Sunday, 27 February 2011

Geese leaving Strathbeg

Turning Seasons

Getting up at an unearthly hour to count the geese every month can sometimes be a bit of a trial, but there are some things that make it worthwhile - the song of a skylark, giving it laldy somewhere overhead in the darkness before dawn; groups of roe deer grazing along the field margins, coming within twenty yards before catching sight or smell of the car, and bolting away into the sunrise, or leaping over the fences with astonishing grace; a flight of whooper swans skimming low over the wood and straight over the car, 'whoong-ing' to each other as they pass overhead. And of course, the geese, in their thousands, rising from the loch and the Low Ground where they have been roosting and feeding to head out into the dawn in search of more food, building strength for the new breeding season.

And the sunrise... each early morning this year, the sun rises a little bit further north. In mid-January, it rose in a scarlet and fuchsia glory behind the Rookery Wood. This morning, it was a full hands-width further round, beyond the airfield; pink filigree lighting the clouds before the gold-on-blue brilliance made using my binoculars a distinctly unsafe business. It marks the changing seasons as much as the snowdrops that flourish in the damp woodlands, or the sudden appearance of lambs, which pop up as if hatching from the turnips their mothers are feeding on. (Or are they helping them to hatch? My passing aliens might suspect so.) Spring is finally showing signs of returning.

And one day I'll figure out how to stick a video into a blog post without have to do it separately!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Random Thoughts from the Festive Season...

Afflicted with cabin fever over Xmas and New Year, I have spent an inordinate time in the companyof the haunted goldfish tank, aka the TV. And the inevitable hoardes of adverts.
Which set me to thinking...what would any passing alien make of Earth, if this was what they picked up (and given the tedious repetition of much of it, it's probably more likely that they'd pick up the uncomfortable mix of Can-can and Heavy metal that was Why Mums Go to Iceland than something more intellectual).

In the run up to Xmas, the TV was populated by an inordinate number of sulky girls and moody men, wearing pouts that left them a hair's breadth short of becoming goldfish, glowering at each other, getting it on in lifts (and did the one who broke her Diamond necklace on behalf of Armani have to wait in line until the Beckhams finished?) or spilling flammable liquid across the floor and rolling about in it.
Obviously all this heavy breathing wore them out, one way or another, as the post Xmas schedules centred around replacing beds and sofas. Our passing aliens might wonder why these primitive Earthlings spent so much money in December, when the prices of nearly everything were immediately cut afterwards; why, they might ask, do they not do the Xmas thing at the end of January, when the sales have happened?

Wandering aimlessly through the supermarket (oh, how we spend our days!) another thing caught my eye. Seasonally-scented air fresheners/candles/electronic gizmos. Apart from wondering idly why anyone would want these things in the first place (they make me sneeze, for a start. Open a window, for goodnesss sake!) the sheer variety of 'scents' was astonishing. And in such combinations! Cinnamon and nutmeg. Cranberry and holly. Cotton and mulberry. Soft cashmere and vanilla... hang on a minute. Cashmere? Doesn't cashmere come from goats?

Can anyone explain why I would want my festivities seasoned with goat scented ice-cream?