It was a fine start to Burns Night. The sky was clear and the palest of blues, and then, before I knew it, the rain was coming down in stair rods. Nevertheless we ventured out, driving through huge puddles of water along the back roads to Haddington. The Farmers' Market was a complete washout with few customers. The blue and white striped tenting over each stall was sagging, heavy with bucket loads of water gathering, ready to catch out unsuspecting souls!
The rain was still pouring down by the time we got home again. It really was a dreadful morning, but nothing compared to the rainwater dominating the lives of those on the Somerset Levels. I have a friend living near Burrowbridge and I must contact her to make sure she is OK. The flood management system they have in that part of the world means that flood water is released into the fields alongside her house. She can go to bed at night looking out across green pastures and wake up in the morning with a lakeside view.
By about 3.30 this afternoon the rain had stopped and Tilly was looking optimistic. I put my walking boots on and she knew she was in business. We set off down the drive. In the big field on the right hand side I saw four deer grazing peacefully. There are some young self-sown broad bean plants in that field and they will be providing some juicy treats for the deer. Tilly and I turned off left to walk around another field. A hare ran across in front of us and then disappeared out of sight. The field was much muddier than yesterday. The rain had filled the hollows between old furrows and the going was very sticky. Then suddenly, from just a few feet away - about a lead's length - the hare shot up and off at a hundred miles an hour! Tilly didn't know what to do with herself. The excitement! Just as well she was on her lead otherwise she would have given it a good run for its money. The hare would have won the race. He was a big beast and very handsome indeed.
On the far side of the field, by the Howden Burn, there is an old crab apple tree. If you are a regular visitor to the running wave you may remember this frothy blossom from last May. (http://therunningwave.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/corrugated-countryside.html)
Well now the tree looks like this, with just a few little yellow apples remaining from last Autumn's crop.
When Tilly and I walked down the drive yesterday afternoon, there was no sign of any snowdrops in some of the usual places. So imagine my surprise, and delight, to see these today!
There's plenty more to come throughout the wood, but for now these few make my heart sing! Robert Burns would have enjoyed them too, on his birthday.