Monday 29 February 2016

A great weekend.....

The Lesser Celandine
There is a Flower, the Lesser Celandine,
That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;
And, the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun himself, ’tis out again!
Harbinger of Spring?  (Click to enlarge)
....and true to form he was out again all weekend, his little face turned toward the sun - just like us. Primroses are bursting forth too, spotted half hidden amongst other vegetation across Hebden beck. Together with coltsfoot and a solitary kingcup flowering by Loup Scar, we're hoping they herald the arrival of Spring. But as more snow is forecast for the coming week, they could be a bit premature.
Happy to run on smooth trails - sans specs
Oystercatchers were flying around Grimwith reservoir during our Saturday run, though we couldn't get close enough to photograph them. A cacophonous bugling across the water came from the resident flock of Canada geese. A wildlife conservation unit were scything the reeds by the waters edge "to make it safer for nesting birds to avoid predators" they said. We couldn't quite work out the logic of that. They were sailors too and in return for their work they'd been granted all year round sailing on the reservoir.  Sounds like a good arrangement.

Back o' Grimwith
One particular bird whose arrival back onto our moors always lifts our hearts, and helps us change up a gear, is the curlew. Most years they arrive before the end of February but we never know where we're going to hear one first. On Sunday we set off hopefully past Mossy Mere, Blea beck and a remote area of rough pasture they favour for their nest sites. But as we climbed the crag we were thrilled to hear one in a totally opposite direction, down by the river which birds often use as a navigation channel to guide them inland to their territories.

Wildlife conservation workers clearing the reeds
We never heard it again. A small flock of greylag geese were swimming among the reeds at Mossy Mere though we haven't known them nest there. Perhaps they will this year?  Black headed gulls once nested there in hundreds but a local character objected to 'the screaming sods' and destroyed as many of their nests as he could each year until they eventually deserted the place.

Counting greylags at Mossy Mere
Apart from an odd grouse calling, Blea Ghyll was as quiet as the grave - and a lot colder. A nithering north easterly reduced the wind chill temperature to well below zero. Icicles dangled under the banking. My new eye was none too happy and, I'll swear, retreated farther into its socket. Strangely, neither of my deep set eyes are visible in any pictures taken. I'm not surprised my Consultant finds them difficult to work with and shudder to think how he draws them from their sockets. But I trust him....

A couple of Blea Ghyll residents in their warm fleecy jackets
   A pair of plovers were calling in the ghyll and a small flock had gathered quietly behind an old byre that years ago was temporarily transformed into a church during a filming of Wuthering Heights. It wasn't a very successful version. Back in the sheltered village it was heaven to walk into a warm kitchen after our six mile walk, to stoke up the stove and get our hands round a warming mug of tea, or coffee in my case.

First primroses
Sunday evening brought more delights, and more of my favourite things. We'd been invited by the lovely Linda to dine in her beautifully refurbished home, formerly Hebden's village shop and Post Office.  First on the menu was venison cooked in a mouth-watering sauce with wonderful vegetable accompaniments and a delectable red wine to help things on their way. Apple pie with hints of cinnamon, ice cream and trifle followed before sinking into a comfy sofa with a large dram of Bruichladdich in hand to while away the evening in convivial company.
   Thankyou Linda. It was a perfect ending to a great weekend. 


  1. It might still be cold there, but our mornings are starting to be a little fresh, so winter in on the way! (so your summer and warm days can't be far off!)

    1. Ha ha, it's snowing again, there's a bitterly cold wind and I've just turned the heating back up! I'll be staying in today Coach.......

  2. What a lovely weekend you enjoyed ... and Linda's meal sounds delicious.

    All the best Jan

    1. Aye, it was a gradely do at our Linda's. But I think those poor Spring flowers will have closed up and shrunk back to where they came from under today's snow.
      Cheers Jan!

  3. I love Celandines too and my quote from the bard is from 'To The Small Celandine' :

    Pansies, Lilies, Kingcups, Daisies, Let them live upon their praises;
    Long as there’s a sun that sets Primroses will have their glory;
    Long as there are Violets,
    They will have a place in story:
    There’s a flower that shall be mine,
    ‘Tis the little Celandine.

    Nice to see you're out running again! x

    1. He got a bit carried away Susie and wrote three longish poems on the same subject.
      Yes, it feels good to be running again but there'll be another short blip after the next operation. Then all systems go in the sunny Canaries.....

  4. Hi You have a picture of Don Stead at Burnsall in one of your earlier blog posts. Would it be ok if I took a copy to use on a Profile piece i am writing for the club he runs for?

    1. By all means Darryl, go ahead, and give him my regards when you see him. Also to Joan and Melissa....