Friday, 22 February 2013

And on the coldest day of the year so far . . .

Ploughing. I love the seagulls and the contrast in colour between the ploughed and unploughed stripes.

A lamb keeping warm. As soon as I tried to get closer it jumped off but I think the picture's worked out rather well as it is.

And just so that you don't think country life is all sweetness and light here is a dead animal (lamb?) that I discovered because Ellie was rolling on it.

And here is another dead animal (rabbit?) that Ellie is tearing to pieces and devouring.

This day two years ago I started this blog and this day two years ago I wrote about hearing the first yaffle (green woodpecker) of the year. As I walked home today I heard a yaffle in the weeping willow beside the lane, the first of the year.

Love is . . .

When I first met Frog thirty-five and a half years ago I’d renounced deep human relationships, especially those with the opposite sex. They were too complicated, too painful. My life had fallen apart because of them – or perhaps because of one in particular – and I was concentrating on putting it back together again. I wanted to get my degree and then a proper job, and live a sensible, ordered life. Meeting Frog put paid to all those plans, much to my chagrin, and I gave him a year.
    Ellie is unlike any dog we’ve had before. She doesn’t lie at my feet in a companionable doze after our walk together so that I can get on with some writing. She flops around my work-room sighing, making it perfectly obvious she’s bored, or lies up against the wheels of my chair so that I can’t move for fear of running over her, making as much of a nuisance of herself as possible so that I have to notice her. If down in the kitchen/conservatory she whines for me to join her or barks loudly out of the window at anything that moves (insects, thistledown, birds, aeroplanes, rabbits, the horses in the field opposite, cars in the lane, clouds). She won’t go out in the garden without me – not because she’s frightened but because it’s boring on her own.
    The only way to get her to relax is to shut her in her crate in the alcove under the dresser – if necessary with a towel over the front so that she’s in the dark. I feel cruel doing that for long periods so, when Ellie is at home and I want to write, my day is a constant battle. I am up and down every hour or so, walking her, taking her for trips in the car to the post office and the farm shop, taking strolls round the garden with her, playing catch-the-bouncing-ball or tug-of-war.
    Recently I’ve been leaving her with the dogminder two days a week instead of her usual one in order to have some peaceful time on my own and really get into my writing. Unfortunately The Novel (and the blog, as you may have noticed) began to gutter and die. Last Sunday I had one of the worst migraines I’ve had for a long time and on Wednesday when Ellie went to the dogminder I missed her.
    Yesterday, when Ellie was at home, I planned a day of writing but I didn’t hold out high hopes. We went through our usual restless rigmarole but because I was still feeling the effects of the migraine I wasn’t strong enough to kick against it. And suddenly I found that The Novel was taking off again. Rather than interfering, the breaks were doing good.
    This morning at breakfast I was trying to explain this to Frog.
    ‘She keeps me human,’ I said. ‘She makes me laugh and she makes me cross.’
    ‘When I’m not around to do the job you mean,’ he said.
    How I laughed.
    Love’s never how you expect, is it.

Ellie as a puppy, two and a half years ago (and Frog, of course)

Monday, 18 February 2013


What can you say about spring – about the light, the sudden warmth of the sun, the breakfast birdsong, the uncomfortable stirrings that make you want to do more with your life than eat, the fact that the ground no longer feels like a sponge and the mud doesn’t reach to the top of your wellies – that hasn’t all been said before? So perhaps I won’t say anything and simply show you these pictures of the first frogspawn that I spotted in the ditch up the lane about ten minutes ago.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Several shades of yellow

Fields and trees near home, waiting for spring to green them up


Ivy in a hedge. Are these flower buds or immature fruit? Does anyone know?

Gorse flowers in the snow a few weeks ago