Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Of mustelids and meals

Where did those two weeks go? I'd just about got the hang of trolling along, maintaining the correct work/life balance, when blogging upset the apple cart and I'm back to Square One.

Despite extracating myself from behind my desk for a few days, being sat on top of a 12 storey building in the middle of a city wasn't an utter naturefest, would you believe? A dozen or so Starlings on pre-roost and a family of Mistle Thrushes were the sum total of the wildlife distractions. Apart from the Swifts of course. Swifts? In late September? W-e-l-l, kinda. The title song from the Peatbog Faeries "Faery Stories", strangely called "Faery Stories", has Swifts as the backing track. What a glorious thing to do and it certainly cheered up my drives up and down the M6. That and the early mornings with atmospheric patches of mist and the low sun flaring off the autumn colours on the trees.

We've finally been on our anniversary weekend jaunt, combined with a "visit the family" trip to County Durham, Land of the Prince Bishops and Cricket County Champions. We booked into a country hotel in Croft on Tees, Clow Beck House, and what a sumptuous place it was. Us simple folk aren't used to complimentary slippers! The food was fab, with as many veggie options as meatatarian ones and the staff were so welcoming and helpful. We'd barely had time to recover from the evening meal, when it was time for the cooked breakfast. After we'd checked out on the Sunday morning, we ambled around their garden, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of early autumn and were surprised to spot a weasel. Amazingly, it was doing that stuff that you normally only ever see on Springwatch, leaping around like a mad thing and performing crazy back flips, without ever being too perturbed about our presence.

We met up with my brother and his wife for lunch in the sleepy village of Stapleton. Sleepy, that is until the pub opened and the population of Darlington decamped to the carvery, leaving their cars all around the village green. If the local football team had that amount of support, they wouldn't be in such financial straits. Sunday roast came with dish after dish of vegetables, and we all had to admit defeat and forego dessert. No, really!

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