly, behaves perfectly and even her exterior paintwork puts mine to shame ...
even though the Volvo is three years younger than my menopausal, moody motor.
Next news will come from Fenland.

Friday, 21 December 2012


Hello ... no Dafad hasn't been swept away by all the water running off the mountain and still more to come. As the U.K weather map has at times just shown the whole country under a mass of blue, with varying wind speeds and gale force warnings in the Shipping Forecast, it's as if all the Islands that make up our nation has been in a giant car wash!
(and if you saw some of the cars that were well and truly caught, they got washed inside and out). Which brings me neatly to the ongoing problems with my elderly old dear,

<<< my menopausal Rover. This time last year she was behaving well, but the gremlins have been no doubt been gurgling with glee about their latest exploits in her immobiliser system. After being reprogrammed and ... with a new key fob (something I haven't needed for a while) just imagine standing in the pouring rain pressing the button and facing it in all different areas of the interior and no doors open. At last the buttons click, get in start car ... brilliant she ticks over nicely. Turn her off, try to restart her and this is where she has a problem. A dashboard full of red lights and the sound like a muted ambulance siren, stubbornly she refuses to start. Back out in the rain and try to lock her with the fob, "No!" Try to manually lock her, No!" At this point Dafad headed back indoors feeling somewhat fed up.
A break in the rain .. try again. She had a real funk of a sulk! The gremlins were in their absolute element.
A few days later my friend Dai took me over to my favourite scrap yard to see another Dai (hey this is Wales) where I got a battery and out of an old scrapped Rover got a healthy looking starter motor earthing lead (the old one was a bit, shall we say worn looking). Returned to sulking car, attached a well charged battery ... tried to change the earthing lead ...
ha ... ha ... could not undo bottom attachment bolt. "Bggr!" (that's a very  polite way of putting it. There then followed an afternoon of varying attempts involving ... having got said recalcitrant motor started (wound down windows to get fresh air in mouldering car) she then refused to start, and without power ... guess what ... yep 10 smartie points if you got the answer correct, could not wind windows back up! All this with rain threatening again. Dafad here (post pneumonia, recovery stage) had to be honest quite enough! 
A kindly neighbour helped to resuscitate the old earthing lead, she started ... windows wound up and then went dead again. The gremlins were by this time having a party!
I was feeling like dead beech leaves.
and  looking back to this time last year did little to cheer me up, what a lovely day.
I left the recalcitrant Rover sulking and basically went into brief hibernation.
Instead of the wonderful sunset I witnessed last year, it rained heavily.
Anyway, what of the  moody motor. Well just yesterday I managed to get her started
and drove her straight over to my garage, where. on the ramp she behaved. The new earth lead was fitted, an all over check of tyres etc, ready for the journey up to see Dad.
Hunky dory or so I thought ...  now don't ask me why because none of us know the answer but, you cannot leave her unlocked on her own (maybe she's getting paranoid about being mugged). Sooo ... every time I switch the engine off I have to lock her with the fob, it can no longer be done manually as the physical key barrel is worn. All this extra hassle to be honest wore me out and of course there is this annual season of Fez-Divities to cope with.
The way I feel at the moment I just want to say "Jingle "frigging" jingle!

Saturday, 15 December 2012


I know that I've spent a lot of time in recent posts relating back to how things were at this time last year, but it has made for some interesting comparisons. This was the scene 
<<< a year ago today with the jackdaws seen from my back door flocking in to chatter and natter away on the leafless trees above the old quarry. Yes. lovely clear, beautifully white clouded skies ... not so today. It has rained all through the night (at least it was in the moments of wakefulness) and, all day!
This time last year there were clinging remnants of snow to be found on the ground.
Semi-thawed but not quite yet melted as temperatures were really just too low.
But with the sun shining and the clouds in the sky, it was bright and included, rainbows!
But the rain from the days prior to the rather frozen conditions saw sheep on extra feed.
They were covered in fleece darkening mud and no doubt grateful for their hay ration.
Some however (a bit like us) seemed to have just given up and only wanted to rest,
I know how they feel, I felt the same today and stayed in warm and dry from the perpetually down pouring skies. There are flood warnings out in many parts of the country as the rain just does not seem to abate and we just look out at the constant torrent of gravity descending wet stuff! It really has been a very weather strange year.
Even the jackdaws who normally natter and chatter through all hours of the day and yes, night too have seemed amazingly quiet this year, as have so many of our other birds.

