Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


The Problem Solved

I’m always curious to peep into a box of mystery items, I came across this on my travels this week.

A book, published in 1900. The Problem Solved, a practical treatise on artificial incubation and chicken rearing. What a title.

 The problem solved_

A quick scoot around the Internet shows me that that the title reprinted many times, and translated into French. According to the box, this particular copy was found in a empty farm house that was about to be demolished to make way for a quarry.

Hearson’s Patent Champion Incubator or not, Rocky our cockerel, will be pleased to note that he can’t be cut out of the process of rearing chick.  He has been growing new feather of late, just to let the girls know he is in peak form.

new feathers 2

I know I’ve blogged about new feathers before, but it’s a process that never fails to interest me. The way the quill grows first, the tip breaks off and the new feather emerges like a fine paint brush

new feathers 3

Here he’s giving them a bit of a ruffle.  Clever isn’t it?

new feathers 4


Four birds in the bush

And so it snowed, at first light the birds were on a foraging mission. There were four beautifully plumed thrushes in my precious pink rowan tree.


I’m very happy to share the berries with these gorgeous  birds. Their markings always make me think of spotted dick pudding. But then who wouldn’t think of a steamed suet pudding on a snowy November day, or maybe I’m just a little odd…

There was more snow, and its hung around longer, than I expected. The air temperature has hovered just above freezing, plus a sharp wind chill;  the sheep in a neighbouring field lined up to harvest the sun’s warmth against the drystone walls. Wise sheep.

sheep warming_


Turning water into snow

We zipped over to Bangor in Wales to visit Tom yesterday. Spud  the dog came too, of course. 

Tom is the epitome of the hungry student, so we took him for a suitably large fry-up at Pete’s Eats in Llanberis, before  a stroll by the lake it was a damper day than the weather forecast would have us believe.

Tom told us the autumn colours have been very vibrant, and even after a spell of stormy weather, there are leaves still to be found, there is a bit of of a chocolate lime vibe going on here.  .

Wet wales_

Of course you can’t get such lush moss without a water laden climate

Wet wales 2

Or reflections without pools

Wet wales 3

So we don’t mind the rain too much, that said it was less fun on the M56 on the way home during the rush hour.

Today the temperature has dropped like a stone, it has been so wet and gloomy the chickens retreated to their run by about two thirty.  Tonight we expect the first snowflakes of the season. Watch this space.


Sun Store

I wish I could keep a box of sunshine on my desk. So that on grey, driech days like today, I could lift the lid and let it spill out. 

It seems churlish to complain really, as this time last week, I was in south Wales and we had the most glorious weather; whilst ‘up north’ was shrouded in mist and fog.

This is Marloes Sands

Marloes Sands


As we strolled down the path, I think I was expecting a little bay,  but the size and beauty  of this beach catches your breath. If you’d ask me what my favourite UK beach was, I’d probably have said, Laig on the Isle of Eigg, I’m now ranking them joint first. 

Spud the dog loved it too.

Spud Marloes Sand_

I pondered on the powers of nature, looking at the mighty upheavals of rock and near vertical bedding planes,

bedding planes Marloes Sand_

I didn’t discover until later that it is a great place for a spot of fossil hunting


Between Earth and Air

Earlier this week, Spud the dog and I were out and about in time to watch the sunrise. It was moody and misty, we like that sort of thing*

leaves mist_

I’m not sure what the black bar down the centre of the above image is. Is it some sort of refraction? A reader will know, I feel sure.

sunrise mist_

As the sun climbed higher, and behind a bank of clouds, the electricity pylons on a distant ridge appeared to be striding out along  the clouds.

pylons mist_

that is a bout as pretty as I think you can make a pylon look. Usually they are a blot on the landscape

*Spud likes anything that involves me picking up the camera bag and putting wellington boots on, he always reckons he’s in with a chance of field time.


Glorious Week

My what exceptional warm and sunny weather we have had this week. I’ve been zipping about all over the place.

Here is a quick snap of Cressbrook Dale, I’m shamed to say I’ve never walked it. 

Cressbrook dale_

And the view back towards Wardolw Mires,  with some nice limestone features in the foreground

Wardlow Mires_

Wardlow Mires is home to a quirky pub called the Three Stags Head, its many a year since I’ve drunk there, but the reviews would suggest, all its charms are still intact ( just don’t ask for a gin and tonic, you’ll be shown the door. Its a real ale sort of place).

Last week I ate cake, this week I baked cake. We had a lovely time this morning with a belated Macmillan Coffee morning, here at home. Spud the dog had four hours of people willing to throw a ball for him. He was ecstatic.  He is now exhausted.



Theories Welcome.

In a bit of a dash between dental appointments and a Macmillan Cancer Support coffee morning, I squeezed in a couple of photo stops.

Well who could resist? It’s near Wildboarclough, Macclesfield Forest.

Macclesfield to Buxton_

There is a lovely little holiday cottage, just around the corner and a cosy pub.  what could be nicer?  (Doug’s Dad should take note… )

Then, chasing the light, I zipped  off down towards Derbyshire Bridge, the light was too fast for me. But this caught my eye.

I’m not sure how best to explain, the terrain is rough moorland, peat and heather, as you look at the next photo, you can perhaps see (or imagine) how there is a clough, or gully, running from the  ‘10 o’clock’ position towards the centre of the image, where it opens out into a boggy area, full of rushes, I’d expect the rushes to look like the swath of bright green in the centre of the image, 

rushes flat 3

but something has laid them flat, like a thatch, a surge of  water maybe? Or a vortex of wind? its a very exposed place.  It did make me think of crop circles.  Maybe at a certain point in the year, the rushes need a lie down?

rushes flat 4

Come along dear reader, what do you make of it?


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