Saturday 6 April 2024

Somewhat unexpected

It was inevitable - I dug out one of the Bushnell wildlife cameras and set it up at the edge of the Big Pond. This is what it was meant to capture:

However, THIS is what I got:

The date and time are correct, in American format, so 'someone' had a very nice breakfast at four o'clock this morning.

I have not worked out why there are no pictures of regular visits yesterday afternoon. I need a Plan B.

Tuesday 2 April 2024

I am not sure how I feel about this . . .

For reasons which do not matter, this morning I did a search across my entire hard drive using the term "POST". I have a Mac computer which is running Ventura (I know that Sonoma is available . . . just not got there yet). I did not find the document I was looking for. However, my search results included:

A photograph taken nearly 20 years ago on the stunning island of Iona -

A fabulous memory from last year in Scotland which has already been published on this blog -

And an almost forgotten little bit of pure Americana, photographed at the Botanic Gardens in St Louis, Missouri, many many years ago -

None of the photographs have any tags or keywords. None have anything in their file name which relates to a postbox. This is just a sample, there were many others.

My operating system has not just searched for file names but clearly is actively scanning the file content. I am really not sure whether this is a good thing or not, and if it is happening on my little desktop machine, what the hell is happening on state-of-the-art systems running all sorts of incredibly clever recognitition software?

It is also extremely likely that I am the very last person in blogland to realise this happens . . .

Sunday 31 March 2024

A wildlife garden?

Many years ago does anyone remember my announcing grandly that I wanted to create a wildlife garden?

Be careful what you wish for - there is now more wildlife in this garden than I could have ever dreamed of creating a home for. There are the billions of tiny unseen life forms in the soil. There are tiny little insects, bugs and worms which provide food for so many birds. There are loads of slugs and snails providing food for birds, frogs and toads. There are mice which feed the owls I hear screeching outside the bedroom window at night. Occasionally I still see a sparrowhawk take a small bird and now and again a large female hawk has a big lunch of wood pigeon.

That might be distressing to some but I have to accept it is part of a wonderful food chain which nature designed so beautifully and mankind is busy destroying as fast as he can.

And my latest visitor is not exactly the most welcome because their food is in the pond, and I do so love all those little creatures who have made my ponds their home.

I have a sneaky feeling we actually have two heron because this one looks a lot smaller than the usual suspect who visits in the afternoon at this time of year. I know they are taking frogs and newts and I wish they wouldn't . . . but they do (shrugs shoulders), it is the way of the natural world.

As I am no longer using my big Canon camera pictures through the window with an iPhone is best you are going to get, sorry.

Thursday 28 March 2024

Not giving up blogging - but . . .

Thank you so much Rambler, for kicking me up the bottom and asking if I was still blogging.

Err, yes I am blogging, sort of, but only in my head, nothing has got as far as the screen. I do not really want to stop because over the years blogging has been a balm, a joy and a mostly wonderful experience. I really miss the interaction and companionship. So why have I not published a new post since December ? (YIKES, I truly did not realise it had been that long 😡 🤯 😱)

There are so many reasons, none of which can really be explained. Firstly I guess I stopped feeling I've anything useful, new or relevant to say. I know I am not the only blogger to feel like this, 'Bag End' began in March 2008 and in the intervening 16 years a great deal has changed online and I seemed to be repeating myself with not much new to add to the never-ending stream of internet pages. Not helped by it starting to rain last October and barely feels as if it has stopped yet so there have been very few outings in Blue Bus.

And then there is privacy: something else I cannot discuss is the reason why the Bag End blog has been hidden from view. I think I shared too much - too much house, garden, Daisy, quilts. That metaphorical cat has been out of its bag for too long but I am now nervous about sharing anything very personal.

And then there is: a health issue in Himself's family which I cannot discuss. I am OK (in fact, probably now free from long-Covid side-effects and stronger than I have been in years), but this situation is one which will not go away quickly and lurks at the back of one's mind, constantly, and will affect us more in the coming years. It is tiring & wearing and not something which can be blogged about.

So there you are - a blog post about why I cannot blog?

Last week Blue Bus had a very expensive service and is now pronounced fit and well to travel in the coming months. Evidence of how ghastly the weather has been is that it took until yesterday to find a dry spell during which I could take all the camping paraphenalia back to the van and reload. Psychologically it does feel marvellous to be ready to go, even if I currently have no trips booked. I definitely will not be leaving home over the Easter weekend when the already limited parking in the Lake District will be filled with visitors.

