Ness Island Walk

This afternoon my husband and I went for a walk along the Ness Islands – little low islands of trees and winding paths sitting slap bang in the middle of the River Ness, linked together by a series of small ironwork footbridges stretching across from bank to bank. Another dull grey day weather-wise, but we had a lovely enjoyable walk anyway 🙂

Garden Birds

No pictures, I’m afraid, just words today. Since hanging a small bird feeder on the plum tree outside the kitchen window last week, we’ve been paying far more attention to identifying which birds we see (and hear) in our garden.

Squalling seagulls swooping here there and everywhere are a given, of course – after all we live by the sea – and crows and wood pigeons are never far away with their cawing and cooing. We have blackbirds – both black males and brown females – and sparrows and dunnocks aplenty. I’ve occasionally seen a great tit or two, and there are coal tits and blue tits, and the other day we spied two goldfinches with their red heads and flashes of gold on the wing.

So my smile this week is not only that we can see and hear all these different species of birds in our garden, but also that I’m learning to recognise them again – I love living so closely attuned to nature, it feels good to be part of it every day 🙂

Weekly Smile

For the Birds

We’ve put up a bird feeder in the back garden, and so far have seen blue tits, coal tits and sparrows eat from it. But typically I don’t have a decent telephoto lens on my camera so I can’t get close enough without disturbing them – before I can even raise my camera they’re off! So I’ve had to resort to taking pics through the kitchen window as best I can, then cropping them afterwards. All I’ve managed to capture this afternoon is a couple of house sparrows – but it’s a start! 🙂

Weekly Prompt: For the Birds

Strawberry Surprise

We’ve been taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to our garden since moving in to our house last October, carefully letting all new green shoots grow enough so we can decide if we have bona-fide plants or weeds, and so whether they stay or go, and it’s amazing what has appeared out of the earth so far.

And look, to our surprise we seem to have some strawberries growing in a flower bed! Whether or not they’re ever going to ripen red enough to make any edible fruit is unclear at the moment, but for now the promise of the possibility over the summer is enough to make us smile in anticipation 🙂

Weekly Smile

Brightening my Day

We’ve just had Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May 2020) and I’m very aware that my mental health is not great just now.

My motivation for doing anything much, in tandem with my melancholy mood, has been pretty low lately. I’ve been pushing myself to do ‘fun’ things to try to force myself out of it, bringing temporary relief at times but overall I feel I’m failing miserably at keeping my head above water. So while the weather is nice today I’m simply spending time pottering about aimlessly in the garden, letting go of the stranglehold grip on my own feelings and just letting the colours and smells and sounds of nature work their magic on me.

We had a lot of rain over the last week so all the flowers are looking bright and plump and the foliage is a really rich green; everything looks sated and content. I notice the old roses I cut back so drastically before the winter are finally starting to bud, and I’m relieved to see the large fuchsia bush by the gate I also hard-pruned almost to the ground is filling out nicely. Not having killed off either the fuchsia or the roses the first year we live here is certainly a good reason to bring a soft smile to my face.

As well as the ‘frequent flyer’ wood pigeons, seagulls and crows never far from sight we also have several blackbirds visiting regularly, the drab brown understated females as well as the striking black males with their orange beaks. And for the past couple of days I’ve also seen a few delicately-tinted blue tits flitting about hither and thither, pale yellow breasts and soft blue backs catching the sunlight as they dart about. Learning anew to recognise some of the childhood birds I now see regularly again makes me smile a little, too.

So in a week where I’ve been struggling to smile much at all without frantically forcing it through sheer willpower and definace against the lingering lure of depression, today I’m finding surprising solace in my garden by simply letting myself be – allowing myself to feel down when I feel down, and in turn feeling powerfully rewarded by the magic of nature’s own remedy helping to brighten my day.

Weekly Smile