Wanderers home

I finally succumbed to the Nog
interfering with my attempts to instal balusters
guarding the stair..
and took him up the hill.
DSCN1975 one man and his dog - Roy at his Vision Quest site with Noggin
I’d been listening to a report
on endangered birds:
dotterel –seen but not often,
pied flycatcher –not a clue
curlew..still quite common thankfully
albatross..er…still waiting.
Standing by Sarah Justina’s viewpoint
in a cold breeze spotted with raindrops
I thought of how much wild birds contributed
to life observed
and therefore
life lived:
the mallard that waddle comically about the yard in pairs
the ravens that announce themselves with a single rasping croak
the partridge that ticks like an angry clock from pasture concealment
..what’s that little bird twisting through the cold hill breeze??
dark with a flash of white at the rump..
ahh..a martin.
A martin?
It’s a housemartin.
The martins are back!!!!!!!!
O –praise be..
it’s not that they bring summer any closer
like some painted panel wheeled across the scene;
it’s just that I will have their company for the next five months
chatting and quarrelling around the eaves
building and feeding
swooping and gliding
rising and falling
riding the airs
blowing past open windows.
..until they gather again.
Summer's End
Welcome friends.

Goodbye to Glamour

Let us celebrate
The glamour girls..
Flora ..
topgirl always on the lookout for extras
Open Sesame

I know it’ll open if I keep rubbing it!

Holly..independent, moving like a dancer: baby Claira..sweet- natured and inquisitive

Finally, big and easy and affectionate..the star of the show:


Eleanor at large

..have all left home!!
.. they came to the gate
heads up for the next event –
something familiar –
and then we reverse the wagon up to the holding pen
lower the ramp (a steep 30 degree slope)
We close the girls into the holding pen
gradually reducing the space,
pushing them toward the gaping box wagon
portal to their future life.
They have never been in  this situation
never transported,
never left the farm
and suddenly they start behaving untypically
jabbing and clashing with their horns…
barging each other and the metal barriers
seeking an opening..
anything but the yawning rectangle
at the top of the steep steel ramp.
..and these are my sweet girls!!
So I go in the pen with them, and
one by one
slip a rope halter over their heads
to coax them into the box,
with Graeme, the buyer, leaning on their rears,
little Claira first,
then Holly, Eleanor
and, finally, older and recalcitrant,
skew-horned Flora.
..once inside they quieten, taking stock..
Graeme closes the gate
with me inside,
breathing the atmospheric apprehension,
as I gently untie and remove the rope from their heads,
while they jostle to identify the confines of this new world,
trusting from my presence that something at the core is steady.
…and something of my care rubs off on their sweating flanks
like a clear gelatinous film
a tiny extrusion from my emotional life that they carry with them
as the old float rattles off down the road.
They will be together..
but no longer a part of my day..
every day..
They have been a delight –
the Glamour Girls –

executive release

IMAG1967Took the Nog up the hill
on an afternoon of stiff wind and sunshine
with snow dusting the tops.
Halfway up towards the ridge dividing the upland pasture (the outbye)
from the heather moorland,
I took a call..
from the bunkhouse guests
arrived yesterday from London
who were gallantly trying to rescue a deer trapped in the wire.
I came up to them ten minutes later..
and organised them to lift and release the frightened animal
a red deer calf that had attempted an absurdly overambitous leap
over the deer fence surrounding the old pine wood
Bad Feannaig – the perch of the Hooded Crow..
I felt it was a curious inversion of roles
as I lined them up on either side of the wee beast
to lift
without putting added stress on the torso
that had been suspended in the wire
from the night before.
As if we were performing some executive team working exercise
designed to optimise our management skills..
All I know is…
if there is something to be done
there will be no rescue
if I fail
We released the trembling calf –
it staggered off briefly with its leg stretched uselessly behind it..
so we departed talking of rifles and winter’s attrition..
but when I returned the same way
it was gone.