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I went outside in the twilight this evening to collect my two sunflower seed feeders and bring them indoors.  I’ll tell you why later.  It was very cold – approaching freezing I should think – but so beautiful.  The sky above, a deep blue with stars and a gibbous moon.  The western horizon a strange mixture of misty yellow, pink and grey – a typical cold, wintry sunset.  The strong NW breeze that had been blowing all day had dropped and everything was almost still and quiet, except for a few blackbirds singing and some pheasants calling across the fields.  The largest feeder is hanging from the silver birch tree near the big pond and as I walked down the garden towards it a tawny owl sitting in one of the trees at the end of the garden gave a couple of loud, quavering hoots.  I went to look at the pond.  It was shining and the surface was a little puckered by the light breeze.  It looked like pewter and reflected the trees nearby.  Every now and then a ‘plip’ sounded as a fish leapt and rings appeared on the surface –  frogs were croaking from the reeds at the far end.

Unfortunately, it was getting too cold to stand out there for much longer and I had the evening meal to prepare so reluctantly I returned to the house.

The rooks have definitely started nesting now.  They no longer fly off to their night-time communal roost towards Beccles but are staying with their nests in the rookery.  At nesting time they use a different call – almost a bleating sound – and as soon as I hear it I know that spring is here.  The reason I collect the sunflower seed feeders in at night is because of the rooks.  They descend on the feeders ‘en masse’, just at dawn and any seed left overnight disappears very quickly.  I have known them unhook the feeders and take the lid off to get at the seed more easily.  The smaller feeder is hanging from a pole stuck in the grass at the front of the house.  At this time of year dawn is still quite late, but by May and June with dawn at 3.30am it is not pleasant to be awoken by twenty or more squabbling rooks just outside the open bedroom window.  Until I decided to bring the feeders in I was having to get out of bed and shoo them away every few minutes.  They soon realised that the noise they were making attracted my attention so they started eating in (almost) silence.  Their rookishness always eventually got the better of them and some little ‘whispered discussion’ invariably got out of hand and there I was at the window again.  I am a very light sleeper and I began to wake up at the slightest noise outside so something had to be done.

This morning started very overcast and cold but by 10am the clouds were breaking up and the sun coming out.  I had some shopping to do so drove to Bungay.  Bungay is a little difficult to get around at the moment as it is having lots of new pavements put in and the centre of the town is shut off to traffic.  My ankle has been painful recently and I found walking through town difficult.  Added to this, I was called ‘dear’ twice within about five minutes and I really object to being called ‘dear’ by strangers.  I got home again at 11.30 and put the radio on while I had a cup of tea.  Lisa Stansfield was choosing her favourite records tracks I mean (showing my age there!) and one of the ones she chose today was by Sylvester.  Listening to this took me back to my youth.  My friend W will remember that I used to go out with her brother who had a mobile disco which he ran with a friend.  I used to go with them to gigs and help them set up and get the dancing going if it was a bit slow.  I could dance for hours without tiring!  (This also reminds me of a really good spoonerism I came out with at the time, when telling a friend what I did.  I intended saying that I was ‘a roadie and a groupie’ but what I actually said was ‘a rudie and a gropie’).  I thought a lot about this while drinking my tea.  It didn’t seem that long ago when I was dancing all night with no aches and pains and now, here I was hobbling through town carrying my shopping bag and being called ‘dear’!  What would be next, I wondered?  Mowing passers-by down with a mobility scooter?  Elbowing my way through shoppers to the freezer cabinet in the supermarket and running over their toes with my shopping trolley while they tut-tut and raise their eyebrows to each other over my head?  Hmmmm….

To cheer myself up I went out into the garden and took a few photos.

We have a blackthorn tree at the back of the house.  It is now in full blossom.  The blackthorn at the front of the house is still covered with small tight buds.  The temperature at the front of the house is very much lower than at the back and there is often about a weeks difference in flowering times.

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Blackthorn tree

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Blackthorn blossom

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Blackthorn blossom

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Blackthorn

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Bumblebee on blackthorn

 

 

 

 

 

This oak tree was given me by my father a year after we moved into this house.  He had dug it up from his garden and at the time it was only about nine inches tall.  I call it Dad’s oak tree.  He died nearly four years ago.  A wood pigeon nested in the tree last summer and the shallow nest is still there.

007Oak tree (480x640)

 

I think this is a marsh marigold.  Please correct me someone if I’m wrong.  I found it today at the top of a shady ditch near the big pond.

009Marsh marigold (640x480)

 

This is of of my newest miniature iris ‘Natascha’.  I only planted the bulbs last autumn.

010Miniature iris 'Natascha' (640x480)

 

Early daffodils with pretty hanging heads

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Early pale daffodils

012Daffodils (480x640)

 

 

Perhaps these photos of my Delft Blue hyacinths show up their lovely colours better.

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Delft Blue hyacinths

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Delft Blue hyacinth

015Hyacinths (480x640)

 

 

 

New leaves on the Leycesteria or Pheasant Berry

016New leaves on Leycesteria (480x640)

 

A self seeded primula in the grass

017Primula (640x480)

 

A yellow viola

025Yellow viola (640x480)

 

Lesser periwinkle

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New leaves on R’s spirea

022New leaves on spirea (640x480)

 

Deer damaged daylilies

020Deer damaged daylilies (640x480)

 

New leaves on one of R’s roses

023New leaves on rose (640x480)

 

Primroses

024Primrose (640x480)