Alexander Averin

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Thursday Apr :48:25
By Cait
Dear Diary, Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring The Winter Garment of Repentance fling: The Bird of Time has but a little way To fly --and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing. ~Omar Khayyám I had an all day meeting at the Library HQ today but as soon as I got home I collected Katy my border collie and we took off. The weather has been glorious and I had been shut in all day so I was determined to get some fresh air and sunshine. We started down the route of the old Roman Road which runs behind the cottage; it is just a bridleway now and we made our way across the fields and through the woods, keeping the river on our left. I kept the dog on the lead as our way was scattered with ewes and their lambs and I didn’t want to startle them. It was very peaceful and so very quiet, just what I needed after my day’s meeting. Daffodils were everywhere and a solitary raven croaked his way across the sky. Perhaps it was the time of day, (six o’clock) but there were no other birds to be seen in the sky. We did a circular walk, crossing the river and passing a weir where there is a specially made construction to help the salmon come upstream to spawn. I forget what it is called now, forgive me but it is quite late and it has been a long day. We walked for nearly two hours and only saw two people, so that meant stopping for an enjoyable short chat to each. Both were neighbours who I hardly ever see in the winter but now the days are lengthening all we country folk seem to start coming out more, like squirrels out of hibernation. We also saw some ponies and I stopped to make a fuss of them. Again I cursed because I did not have any carrots in my pocket. I promised them I would bring some next time. I swear they said ‘Oh yeah, that’s what you always say’, well if they didn’t say it they definitely thought it! When we got back home a sheep had come across the river into our garden and was nibbling at the grass which was obviously a more appetising shade of green than the five-acre field she had forsaken. She had happily left her lambs and waded across the river; this has never happened before. What sort of mother would abandon her twin babies like that? Later however M went out with the dogs; the ewe soon turned and made her way back across the stream and scrambled up the bank. * There is a book review of ‘The Preacher’s Son’ in our local free paper. I wrote about this book in one of my earlier blogs. It is all about where I live; the house next door and also my cottage and the surrounding area. There are some errors in the review and now I am kicking myself for not writing one myself as I am well placed to do so. Perhaps I will write another and submit it elsewhere. The weather forecast is looking good for the Easter weekend and I am feeling strong enough now to attack the garden at last. Yes I am a fair weather gardener, I like to potter with my plants but only when the temperatures are fairly tolerable. It’s not that I dislike the cold and I do actually love rain, it must be my Irish blood. I just enjoy being outside in the springtime, especially when it is not too hot or too cold. I also love to sit outside with a good book, often by the riverside, what could be better than that? I am never tempted to go away on holiday as I am loth to leave my own little piece of paradise. Yesterday, two ’dipper researchers’ from Cardiff University turned up in the river. Yes they were wandering along the river on our land without permission again. M was quite irate and so was I as a couple of years ago the dippers deserted their nest soon after some wildlife trust people had examined their nest. I went out to have a word with her and she assured me that they had only gone and taken an egg when they were sure that the female was away from the nest. Dippers lay four eggs apparently and they take one to examine it for pollutants. She also asked me if she could go downstream and collect some invertebrates for the same reason, to see if the river is polluted. Dippers will only thrive in unpolluted waters. (Much like lichen which is only found in areas where the air is pure). She told me that the university have a permit from the Countryside Council for Wales to come on our land but no-one had informed us of this. Funny how they can give her and her fellow student permission to enter our property but without our knowledge. I will be sorting this out! But the girl was very pleasant and she said if she lived in such a beautiful location and had dippers nesting on her land she would be just as protective of them. She has been researching this species of bird for ten years and she told me a lot about them. They have ringed the birds, one red and one blue, for male and female. When I got up this morning the two birds, mum and dad, were both fishing from the rocks so it is looking good so far. Fingers crossed they will stay safe under the bridge and will rear their three remaining babies without further disturbance. It is my birthday tomorrow and I have taken the day off work as holiday to ‘lengthen’ the Easter weekend. I have taken Tuesday off too so in fact I now have seven days off to catch up on the garden and do some writing. Also some good novels await me. I love to escape into a good book. I will have more time to read the blogs too, always a joy. Well I just have time for a quick poem. Dipper Wishing D Fells over Derwentwater were drying out. The beck below Mary Mount had lost its voice. Bed-stones were dry-backed in the shallow water. Trout were trapped in isolated pools. The level was too low for dippers or dipper-wishing… A brown-topped rounded stone, pale underside, bobbed up and down. Midstream, another bobbing stone. Feeding from the surface, a dipper pair. To be in the right place at the right time sounds like wishing. But dippers choose time, and so you have to wish and wait, wish and return to the place day in day out. Living dippers are proof that we still have time to renew their tenancy and ours, restore the calendar. Dippers in a dry season are living proof of dipper-wishing’s power. James Aitchison Blessings today? The kindness and support of friends and neighbours. Ponies. Good weather Rest and relaxation to come. Good reports on the news for a change ‘People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong... Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?’ ~ThichNhat Hanh Bye for now, Caitx
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