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Sight, Sound and Scent

Muck Spreading

Muck Spreading

It’s a nice day today – that line of water at the top of the picture is the Solway Firth, put there to dampen the spirits of any rampaging Scots army.
But, I really wanted to chat about the gentle sights and sounds of the countryside. The cheerful chirping of the birds, the soft lowing of the cattle. Speaking of which, it’s cattle that take centre stage in this missive. You see, they suffer from chills to the tootsies, often referred to as footrot, so they can’t be left lying around in the fields over the winter. They need to have a nice clean, dry barn made available to them. The word I’d like to focus on here is clean. Cows, being obliging folk, do their best to give as good as they get, and they return the fodder they recieve, in a slightly used condition to be sure, at the first available opportunity.
On a regular basis their stalls are cleaned with a pressure washer and the accumulated detritus is pumped into a large tanker. As soon as the tank is full it is towed out to the fields and, with the aid of a powerful pump the grass is sprayed back where it came from.
If you were wondering when we would get around to waxing lyrical on the scents of the countryside. This is not that time.

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Rook’s Move

Rooks

Rooks

For the last week or so, every time we’ve chosen to walk down hill towards the bridge – over the beck and along through the tree tunnel to the tee junction – we have been buried under a tidal wave of noise. All the rooks from round the area are currently gathering in one or the other of the local fields to discuss and debate strategies for the coming year.
In previous years we’ve seen this happen, usually in October or November, but last year the autumn event drew paltry flocks. There is no doubt that, on many fronts, last year could have done better. Spring and summer were both very early and autumn has been mild – interspersing bright days leading to sharp frosts, with bitter, knife edged winds under a dark, soggy cloud blanket. Perhaps the avian organisers postponed the meeting in the hope of some sort of seasonal definition.
There is an old country fable telling how, in autumn, the rooks all gather in a circle and nominate one of their number to give an interesting and entertaining recitation. Should the audience not enjoy the story – the raconteur is promptly pecked to death.
And you thought stand-up comedy was a new idea.

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Entrepreneur or Disruptor

Snowdrops

Snowdrops

Here we have a surprise visitor – amidst all the tentative spikes of nascent daffodils – a snowdrop in full bloom. At least a month too early, obviously a risk-taker, does he not realise that the first to market rarely stays the market leader in the long term.

But is he an entrepreneur or a disruptor? These days the focus is on disruptors. I have my suspicions as to the reason for this.

I see entrepreneurs as the authors, and the disruptors as the editors. Both have an important place in production.

In the same way that you cannot build a service industry without a manufacturing base. Without the creative fruits of the author/entrepreneur’s work there is nothing for the editor/disruptor to edit or disrupt.

When there is a surplus of content – it seems much simpler to merely rehash what’s currently available. After all, why go through all those trials and tribulations involved in the creation and nurturing of something truly new – and consider the risks, the failures to be endured, the pain of the rewrites, what a waste of money.

First to market and bound for failure up may be, but – entrepreneurial snowdrop – I salute you.

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Merry Christmas

Christmas Tree 2017

Christmas Tree 2017

This time of year gives to us all
a chance to pause and to recall,
the times we tripped the times we fell,
and times when we triumphed as well.
If there were times when you forswore
your own advantage then be sure,
those times are when you did your best,
for those times you’re surely blessed.

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Hard Times

Nuthatch

Nuthatch

When we are reduced to taking photos, through the window, of birds on the bird feeder – then you know times are hard. Recently, the weather has not been conducive to photographic pursuits, with a low cloud ceiling adding to the gloom of the winter sunlight. While we have had a few relatively bright days, the majority have been, not just gloomy but, exceedingly inclement – rain mostly, but even when it isn’t actively raining, we are submerged under a soggy blanket of thick mist.

The nuthatch in the picture spends most of the year eating insects, worms, snails and just filling in the gaps with seeds and nuts. It is true that he will take a large nut and wedge it in the bark of a suitable tree trunk to attack it with his strong beak, but he will just as happily do that with a snail, given half a chance.

So, to find him raiding the seed feeder is a strong hint that we are reaching the bottom of the barrel and the bounty of autumn is over.

While he might feel that the cartoon burglar mask he’s wearing is an effective disguise, even perhaps that it imparts a super-hero tinge to his appearance – I’m afraid we’re more inclined to see him as the pantomime villain.

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Cat Picture

Cat in the Garden

Cat in the Garden

There is hardly any light – the sun only rises an inch and a half above the horizon. This week, the whole week, I only managed to take nine photos. A few of some sparrows and one of a cat. This week you’re getting the cat. Next week – who knows?

So, you also get a cat poem – for no reason other than I wrote one some time ago.

Cat in the garden. Just passing through.
It seems he had nothing better to do.
Except sit and stare at the grass and the sky,
to wonder, ‘If?’ and to wonder, ‘Why?’
Cat in the garden, what’s that he hears?
All at once he is all ears.
Up on his feet, gone the civilised poise,
something in the hedge made a rustling noise.
Low he stalks forward, then – what a relief.
The rustling noise was made by a leaf.
Cat in the garden, nothing better to do
than sit calm and detached, and nonchalant too.

 

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Pack It In

Snails In A Hole In A Concrete Post

Snails In A Hole In A Concrete Post

Public transport has often resorted to Pushers – employees of the transport company whose job it is to ensure that as many passengers as possible are crammed into as small a space as possible. From a passengers point of view they can be a mixed blessing. If, for instance, you only intend to travel one or two stops, then it makes sense to try to keep as close to the doors as possible. Inevitably the centre of the carriage is relatively empty, as riding in that space condemns you to a panic-driven fight to reach the door – through the mass of humanity clustered around it – when the vehicle arrives at your disembarkation point.
Timing is all. Rush for the doors as soon as they open, to be sure of your place on board, and you risk being pushed so far down the carriage that all chance of alighting at the right place is lost. Hang back until the main crush is over, and you risk being left behind when the doors close. The window of opportunity can be only a few seconds. Experience and judgement are of supreme importance.
As you can see in today’s picture, all these passengers are travelling to the end of the line.

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