Fox Moth Caterpillar
Fox Moth Caterpillar

On our way up the hill, homewards – buoyed by the thought of a nice cup of coffee, we came upon this guy. He was pottering around on the road in a rather aimless manner. We pointed out that playing in the road did not comply with the local health and safety regulations, let alone the Green Cross Code. He was totally nonplused and eventually, we left him to his own devices.
He’s wearing his Sunday Best, he looked quite different when he was younger – he’s hoping to find a nice warm patch of autumn sunshine to relax in before he makes his way back into the brambles along the roadside and curls up amongst the leaves until March. Very sensibly, he has no desire to partake of the joys of winter – there is absolutely nothing on the television – so he solves the problem by sleeping through it.
Well, you know, he has all that pupating to do in spring next year and it always takes it out of you, so his solution is to get as much hibernation as possible under his belt in the hope that it will see him through.
So, if he is now asleep, snug under his bramble leaves (I wouldn’t want to upset him) I will just mention that the latest butterfly and moth survey noted that he is, how can I put this, well, just between you and me, he’s rather common.

He Couldn’t Wait

The Crocalog, he waits no more
The Crocalog, he waits no more

The previous conversation with The Crocalog can be found here  We’ve had a lot of rain recently and, well, read on for the latest news flash.

The Crocalog, he waits no more.
He stepped on through fate’s open door.
No train or dance came soon enough.
The Norns came by and called his bluff.

An idle life lived to the end,
his perfect choice, he hoped to spend.
But this was not to come to pass.
His golden dreams all turned to brass.

He gave much thought to futures bright
the kind he’d claim as his birthright.
Heroic struggle filled each dream,
while he lay, waiting, in the stream.

It came upon him in a flood.
A blossom bursting from the bud.
The simple truth, a basic fact.
NOW! is the only time to ACT!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ ### _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Where now will Dipper, Wagtail perch
He’s gone and left them in the lurch
His journey’s end no one can tell
For auld lang syne we wish him well.

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail

I thought you might like to see this picture, even though it is a bit blurred. As autumn gets up to speed and the sun shifts his attention to the southern hemisphere, we have less and less light to work with. This means that we can’t expect to have the image in focus and at high magnification.
Those of you who are avid followers will recognise the beck and the relaxed form of The Crocalog. Earlier in the year, we had a Dipper in this very spot and the large white patch is evidence of his protracted occupation of this prime fishing site.
The current incumbent, shown here, is a Grey Wagtail. We have seen him before, but his usual perch is the rusty gate on the other side of the bridge. He was obviously impressed by the Dipper’s entrepreneurial nous – as soon as the Dipper moved on – he hopped over to this side and assumed ownership of the fishing rights.
Grey Wagtails are not seen that often – there aren’t that many of them around. In fact, they are on the RSPB’s Red List of birds that need special consideration, so we are quite pleased to see him. We had worried that the Dipper had chased him off.


Nuclear Waste Train
Nuclear Waste Train

When you’re down by the beck you might think that you were at the bottom of a deep gully. This is emphasised by the railway embankment running along the far bank. This embankment carries the railway line that traverses the country from Carlisle on the west coast – up over the Pennines, following the track of Hadrian’s wall – to Newcastle on the east coast. On each side, the line connects with the main north/south networks which carry the majority of the rail traffic. Our line is a quiet backwater that, mostly, carries only local traffic. The trains and I are on friendly terms – and I recognise them from the noises they make as much as by sight.
There is the screech and clatter of the ageing bus-on-train-wheels that ferries commuters back and forth. The slow and laboured grumble of the occasional long freight train on its way up the hill and the corresponding self-satisfied rattle of the same ensemble freewheeling its way west – downhill.
The most distinctive sound belongs to the Nuclear Waste. It has two engines (or units) one at the front and one at the rear (rear unit just out of pic). It travels fast – and the weight of the safety containment vessels shakes the ground in a throaty sub-audio growl as it rumbles past.
It comes and is gone in the blink of an eye so I felt lucky to get this photo.