Sunday, 29 November 2015

Two weeks on

It's two weeks today since I broke my wrist - and amazingly, thanks to the wonders of medical science, I am just about typing with two hands!  I've had the most impeccable, prompt attention from the NHS, including an operation to put a plate in my wrist to realign everything!  I'm black and blue from the left elbow down, swollen, no plaster cast, very tentative, but getting there!  Hooray!

We won't be venturing out today - we've just had our first snow shower of the winter!  Slushy stuff but nevertheless, the garden is looking a little pale!  It will be very muddy and slippy underfoot, so I'm staying put!  Tilly is not impressed, but stalwart little companion that she is, she's happy just to lie under my feet, to keep them warm!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

It's still November ...

... but Edinburgh is gearing up for Christmas - big time.  The east end of Princes Street Gardens is brimming over with festive things - carousels, a huge ferris wheel, helter-skelters, ice skating rink, wooden stalls selling trinkets, crafts, warming Alpine drinks and German sausages and foodstuffs, Christmas trees with twinkling lights, candy canes, scary fairground rides - you name it, Edinburgh has got it!  Nearer to Christmas there will probably be some reindeer in the mix somewhere!  It's all good fun, just a bit on the early side, for me,
I think this penguin is enjoying one of the things I love most about Edinburgh - a view to the hills.

Monday, 23 November 2015

SOC

Last Friday, we visited the Scottish Ornithologists Club's resource centre, near Aberlady.  http://www.the-soc.org.uk .  There was a lovely exhibition of paintings by wildlife artist, Darren Woodhead http://www.darrenwoodheadartist.co.uk
The centre has a wonderful position, looking directly across Aberlady Bay, to the reserve where, back in July, I helped out with the plant survey work for the local authority's grazing survey project.  
We loved the exhibition, and enjoyed looking out across the bay, as the afternoon light faded.  It was a very peaceful scene.


Friday, 20 November 2015

Thursday and Friday

It's been a cold, wet, rather bleak day today, but that doesn't stop Tilly remaining on squirrel alert. She has a good vantage point from her armchair, by the garden door.  Nothing escapes her attention!
Yesterday, the weather was a very different kettle of fish!  It was bright and sunny, the sun silvered the fine grasses, dainty and shimmering, as the wind blew through the wood, along the field's edge.
On the other side of the field, the immaculately constructed wasps nest, in the elderberry bush, which I photographed earlier in the year, is now vacated and in a state of collapse.
And here's the best bit!  Young hazel catkins are already here, biding their time until the New Year when they will flower.  I love the way plants are always looking ahead - such positive thinkers!

Monday, 16 November 2015

Grey day

The birds are back in force, scoffing the peanuts and pecking at the fat balls.  Mostly, they are coal, great, and blue tits.  Morris is there, and several young Morrisons.  We have also enjoyed the arrival of a pair of nuthatches, with their exquisite colouring of blue-grey and soft apricot, with black eyeliner.
A low tide and a lull in the rain lured us all out for walk on the beach yesterday morning.  The colours were beautiful, subtle and wintry.
I took this photograph, turned to walk back over the rocks to join the family, further back down the beach, slipped, and ended up sitting in a very cold rock pool,with a badly broken wrist!  :o(  Posts on the running wave may be a little scant over the next 8 weeks or so.  But don't go away - I can, and will, tap out a few words to accompany the occasional photo!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The lull before the storm

Although we live on the south east coast of Scotland, we will still be blown to be bits over the next few hours by Abigail, the first UK winter storm to be given a name.  The north west coast and the Western Isles are really going to get A BIG GALE - so sayeth the weather man!  

