A very strange few days with storm force winds heavy rain and airport journeys . I was saddened to see a row of old hawthorn trees downed near us! Home to Blackbirds ,wrens and a stopping off place for little owls in the evening and a winter feeding station for redwings and fieldfares They were no danger to anyone Seems so pointless. An brief encounter with a badger nosing around on the road one evening was a highlight !! He soon galloped off into the cemetery !

Listening : Toby Hay “The Gathering”

Turn Turn Turn….

Reading and finishing “The Outrun” by Amy Liptrot (read it please). February  doesn’t know what to do ! Fog ,wind ,rain ,spring sunshine… Fortunately nature does know what to do! The first signs of spring. Early on Sunday I was woken by a blackbird singing! First time this year! A walk down town via the rookery and sure enough the gang were chasing and mewing,pairing off and generally busying  themselves in the tree tops. By the river the Mallards are very active. Havnt seen a goldfinch in the garden this year until yesterday .One called in for a chat as I was cutting back the sage bush. Last night around 11-30 pm as I was reading in bed (H is for Hawk) I heard Tawny Owls . It’s been a while. So things may be on the turn ,there are even crocuses and snowdrops showing off.

Listening:  The Magnetic North “Orkney Symphony”


Weather Warning for the Peak District. Up to 15cm of snow expected over night.Buxton Weather Watch was on high alert.Rumours of panic buying in the supermarkets. Sunday morning and there is nothing. Just after breakfast a few flakes of sleety snow come in on the easterly wind whipping in from Beeley Moor and beyond. We soon have a “blizzard” but it’s nothing too serious. Putting our best gear we head on out towards the mast near Sheldon. The walk is slightly upward and the sleet is settling as snow higher up. Someone has disgarded the contents of their kitchen bin at the top of Crow Hill Lane and we wonder why.After a mile or so we encounter a pheasant with no tail! He is unable to fly and scurrys frantically in the hedge side in confusion. I suspect he could be supper for Mr Fox later.At the mast it is a white out but nothing too serious. Exhilarating stuff as we turn into the wind and sleety snow. Half a dozen Rooks swirl and battle the wind.Facing North East towards the Yorkshire border everything is encased in grey the wind in our faces.Back home I put a couple of logs on the stove and settle down with my birthday book from Liz. “Outrun” by Amy Liptrot. I highly recommend this fantastic memoir of the authors life transforming encounter with nature .Brave ,lyrical and astonishing. Read this book!

Listening : “Colourless Fields” Piblokto

February 11

St Brigid’s celebration has brought winter to the Peaks . A week of cold a bleak weather cumulating in days of not snow.Icy rain that acts like snow but doesn’t actually do anything.But it is cold. Some walking with heads down rugged up in warm gear but not much to see.Nature never lets you down .One day we spend ten minutes watching a Barn Owl on the hunt in the late afternoon ,another day a Green Woodpecker flits in and out of the trees in Chee Dale! Down by the canal there is a dead pike on the towpath !How did it get there ?. Leaden skies and sleet give no light on the 11th. The bird feeders in the garden are quite .Still the stove is warm ,my birthday book “Outrun” by Amy Liptrot is inspiring as are two new  l/ps from Piblokto.

Listening : Piblokto ” imperfection” , “Colourless Fields”


February 3rd

After celebrating St Brigid’s Day and the returning light on the 2nd Billy Bye joined me for a wander to Robin Hood’s Stride and the Nine Ladies Close. The conditions are quiet and fairly lifeless only the cry of two circling buzzards bring any excitement.We are slightly upset by some “new age ” ephemera hanging from one of the trees on the Stride. It seems so pointless ! Nine Ladies Close has only the four magical standing stones that sit proudly looking out over the White Peak.Still a fantastic experience to be among them.


Listening : a year in the country “the Forest”