Friday, 14 December 2012


Yesterday, I wrote about "Despite the winter freeze." All change today, lots of rain again!
Flood warnings have been in place for the more coastal areas of Wales, maybe we can count ourselves lucky in that living halfway up a mountain, the water tends (thanks to gravity) flow past us and down to the Afon Ebbw which, no doubt at the moment is burbling with all the extra input gathering at the bottom of the valley and flowing seawards. Needless to say, it was not a good day to be out and about and things I had planned to do were put on hold. The skies were dark and drizzmal, just like last year.
But it wasn't just the fact that it was raining, it was still feeling incredibly chilly today. The skies grim and varying shades of grey. My get up and go, got up and stayed safely indoors.
So these are scenes from this time last year.
At least last year we had a vague sight of the sun ... not so today, it was just very wet and not even a glimpse of that large golden orb as the sky emptied it's clouds down upon us.
But compared to the weather in the north of U.K we were lucky because they had snow.
Yes, it's approaching Christmas and no doubt for the kids it's been a bit of fun, that's part of the problem of being "grown up" we tend to see things rather differently.
And of course for our farmers locally, life is endlessly tedious.
The in-bye fields are full of dripping wet sheep and rain sodden rams not to mention all the extra feed needed to keep the flock in the best of condition at this important time of year.
Next years ram, ewe and lamb sales depend upon what happens now!
And now ... like the rest of this last year is just mostly different forms of water.

Thursday, 13 December 2012


Well this photo says it all for this morning and for most of yesterday, Bloomin'  cold!
And thinking of blooming a year ago today, this lovely fuscia was in bloom and looking lovely. Normally head heavy with flowers, this plant overgrowing an old stone wall in one of the two cottages about, half way up the mountain road; has not been so blossom full this year. A shame because it is usually a long lasting highlight of the year.
Also on this day last year, I found this frozen woolly mammoth ... taken home and washed it is still, a year on one of the dog's favourite toys. It has been left out in the rain, washed again and again throughout the last year but the mad mutt loves it. There are other favourites too, like the rubber "Mr Men" that were also a favourite of a Daschund that Dad had called Digby. Bless him despite needing aqua-therapy for his ailing back legs, he was a really determined character. Ffin actually unbeknown to me until I returned home had actually his own "stolen toys" in amongst the many that were his own. Sadly Digby died, but with dignity and here at least his memory lives on. Even now as I type Ffin is playing with one of the "Mr Men." He has discovered that he can push it under the small gap below the computer table and heaves heavy sighs as he waits for me to retrieve it.
Much as I try to ignore him, I then get pestered until I go down on hands and knees to rescue said toy ... and then ... as I try to type a post ... he does it all over again. Aaarrggh!
He and Digby in some-ways are very alike, because they both have known how to manipulate humans to play certain games to their rules. I'm being bossed by a dog!!
This time also last year, despite the frost (clearly seen on the old church roof) my friends hens were exploring the churchyard, seeing  it as a mere extension to their free ranging land. Ffin, fair play to him tends to ignore these feathered wanderers, and they have gradually become used to him when we chook and rabbit sit when they're away on holiday. I think he realises that the occasional bantam egg with his nosh is worth patience.
Meanwhile as winter really sets in with bitter cold weather sees us well into December ...
the ewes are still taking a last chance to mate with a ram and the cycle of life continues.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


