Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Why do cows all point the same way?

Autumn dog-walking

This morning’s walk was a bit of a quiet one.

The colours of Autumn were great, particularly the blood-red thorns on this bramble – very appropriate!.

The only real noises were from the crows shouting at each other for no apparent reason, intently watched by Nippy, our local stray cat, who has so many adoptive homes where she gets fed that she never needs to hunt, though I’ve seen her carrying mice along to some hiding place.

Nippy overseeing the crows' argument

Walking past the new allotments with their numbers, just waiting to be occupied, I was struck by the old conundrum – why do cows all graze in the same direction? Apparently Google Earth has confirmed that this is the case though they were unable to distinguish head from tails; it was still apparent that many groups of cows were aligned north/south. I confirmed this myself this morning; all these cows are facing South and presumably when they reach the end of the field, they’ll turn and munch their way north.

Molly enjoyed the walk

Molly the Spaniel enjoyed the walk though I can’t break her of the habit of giving a wide berth to the gateway where Izzy the St Bernard lives.

Passing Izzy's gateway
Unlike New York, our weather is still surprisingly mild and we’ve been suffering a plague of flies. It’s eased off a bit now, but I think we’ll have to wait for the really cold weather to get rid of them completely. We tried a couple of fly sprays but they are immune, unlike the wasps that came in from the nest under our floor. They died within a few minutes but we had to pay to get the nest eradicated.

The warmth is a bit incongruous as the city’s stores put up their Christmas displays.

John Lewis windows

Inside John Lewis - a bit 'Galeries Lafayette'?

The Shires Mall

Inside, there’s snow, Christmas trees and baubles while outside we’ve had a Moroccan market full of hot colours basking in the sunshine.

Leicester's Humberstone Gate

Great fossil sink

The Luggage (Discworld)

Mehndi (Henna)

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Golden October

When I was first a young technician in the Department of Museum Studies, there was a series of adverts for Goldener Oktober Leibfraumilch. Each month there was a new top design with a different colour variation but the bottom half was supposed to be consistently the same colour. I used a full 12 month set to demonstrate to the students how much printing ink colours varied according to the skills of the printer. This was about the time that Pantone was beginning to be promoted and I used the adverts to demonstrate how much the Pantone formula was needed. Now everyone uses it and colours of inks are consistent.

Apologies for the resolution of these 2 pictures but you can see what I'm getting at.

All of that has nothing really to do with this blog which is about the October we've been having so far and the end it is coming to....

Across the road, the sun glows through the hawthorn hedge and everything is touched by gold. The beginning of the month has been unseasonably warm and not feeling like Autumn at all. Across the fields towards Croft Hill, the sun gives everything a warm glow and all over the valley is the same.

Along the footpath, the sun catches a Robinia behind the thatched cottage and in their garden, the Hollohocks are still in full bloom. The beasts are happy - there's plenty of fresh grass still.

Hay bales back up the site of the new viillage allotments which have been cultivated and rolled ready for planting.


I've been waiting anxiously to see whether the sweet chestnut will broduce any nuts this season. Last year was disappointing and the Summer this year has been generally cloudy and dry - the worst of all worlds.

On the tree, they look good but what will they be like when they open.

The haws have filled nicely - supposedly a sign of a hard Winter to come but everyone seems to be forecasting a very cold end to the year anyway. Beneath the Chestnut tree there are certaily some good nuts, but only one in each shell with a tiny shrivelled one each side. Not all those that have dropped have good nuts in them but I have managed to gather a few.


In a day, the weather changes from this golden picture to cloudy and cold. The new elms are turning but looking very healthy and over the hill the clouds are gathering.

Birds gather on the wires ready to fly off to the sun. thicker and thicker, undaunted by the model raptor and, as we pass, they start from tree to wires and back again. Autumn is here and the cold is coming.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

...and the finished article

So, I finally got the bathroom floor finished. Spending the week on my knees might just have been worth it.

Pictures bought in Oban, 'By the seaside' sign from Inveraray, bought at the Highland Games, and the little boat from a shop in Tobermory.

Just need some minor adjustments to the curtain drop and all will be well.