Saturday, 19 July 2014

Raindrops keep falling on my pond

At last, after what's felt like days and days of threatening, it has finally rained today. My pond was getting a little low and I was running out of saved rainwater to top it up with. When I say 'saved' that sounds a bit planned - what I mean is that we have a home-brewing bucket standing in the garden that had filled up with rainwater and which has come in very handy.  I can't remember how the home-brewing bucket came to be in the garden but there you go. 

I was getting concerned for the one or more frogs and the taddies, assuming there any left. I know the toad is okay because I heard a bizarre squealing noise from under a plant whenever the Small Cat extended a tentative paw under it. Small Cat looked appalled and disconcerted, and seemed quite relieved to come back into the house.

Wet buddleia

My Beloved is away at a (motor)bike forum barbecue this weekend, so it's just me and the kids at home. Today, naturally then, was the day that the Boy, who is never ill in term time and has three Perfect Attendance medals to show for it, got a sickness bug. As he's so rarely unwell he's completely clueless about illness and looked as appalled as the Small Cat and twice as helpless.  In fact he didn't actually get round to being sick. He clutched an empty washing up bowl for an hour and a half, whimpering occasionally, and eventually took himself off to bed and fell asleep for three-quarters of an hour. Then woke up almost back to normal. Kids are weird.  I'm quite relieved. What has surprised me about being a parent is that I can deal with vomit with remarkably little queasiness or distress of my own. However the Large Cat threw up while sitting on the windowsill the other night - and there is a radiator underneath the windowsill, and I'm sure you can fill in the blanks. Large Cat certainly did. So the less vomit the better this week really.

This evening I am entertaining myself. I have been knitting and watching a West Wing DVD. It's all very retro.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Highland River

Actually not a river but a burn, and my title is nicked from the book Highland River by Neil Gunn who was from Dunbeath in Caithness where my mum's family are from. I know I've read it (I read Highland River, Morning Tide and The Silver Darlings in sixth year English at school) but I can't remember it at all beyond that the main character is called Kenn, so I quite fancy reading it again now.

But to get back to the point, if there is one, these are a few pictures from a walk I took with my brother last Sunday. Our uncle had sadly died very suddenly and we headed up north at the weekend for the funeral, staying with Mum and Dad on Sunday night. After being rather hot and cramped in the train we both needed a good walk and as it was a really beautiful evening we headed up out of the village and along a track that crosses a burn or two and heads into the hills. I think (after consulting various online maps) that in that picture I'm looking up Allt na Feithe Buidhe but it might be Allt Laraidh, and no, sorry, I have no idea what either of them mean! Of course I had to stick my feet in the water but I'll spare you the picture. I like it, but if you're not used to very peaty water it might look a bit weird.

There are stone remains of something (bridge?) further up the track - I think this is the other burn, but the more maps I look at, the more confused I get!  I think I need to get an Ordnance Survey map of the area (any excuse - I love maps).

There were loads of tiny flowers everywhere, most of which I photographed with varying degrees of success, and many of which I can't name so I need to look them up at some point. That's a bluebell (harebell) though.

The light was constantly changing and the view towards Glen Banchor just got better and better. My brother stops to take photos just as frequently as I do (he got some excellent ones) which was great because very often if I'm out for a walk I have the kids with me and they're not very patient when it comes to photography! It was a lovely walk, though with the persistent feeling of guilt that the only reason we were there that night was a very sad one.

We walked down past an old stone wall with this impressive lichen on it. I've often seen similar yellow lichen but this was very definitely orange, really distinctive and curiously attractive considering I don't normally like orange.  See the little heart shape on the middle stone? I didn't notice that until I came to look at the pictures later.

Oddly enough, stone walls are what inspired the colours of my current (and currently stalled) knitting project, my stripey fingerless mitts. I'm very nearly finished that first mitt so I should just get on with it really.  Maybe tomorrow!

But now the cats are hinting, not very subtly, that it's food time, and as it's their birthday (happy birthday kitties!) they're getting their favourite tuna cat food, so I'm off to appease indulge them. Good night!