Any excuse for a road trip with our newly-acquired second-hand vehicle.
And what a few days of food and feasting it was, with friends, family and feathered fauna all full, fit to burst. First stop was my parents' house in the Gaunless valley, where all manner of birds were visiting the garden feeders.
Then over to Teesside to my brother's place, where I was amazed to see a Bullfinch in the middle of a housing estate.
That evening, as many of our respective families as could make it, gathered in an Italian restaurant in Yarm (that's Y-a-r-m, California Katie), for a proliferation of pasta, Parma and pizza.
This morning, before our return south, we briefly visited the coast at Coatham Sands. It was minus 4 degrees Celsius, with the fine grains and many shells covered in an icy rime. A flock of Oystercatchers and Turnstones were busy feeding near the water's edge and a very cold-looking Seal made a half-hearted attempt to haul itself onto the beach. A few Eider ducks were bobbing about beyond the surf and a lone Redshank flew past.
|Mussel shell with frost
It is quite possible that none of us will eat for a week.