I had hoped to spend the Bank Holiday giving my dear Bus a thorough clean and pre-season detail & polish but (once again) I suspect the weather forecast will not be co-operating with that idea. So instead I'll leave you with a couple of garden photos from the last week when it DID stop raining long enough to do a little weeding.

Tuesday 19 December 2023

Oh, I needed that

A break in the clouds, the only one we are forecast to get all week. I knew it would be so good for me to make the effort and get outside. Even so, I nearly managed to talk myself out of it and turn the sewing machine on instead.

But I kicked myself hard up the bottom and took Blue Bus out rationalising that I could just park up, make a mug of tea, turn around and go home . . . but I am so glad I did not.

Surprisingly cold, not nearly as sunny as I had hoped (the weather forecast was wrong, quélle surprise) but just lovely to be outside. Not even two miles BUT it was still more than I walked on a forest path yesterday, so that's brilliant.

And any day I get to see and smell gorse is a good one.

Back at Blue Bus I had my lunch with me but postponed it in favour of a cuppa and a few minutes with my book thinking how lucky I am, how lovely it was to be warm, dry, comfortable and surrounded by trees and (near) silence.

I have struggled to return to Whinlatter on my own, but today by making a deliberate decision to go to a different part of the forest I had a lovely time and am actually looking forward to going back again.

Having now seen the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday (40 - 50mph wind) I am rather pleased I extracted the digit.

Monday 18 December 2023

Go outside. Sit down. Wait.

Morning all, been a bit quiet around here, hasn't it? No reason other than 21st century life getting in the way and seeming to consume nearly all available hours, plus a 10-year-old shoulder injury decided to make a return visit and that has somewhat slowed me down. But in the context of political lunacy, economic uncertainty, climate change and wars in places there really should not be conflict, I am bloody brilliant!

No, seriously, I am brilliant! Yes I am in pain, yes I am having disturbed sleep because of the shoulder pain so I'm tired all the damn time (oh, how I hate feeling tired), yes there are things I cannot do right now because of the shoulder pain. But those restrictions are occuring in the protective bubble of a warm house that does not leak or have rooms filled with black mould. A house we own that is not at risk of a Section 21 eviction order (read this article, it's unbelievable in a supposedly civilised society). The freezer is full and my store cupboards have enough food to keep us going until someone feels like making a visit to the supermarket.

So wherever you are, whatever you are coping with, whatever the Universe is currently chucking at you, I hope you can deal with it with a level of peace. And if not, then leave a ranting comment here and be guaranteed my sympathy and some (hopefully not empty or meaningless) words of support.

With a holiday season approaching at the speed of a Hogwarts locomotive there will be a chance for many of us to get outside a little more than usual. As the weather continues to be cold, windy, wet and sometimes all those things at the same time here's some Required Reading: Every year Tim Budd, a member of a Mountain Rescue Team and extremely experienced fellrunner and outdoor chap, re-publishes this superb article.

Please have a read and take a moment to think: "how long would you be comfortable if you went outside, sat down, and waited . . ."

Tim Budd - Tested to Destruction blog

Love and festive hugs to everyone.

Monday 20 November 2023

Glass half full

How can it possibly be more than a decade - ELEVEN YEARS - since I brought home a starved, terrified, bag of bones?

That same walking-skeleton-with-fur-sprayed-on who became Little Miss Perfect, the chunky monkey who never put a foot wrong.

I have released her Spirit; I did so long ago and know that she's out there somewhere living her very best afterlife with her original human. The person who must have treated her with love and kindness because once Daisy got through her initial fears we found a kind, gentle, incredible little dog who knew how to walk perfectly, obey commands, demand the dregs of a teacup and commandeer an entire sofa. She did not learn any of those things from a 'bad' first owner. When she was separated from that person it must have broken her heart as much as losing her broke mine.

I still miss her every day and my heart is still in two pieces, but these days I am mostly able to think of the walks, the cuddles, the good times we shared. There is nothing to be gained by allowing the pain to overshadow those special moments, and there were so many of them to treasure. With a world engulfed in such crap and disarray at present I need my glass more full than empty and rejoice in all that Daisy brought to my life.

I did not get nearly long enough with her but I did get time with a dear Soul who taught me so much, absorbed all the love that I had to give and, I think, loved me equally in return.