Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Spring Flowers, Snow and Floods?

What a mixed day, The Children's Mother flung open the curtains this morning to pass on the news that the garden was under water.  Just rain this time but last autumn it was a leaking mains water pipe.

Out and about, the roads were in many places under water thanks largely to blocked drains, our shiny new Unitary Authority, Northumberland County Council doesn't believe in rain water!

Up at the cottage wet snow was falling.

This evening the flood in the garden had receded enough for me to take a picture of the first of our narcissi and this lovely pulmonaria.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Nanny McPhee

Behind me, over my shoulder is Professor Brian Cox guesting on The Jonathan Ross Show. Far to clever by half for my liking but really interesting and enthusiastic, anyone who have can loads of fun with bowls of liquid nitrogen, banana, a rose and two eggs gets my vote...!

He seems to have recovered from being in the seventies band D-ream.

Also on the show and by a close whisker, the lovely Emma Thompson wins in the good looks stakes. Nanny McPhee was a brilliant, I must see the latest film.

Thursday, 25 March 2010


I had to go to Hexham and pick up a part for Jonny's car late this afternoon.  The fog was starting to move into the Tyne Valley behind me but the Egger plant was standing, stark against the late sun.

I was hoping to take some pictures of the dressage training at the yard this evening but the fog was thick, a large grey horse almost disappearing in the gloom.  Hands now going numb, I still had the donkeys and hens to put to bed.

The journey home was dreadful, the thickest fog we have has for a long time and I am waiting for the girls and their mother to get home from a parents evening, it will be a slow drive for them.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

One Hour

It was a fairly quiet day, made more interesting by planting some trees (wild crab apple and english oak) up at my mothers cottage.  I have been trying to plant a few over the last 5 years but not really achieved very much.

The first couple of years I was busy at work then I managed to plant a nursery area of alder but the donkeys broke down the fencing and ate half of them!  The last couple of years were foiled by illness so it was good to do some more planting today.

This evening was better than forecast but the sky was threatening.

An hour later as I left the yard the sky had changed completely.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The Dandy

Spring has sprung and this peacock is strutting his stuff, desperately trying to impress his ladies!

Despite his best efforts the hens are yet to be won over, I will watch with interest.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Spring Fashionista!

"Stella McCartney Dear?"

"No darling, Baarbour!"

Friday, 19 March 2010

Crocus and Earache

The Children's Mother has been under the weather the last few days and has a sufficiently raging ear infection to keep her laid low for a few days more.

Photo opportunities are a bit limited but I found these crocus in the driveway this morning.  Perhaps Spring is on the way after all.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Like some other's, inspiration has been lacking over the last few weeks.  I sometimes drive past this pond where there is a pair of Water Hens and I have tried several times to get a shot of them, all without success.

Tonight I just happened to go past as this trio of Mallard duck swam by.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Soft Shell Egg...

I was trying to clean out the hen house this morning but one of the hens was sitting tight.

Eventually, after several cups of tea and some cheese muffins, (me not the chicken!) she deigned to move.  There were two eggs, one normal delicious looking brown egg and this soft shell egg.  I have heard of them and found the remains of soft shells in the past but never seen one intact.  Really quite strange.  A perfect brown egg contained not in a hard shell but in a brown membrane, all soft and squidgee, like a very delicate stress ball!

I will leave it for the girls to see and perhaps eat it......

I have no idea who laid it but part of me thinks she was very clever.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Bleeding Brakes!

The Children's Mother's Son was at it again tonight.  This time it is the Honda that he is rebuilding (at least he tells me he is rebuilding it, the pile of discarded parts is growing by the day!)

Tonight he and his accomplice were bleeding the brakes or was it just something to do with 'the bleeding brakes', I don't know anymore!

The weeks good news is that it starts at last, thanks to some devious wiring and trickery.  There is even the threat that the Honda may make a return to the road in time to take it's MOT at the end of the month....

...Perhaps there is a God after all?

Thursday, 11 March 2010

The Parable of the Prodigal Parrot!

Captain Flint, the parrot has been found and is now safely at home, he was spotted on the roof of some offices several miles away from home.

Up at the cottage, I found several piles of these seed husks on the bank above the little meadow by the burn.  The small hole above the pile would suggest that a mouse or vole was responsible.

A little bright colour is provided by these crocus, the first I have seen this year.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Reeds and Silver Birch

It was a glorious, frosty but sunny morning so just a couple of shots that reflect the conditions.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

It's Sunday (again)

After a frosty start it is a wonderful sunny day and I want to do something interesting!

But what?

Up at the cottage I found these snowdrops hidden in a patch of bracken.  They must have naturalised there years ago and only been revealed as the receding snow flattened the dead bracken leaves.

This one is a bit boring I suppose but I liked the texture.

While I was having a coffee with my Mother I spotted this old picture of my parents and myself with my sisters.  One of the labs was trying to get in on the act too.

I was struck by how much younger we all looked but I guess I must have been taken twenty years ago.  Dad and the Lab are no longer with us and the rest are a bit 'croop' now one way or another.

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Thick fog here first thing but it cleared to a lovely morning but only time for a short walk round the fields before getting on with some chores (honest dear!)

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The Pheasant's Secret Revealed!

It wasn't a bad morning and the patient had returned to school, so I drove about ten miles south to and a little beyond the hamlet of Hunstanworth on the Northwest Durham Moors.

That'll still be snow then!

For those of you that don't know this area, it's a bit wild even in the summer but on a day like this you don't want to break down!  There is a whole lot of not much at the end of that road, at least not till you get to Yorkshire.....!

Now if you are looking for a quiet rural property, with access to all the local amenities, what could be better than this?

Ever since I was a teenager out walking in these parts and the Yorkshire Dales (or The Dales as it is about to be renamed!) I have been fascinated by these walls.  Incidentally, the tower in the top left is an old ventilation chimney from the days of lead mining which was a huge industry here in "the good old days'  It must have been a pretty grim existence.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


Another lovely day but sick child sitting again so limited opportunities for pictures.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Ice and Kylie Cows!

I was a quiet weekend but with lousy, wet miserable weather.

Today was a bright frosty day full of promise but the youngest girl was unwell and stayed at home from school and limited the photo-posibilities.  Never mind, still managed a few shots.

These Highland Cattle live in the field opposite my Mother's cottage.

Well there we are, not very exciting but after several days absence they are pictures!