Thursday, 28 September 2017

Exotic North Berwick

Our walking group had a very enjoyable stroll around North Berwick yesterday.  Up, down and through its wooded slopes, with wonderful views of the beaches, through the lovely park and around the harbour.  The small semi-tropical border in the park was looking like a tiny  jungle, luxurious with red banana palms and orange abutilon.

Monday, 25 September 2017

The best of ingredients

Yesterday I happened upon the recipe for a brilliant walk.

A lovely grassy track, leading uphill with the promise of good views at the top.
Beautiful old stone walls.
A vast cabbage field.  Give me proper cabbages as a decorative plant any day.  I have an aversion to the decorative ones which come as bedding plants.
Wonderful views all round, even on a murky afternoon.
A field full of lapwings, together with a flying display.
An orchard, with rosy apples and a beehive.
Damson trees, with accessible fruit for scrumping!

All these things added up to the most enjoyable walk I have had in a long time.



Saturday, 23 September 2017

More than good enough to eat!

We have a cracking little farm shop nearby, and as I was about to unpack today's bagful I was struck by how lovely colours were, and how I can't wait to tuck in, especially to the sprout tops, and the damsons!  Yum!

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Little miracles

By my very approximate estimation, Ted's summer playmates, the swallows, will be approaching the Pyrenees by now.  I think they left here about five days ago, embarking on their miraculous journey to South Africa.  Covering about 200 miles a day, they fly through western France, across the Pyrenees, down eastern Spain into Morocco, and then across the Sahara to reach their final destination, where they will overwinter in the sunshine, before coming all the way back again.  Their departure leaves me in no doubt that summer is over and the year is moving on.  But Ted and I will be looking out for them again in the spring, and frankly we can't wait for their return.  Everything about a swallow is joyous.

On 5 September they were beginning to gather along wires and amongst small trees across the golf course.  By the middle of last week, the skies were empty where previously they had been habitually swooping and soaring.
By contrast, starlings are now arriving here from Northern Europe, to spend their winter in warmer climes!  They will be kicking around until about March next year, minding the shop until the swallows return.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Saturday evening stroll .....

which turned into a sprint home!

In the vanishing daylight, once the golfers have all gone away, I can take the dogs out on to the neighbouring 9 hole golf course.  The coast is clear.  This evening there was an amazing sunset, which distracted me from the looming rain storm fast approaching from the north!  We had to make a very hasty retreat, soaked, but with one or two photos to remind me of the range of beautiful colours in the sky!

Monday, 11 September 2017

A changing landscape

It is almost mid-September and the countryside is looking very different from only one month ago.  The cereal crops are being harvested and the fields are criss-crossed with tractor tracks, carving through the fine lines drilled with the crop earlier in the year.  Tilly is not keen on walking in newly cut fields.  The stubble is prickly and uncomfortable for her, so she trots along the track made by one giant tractor tyre and I walk along the other.  Ted isn't bothered either way!

The neighbouring field of barley was still in the process of being cut when I went to photograph the straw megaliths, which had been left across the landscape.  
In the far distance you can see the three Forth bridges, 
and behind the combine harvester, Arthur's Seat looms.


Friday, 8 September 2017

Hedgerow berries

This is a wonderful time of year for walking along the hedgerows.  They are laden with glorious berries.  Happy days for the birds, and happy days for those of us who love to forage.
This is a great year for blackberries.  The unwelcome amount of rain which fell almost every day in August has redeemed itself (slightly), by translating into the biggest and juiciest blackberries I have ever seen.  And there are masses of them.  What I don't understand is why they are still on the bushes.  Could it be that it is just easier to reach for a punnet of berries in Tesco than to go out with a bowl and pick your own?  That's a bit of a sign of the times.  A very sad sign.  What happened to the family-sized blackberry and apple crumble for pudding?  Blackberries picked in the sunshine from a hedgerow bordering a newly harvested field, paired with some cooking apples from a neighbour's apple tree.  What could be better?
There are also other good things in the hedgerow at the moment.  Beautiful red cob nuts, and deliciously fragrant honeysuckle.