Tuesday, 15 August 2017

High summer?

I think there may be a little confusion going on in the heavens, and - just possibly - August has been swapped for April.  We have had an endless succession of days full of sunshine and showers.  So far this month we have only had one completely dry day.  Now, this has nothing to do with Scottish weather because, by and large, on the east coast we get very little rain indeed. Anyway, the upshot is my runner beans are growing well and the cereal crops in the East Lothian countryside are looking good.  

To my mind, August doesn't offer much in the way of colour across the landscape.  The fields and wild grasses have all turned to straw, and the leaves on the trees have morphed into one dull dark green.  There are little pinpricks of colour, which I relish, and we have had many rain-laden skies, which have produced a welcome intensity of colour to contrast with the landscape.  But it's hardly high summer weather.  Temperature-wise, although the sun feels hot, the air is cool and more like a Melbourne winter!
 If you look closely in the photo below, you will see a little reed warbler.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

A much anticipated annual event

This is the third year we have visited the studios at Allanbank Mill Steading, in the Borders, which opens it's very special doors to the public over the first weekend in August, every year.

Allanbank Mill Steading is the home and studios of Pauline Burbidge (quilter extraordinaire) and Charlie Poulsen (sculpture and drawings) http://www.allanbankmillsteading.co.uk  It is a beautiful place.  Apart from Pauline and Charlie's skills as artists, their home offers clever gardening, tranquility, attention to detail and masses of creativity.  It really is a treat to visit.
Everything in and around the steading buildings is decorated and painted in an interesting way.  Even the door mats have been given a little extra something!
Despite all the human effort to display so much creativity, for me the whole show was stolen by these little chaps!  Five fledgling swallows, all lined up on a rafter in one of the steading outbuildings, eagerly awaiting the next flying visit from their parents with afternoon tea in their beaks!

It barely seems possible that, in a few weeks time, these young birds, hardly out of their nest, will be embarking upon a journey of thousands of miles to spend wintertime in South Africa.  These little fellows will travel across western France, over the Pyrenees, down eastern Spain into Morocco, and then across the Sahara. Little miracles.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Last Australian post

I've seen quite an array of Australian wildlife during this trip.  None of it in the wild, unfortunately, but during a trip to an animal sanctuary and Melbourne Zoo.  
Could this koala be more cuddly - or Australian!
And after a feed of gum leaves, a snooze in a convenient tree.  Koalas are known to frequently fall out of trees during a kip!
Here is a tawny frogmouth owl.  Quite a creepy looking bird, with his triangular shaped eyes!
Below, the dingo - Australia's largest terrestrial predator, although this one looked pretty innocuous!
Mary the wombat.  Seems cuddly, loves chopped veg, but look at those claws!
My granddaughter had a happy time feeding wallabies, a duck who was keen to get in on the act, and even a kangaroo which stood considerably taller than her at full stretch!
 This is the only truly wild creature amongst this collection - an Eastern yellow robin.
Below, a bush-stone curlew, which looks quite different to our curlews at home.
Although obviously not a local, I have to include the orang-utan because he was my granddaughter's favourite at the zoo.  
And finally, a kindly looking pelican!