This is the sky that I saw just by the mountain gate at nearly sunset time today. I had just had to wait for a young farmer to finish moving sheep from the top pens to the fields on the opposite side of the road, but it was just so good to be back up on the mountain again.
But in the quest for fresh air ... oh my was it cold up there this evening, even the mole hills were showing signs of just how icy and bitter it was, there was more to come as I drove on towards a higher viewpoint. The daft dog was excited and deeply inhaling the air, it's been weeks since we've been up here, but what a sky awaited us. Just after I'd parked up on higher ground, the familiar sight of a Land Rover, one the dog knows well.  Another farmer who ... in the process of inoculating a ram got two cracked ribs. Luckily for him, it has not been a bad enough injury to stop him working but ... he is the last of the line, neither son wants to follow in his footsteps and with about 800 ewes to attend to he really has his work cut out. He even told me that he had been fencing this week, despite also having a cold.  Believe me when I say,  farmers are a tough breed! He drove off into the sun setting horizon to feed all his sheepdogs before dark descended.
Where I had parked the car up (amazingly working) these sights met my eyes ... ice.

The mountain tracks were just frozen and the ground underfoot, hard and unyielding, not that the daft dog minded in the slightest. There were scents to sniff, most probably other dogs or ... most likely foxes, there are few if any sheep on the mountain at the moment.
A heavy mist was hanging low over the mountain heights and deep in the valleys below. Visibility at ground level was getting rather limited but the setting sun lit up the whole area with rose gold light which was reflected off the puddles, now turned to a more solid form.
My hands were getting cold and operating the camera was a bit of a struggle but ... 
is it me or is there a sort of Yogi Bear character in there >>>? It's one of the things I find so fascinating about the simple transformation of the liquidity of water into another temporarily existent, still frame, photo-graphical, never to be repeated ... art.
I you're not there at the time, quite simply, you miss it. But of course ... one might also be missing something more spectacular elsewhere! I think I'm lucky in that for most of the time, I am able to capture some of these moments and share them with all of you. Despite the cold, it was great to be back on the mountain again.
To see sights like these have just been uplifting for the recently flagging spirits ...
The mountain was settling into a mist sinking into the valleys and a sunset up above.
Driving back home I had to stop the car to take one last photograph of some lovely ancient ash trees that have lost their leaves but the bare branches were silhouetted against the last of the evening's setting sun. A really lovely way to end this very cold day.

Monday, 10 December 2012


<<< Yes folks that's my computer screen, wedged in by a mouse mat, standing at 45 degrees to the norm, so that I can use my rather strangely behaving, somewhat confused pooter! A rather unusual way to read yesterdays post, but at least it has saved the rather overstretched neck muscles.
I rang my P.C. (no not politically correct) G.P this morning and he'd never come across a problem like this, so I got in touch with specialist Consultant ... see it's very similar to grades in our NHS. He too was rather bemused by my strangely behaving confuser. He tried to set up "remote viewing" a bit like an endoscopy done from many miles away, but the patient was having non of that ... "Thank you but ... no!" It's auto immune system did not wish to be inspected by a total stranger that it had never heard of before. I suppose it has a right to refuse, but its owner was far from amused. I wonder if our computer savvy monarch has ever had such problems? ... Somehow I doubt it. She may be on "Twitter" which I'm not but  anyway ... that had muggins here in for the rest of the day, because my repaired Rover had a use by, out of date tax disc. Now applying on-line for a new one is easy ... if your confuser is co-operating. I gave up the head on one side malarchy of yesterday and wedged the computer screen into a position that was at least, readable. Suffice to say as the sunset (unseen) set I had managed to tax the car via electronic, detailed questionnaires. She, is now road legal! I've had an email from D.V.L.A confirming this, which I have printed off in order to be able to show the police ... should I be stopped at any time over the next five 'working'  days by our local, law enforcement officers. So at least the gremlins cannot maliciously grin at that one! However, I still have a computer that has an odd angle on life and a problem as yet not resolved. Needless to say, no forays today out into the world of sheep and mountain scenes, so no new photo's of a day that has been lovely and sunny. The pranksters, the anti modern technology (invisible) gangsters are still playing havoc with my computer! Yes, they are grinning all over their invisible faces, hidden in dark corner places,  one can only hope that, to quote The Beatles "A little help from my friends."
normal service will resume soon.
But don't bank on it, Dafad seems to be a magnet for things going wrong at the moment.

