Saturday, March 29, 2008



Bird Update

Regular visitors to this blog may remember me mention this fella, our one footed Starling. Actually that is a little inaccurate, he has two feet but one of them is completely redundant.

I saw him first last spring and was not too hopeful for his chances of long term survival however throughout the last year he has made repeat appearances and seems to be doing very well.

I remember at first seeing him really struggle to balance and there were some areas of the garden he did not venture for example our fruit trees as he could not get a good foot hold and balance long enough to feed there. However, he seems to have re-adjusted his balance and footing and is now capable of anything.

I see him on all of the feeders and last week caught him calling for a mate on our fence post.

This post is very popular with the birds, the Chaffinch picks a peanut off the bird table and comes and eats it on this post. The Blackbird sits here and keeps a watchful eye while his partner feeds at dawn and dusk, and our one footed Starling chose this spot to announce his requirement for a mate!

Apparently it is the males who sit and call in this way to attract a female. I don't think you can see too well in these shots taken through the window but his plumage looks amazing and he seems fit and healthy. I also think that the determination he has shown to survive deserves recognition. I hope that he is successful in mating this Spring.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Collapse the Light Into Earth

Please, please, please take a few moments to watch this, if I had filmed this it would be my finest sky watch ever! It is awesome and stirring.

Sky Watch Friday #4



Join Sky Watch Friday Here

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Welcome to Blogging

I am absolutely delighted to welcome my very good friend from Greece to blogging at Zabie's Blog!

It will be a brilliant way to keep up with each others lives, in addition to the book like letters we write to each other every once in a while....although I think my return letter is a little overdue!

Zabie has more artistic talents than I can list in addition to being a fabulous Mum. Definitely a good blog to keep an eye on!

The Caledonian Canal

Well Sunday morning has dawned to reveal my garden covered in a blanket of snow! It tried all day yesterday but the sun came out at regular intervals and melted it all. Today it looks more determined!

I woke up early and am eager to get down more details of my trip to Scotland. I had an odd day yesterday. I had planned to catch upon blogging but instead spent the whole day battling a virus that suddenly started taking over my PC.

By late yesterday afternoon it had practically ceased all normal operations. Thankfully after a few more hours I managed to get it to perform a system restore without crashing and the problem seems to be fixed, much to my relief.

I am quite surprised about how distressed I became over the whole event but my PC is my connection to a large part of my life. I know lots of you will understand.

So, Scotland! Well firstly now that I am back I can divulge just where I have been although Ben Nevis is a bit of a give away! I have been surveying trees in the Highlands along the Caledonian Canal and have walked the entirety of it picking up any hazardous trees and noting the extent and nature of the treescape to inform a long term management plan. That's Inverness to Fort William!

It was a wonderful but mad trip. I worked everyday while away obviously to make the most of the time and after a week had lost all track of normal routines.

I got up every morning, got my rucksack and kit together, drove to my starting point and spent the day beside the canal looking at trees and covering as much ground as possible!

I had imagined that in the evenings I would be going out with my camera, taking in new walks and returning to blog about it however after a days work my feet were singing and so I spent my evenings typing up survey notes and soaking my feet; with a wee dram in front of the fire!

The cottage I stayed in was beautiful and it was lovely to come back to a home environment every evening rather than a hotel. In the days I met lovely people enjoying the canal and spoke to many of the lock keepers about the canal and their jobs.

I also saw some fabulous trees, lots of veterans (several hundred years old) and many, many elm trees which was fabulous. Living in the southern portion of England I am used to dealing with small dead elms as most of our stock has succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease and any re-growth soon dies but further up north they have survived and Scotland has loads! Mature elms are beautiful trees.

I completed the canal last Tuesday and found myself moved by the end of the project and saddened by the prospect of leaving Scotland.

My partner and I have spoken many times over the years about moving to Scotland, it is a conversation that has been rekindled and is on the table for consideration.

Anyway I leave you for now with some more images from my trip. I really did not have time to take many pictures other than for work purposes however there are a few and my head is filled with the awesome sights I saw. Those pictures I unfortunately cannot share with you but will remain with me forever.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Journeys End.

Well, I'm back...

this is a harder post to write than I imagined so, I am going to give it in brief with supporting photos.

Needless to say, awesome trip, fabulous weather (with a small facial suntan...in Scotland...in Winter!!!) beautiful scenery and sore feet!

That's it for now except to say my wireless connection did not work out and as such I was unable to blog while in Scotland. You have been missed!

This is Ben Nevis. I spent two days surveying trees beneath her watchful gaze. I have been to the top which at 1344m is the highest mountain in Britain. It was an awesome day, both that time and this visit.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Foo Fighters - Stranger things Have Happened

This song has been with me all day. A guy called Richard 71A made the video, it's awesome.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

February's Yield

I had a blast posting on my blog in February and probably posted the most posts ever in one month....and the shortest month too! I knew March was going to be different as there are, temporarily, increased demands on our time but I am missing it a little! I do however have wireless at my self catering accommodation next week and I am looking forward to posting while in the Highlands, only one more day to go!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Jeff Healey Band

In Memory of the great Jeff Healey who died on Sunday aged 41.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Last Leg

Don't be worried by the title, that's not 'on my last legs'! I was going to call this post 'The Final Countdown' but I can't stand that song and it just didn't seem right to put that at the top of the post and therefore set off the song in my head every time I saw it. I also don't want to pass the song onto anyone else that shares my feelings for it! (Apologies to anyone who likes it!)

So 7 days until my departure to Scotland and I am drawing up my final to do list for the trip and buying in the last of the supplies I may need.

Here's my planned itinerary:

Day 1 (Saturday 8th March): Take the train to Scotland, pick up the hire car and make my way to my accommodation 'station 1' B & B. That's the day done, it's a long journey from here!

Day 2: Commence reconnaissance of route for survey to get a heads up. Make for the north coast to hopefully witness the aurora borealis.

Day 3: Commence work following client induction. At the end of the day drive to accommodation 'station 2' self catering cottage. Light fire, phone my fella, put tea on, eat tea, plug in PC and check emails and blogs!

Days 4 - 10: Complete survey of working area and marvel at the beauty of the Highlands!

Days 10 - 11: Depart and head south.

I have my cottage booked. It looks lovely and is in the Glen. There are log burners and all utilities.

I can get a delivery of food there for the day I arrive via an online order, and they do have a chef service if I feel lazy! And it's still cheaper than a hotel!

Next week, work is going to be....well lets not go there! I also have some supplies to buy: spare waterproofs and boots, batteries for head torch, walking food and canteens, that kind of stuff, and a large Tesco's supermarket order to place, to be delivered to the third cottage on the right, somewhere bloomin' fabulous, Scotland!

(Big wo-hoo! Homer Simpson style!)

I have posted this picture before but I thought it could stand up to a repeat performance. It's one of my favourite pictures of my fella in Scotland.

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