After weeks of rain and more rain the sun peeped out on Sunday afternoon. Not for long !
I don’t need to be persuaded to get out of the armchair and go for a bike ride when the sun is shining. Christmas came early. The Strawberry line was pure magic, it might be winter but there is so much to see that you don’t see in the summer when the leaves are on the trees and the hedgerows are bursting with fruit and colour.
The winter sun seems to be more gentle and picks out the Mendips as the clouds rush past. I love the shapes and silhouettes of the trees in winter. The branches are like lace and the veins of the trees. The willow tree below was glowing – almost had its own fairy lights.
The colder weather and high winds has driven the fieldfares and redwings from Scandinavia to spend the winter in England. They don’t need to worry about visa’s and work permits. Until a month ago the red berries of the Hawthorns were fat and ripe for eating. The early birds have cleaned up and stripped the trees bare. There are some sloes and rose hips as well as the white mistletoe left, but they are all being avoided. Its probably too late to make sloe gin for Christmas !
Thatchers Cider Orchards near Sandford are being pruned and made ready for next year. At first I though that I may have at long last seen the ‘Beast of Sandford’ a large puma stalking the orchards. But it turned out to be an exceedingly large black and white cat. He or she was about a mile from the factory and well fed. Maybe Pat the Postman left it to look for Katy !
Most of the cattle are now in the barns – the fields have huge lakes of water and the Rhynes are full to the brim. Some sheep are waddling around in the wet grass looking very forlorn. No sign of Shaun !
I did see two rather plump and bushy tailed squirrels. They were enjoying the sun before spending the cold weeks ahead in their drays and hibernating until spring.
No sign of the badgers, but they are furiously digging under the railway track. The are serious diggers and are shifting tons of stone. Seems a bit strange as its hard work digging out stone compared to soil, but perhaps the railway track is well drained and its nice and dry to set up home.
There were some small flocks of long tailed tits hopping along the hedgerows. They look like puff balls on a stick. A few swans were sat in the fields and lots of crows all feeding away on chafer grubs. Doing a great service to the farmers.
Now everything has stopped growing the seed heads of the old man’s beard, ivy and cow parsley are beautiful and add to the splendour of this lovely place.
With the shortest day about to happen we can all look forward to another season of colour, flowers and fruit adorning the Strawberry Line like a bouquet around our village.