Sunday, 9 December 2012


This post is going to require the patience of a saint and that folks I definitely ain't! The only reason I'm doing it because of the circumstances in which I am doing it quite amuse me. There are electrical gremlins in this house, pesky little invisible critters that cause mostly minor problems like lights that will work mostly and then for no logical reason won't. I think they're related to ones that hide things shortly before you need whatever those items are and next appear in a place where you're searching for something else days or weeks later. The electrical ones love modern houses, there are so many things to play about with, the television being one of them. They must have been quietly laughing last night. Just when I was celebrating the fact that the Rover was back, after weeks refusing to start due to the electrical gremlins playing havoc with the immobiliser system. I had written the post for the day and settled down to watch T.V. in the evening. Could I get a picture on the screen? No. After much button pressing and increasing levels of swearing at the inanimate object in the corner I  eventually gave up, went early to bed and read more of a fascinating book that I've just been given. Enticingly entitled ...
"THE WILD PLACES." by Robert Macfarlane.
This morning it is working perfectly normally ... not so the computer. It refused to start and when it did there was no screen to see ... ho hum here we go again. Ironically Dad rang to tell me that the reason there was no email this morning was that ... his confuser (as we often call our computers) was not working properly either and refusing to send emails. That annoying little on screen message kept popping up "You have unsent messages in your outbox. Do you wish to send them now." Answer simply "Yes!" and after many attempts the answer lengthened into one which included expletives. I had a similar one way conversation with mine, due to the fact that I had no screen on which messages asking me what I might want to do next appeared. So ... I pulled the computer table away from the wall and investigated the spaghetti junction tangle of various cables to try and identify why. In the process ... ... ... the screen fell off the table! 
(Air getting bluer with large clouds of expletives non deletable.)
I made a mug of tea, calmed down and went back to the computers external intestines and in the process had a long overdue clean up of the dust that seems to be drawn, magnet like to the usually more unreachable corners of the room. This also includes finding lost dog toys and things like paper clips, ancient caps for pens that understandably dried out and were thrown away ages ago. All these items are of course wearing varying amounts of moulted dog hair that has been hiding from the hoover for a while. Anyway ... after much untangling of cables and resuming some sort of neat order behind the scenes ... bingo, the machine started, the screen lit up ... Great! ... ?   Oh No!!! 
Can you believe this  ... the screen now has the whole lay out placed at right angles to the norm. So the menu and everything else reads not top to bottom but left to right. Seriously.
To add insult to this currently unresolvable problem, this of course being Sunday  so P.C Doctors is not open ... the mouse is also playing silly games not doing what I want it to.
Looking on the bright side of life with a Monty Python sense of the ridiculous  I thought I would set myself the challenge of writing today's post for the day and share this with you.

Writing this entails trying to follow my typing efforts, the lines lengthening from bottom to top and ... occasionally tilting my head to one side like some blackbird listening for earthworms or a heron looking for fish in the river. Add to this there is the recalcitrant mouse that seems to want to put the cursor where I don't want it to be and trying as hard as it can not to rest on the place where I want to click it so I can do things. AAARRRGGG!
and that's an extremely polite way of expressing the blue clouds of fume over my head.
"Oh cursors!!"
I have even tried (after much searching for it) my old & very slow  mouse. No difference apart from the cursor now ambling to where I don't it to go and it seeming more interested in exploring the drop down menu, which drops the menu I don't want all over the screen, covering up the text with choices that I don't at this moment want to use. In actual fact the menu usually enters stage right but with the screen at this altered layout, it pops down from the top of the screen. To put it mildly it is all been rather frustrating. Nearly done.
I now have an aching neck from trying to create this post with my head on one side, so I'm off for a long hot bath to soak my frustrations away and having drowned them will drain them with the bath water.   I am sure that I can hear the gremlins quietly giggling.