Early this morning there was gentle sunshine, a soft blue sky, and very little wind, so Tilly and I got out while the going was good.  We had a lovely walk, with the exception of a very sad little interlude when we came across a dead young hare.  I couldn't see any reason why it should have died.  A beautiful creature, still bright of eye, and unblemished.  We walked on, but my heart was heavy.  
The Christmas Brussel sprouts are coming along well.  I love the little flash of violet at the base of each leaf stem.
Earlier in the year I posted three photographs of this view, charting its progress through the Spring, as it turned from brown to green.  http://therunningwave.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/springwatch.html
Now we are in late autumn, there are some lovely russet colours running through the hedge, and the sprout tops in the foreground give a lacy texture.
I think Abigail has just shown up.  Wind and lashing rain outside.  The woodburner is just lit, and I am going to draw the curtains now, to shut it all out!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Wednesday walk

I missed the last outing with the walking group, because we were up in Applecross.  We go out every other Wednesday, and so today was the day.  We walked along the coast, between the beach and two of East Lothian's many golf courses.  It was overcast but dry, and an extremely enjoyable, gentle 5 mile walk.
If you look at the horizon carefully in the photograph below, you will see the three towers of the Queensferry Crossing, the new bridge across the Firth of Forth, which is currently under construction.  Amazingly, it is progressing on schedule and, I believe, under budget.  This is not news you often hear in relation to building projects in Scotland (think ... Scottish Parliament building, Edinburgh tram)!  On completion, in about one year's time, the towers will be over 200 metres high, making it the tallest bridge in the UK.  
As we walked along the top of the beach, we had company!  There were four seals larking about in the lagoon.  I just managed to capture one of them.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

A warm November afternoon!

After a morning of rain, which did not impressed Tilly one little bit, a gleam of mid-afternoon sunshine lured us out for a walk, around one of the big fields nearby.  The wind was ridiculously warm, for November, but very strong, and our walk blew the cobwebs away.
Now that the undergrowth is less vigorous and dying back, we have reclaimed our smeuse.  I have been longing to use that word!  It's one I have learnt from Robert Macfarlane's book 'Landmarks' and it relates to a passage created by animals through a hedge, or some other barrier.  Tilly and I made our own pathway through a belt of trees back in the spring.  It brought us out half way along the edge of the barley field.  Over the summer months it became impassable, too many stinging nettles, but now we have it back!  

Today, as we stepped out into the field, a young hare shot out in front of us.  When we returned there were two, and we stood and watched them for a while.  My photos are not sharp - it's a bit tricky to hold the camera steady in one hand, with a Border Terrier gagging to get at 'em on the end of lead in the other!  Anyway, it was a delightful interlude and, as always, lovely just to watch the hares passing the time, peacefully, in their natural environment.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Not forgetting

As I type this, the Service of Remembrance from the Cenotaph in London, is being broadcast. 
The pipes and drums are playing the Skye Boat Song.  For me, it is a tune which is inextricably linked with my father.  As small children we would each sit on his lap, after Sunday lunch, and he would bounce us up and down, singing the song and getting faster and faster towards the end, with lots of tickling!  It never failed to please us all!  

I discovered this year that Dad fought at the Battle of Kohima, in north-east India, in 1944. Amongst papers, which my brother has, I found the words my father wrote about his years in India and Burma, whilst serving during the war.  
Today, in that minute's silence, at eleven o'clock, and as the canons fire in salute, you can't fail to feel moved, and grateful, to all those service men and women, who fought, and still fight, to keep us safe, and free.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Slightly jaundiced!

I've just become aware of the garden, and the sitting room, being bathed in a very strange, yellow-orange light.  Overhead there is an impressive late afternoon sky!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

On the cusp

I have just looked up the definition of 'cusp', before using it here, because I like to use a word that has truth attached to it.  I want to show that the great outdoors is on the brink of tipping over from autumn into winter, and 'cusp' is the very word to use because it means the point where two curves meet.  There's more to it than that, of course, but for the purposes of this post, I think that we have reached that very point in the year, which I hope these few photos demonstrate.

The first day of November was glorious - clear blue sky, still plenty of warmth in the sun, berries shining brightly in the hedgerow, and a great day for a walk.  
The second day of November, and the sweet peas have risen to the challenge I set them every year - they are still blooming in November - just!  Here are a few of the survivors.  Bless their hearts, and many, many thanks to them for being such fragrant little stars all summer long!
The third day of November, and there's a frost!  There are magical, tiny spider webs strung between fallen leaves, and around seed heads, in the daintiest of necklaces.