Wednesday 30th. Another dull day with a cold easterly encouraged me to stay firmly indoors. Perhaps I am turning into a cat. Despite the implications of this it did present an opportunity to embark upon Bob Mortimer’s The Satsuma Complex, which is as funny as you might expect it to be, given his oblique sense of humour. The weather man has just uttered the phrase ‘a certain degree of uncertainty’, so it’s that kind of day.
Karen has been rebuilding the dry stone wall outside the cottage over the last two months or so and here is the finished article … visible from space.
Tuesday 29th. The rain and wind have gone way, to be replaced by fog that drifted down from the ridge inland not long after dawn and remained for most of a consequently very gloomy day.
Friday 25th. Dr Plant from Poole telephoned as promised to give me the results of my recent scans and it has turned out to be the best news I could have hoped for. The brain scan was predictably negative, as was the MRI, and it looks like the cancer is in an isolated and operable area on my liver. I need to have a PET scan to confirm the 99.9% probability that the situation is as it appears to be and that will be at Poole, then a pre-op consultation with Dr Takhar, the surgeon at Bournemouth. So, as things stand, the operation on my eye is something to look forward to in the New Year. It was also a sunny day weather-wise, with a Little Egret that flew up the valley bringing this month’s avian total to 50; the third consecutive month of 50 or more, April having been the only month to get there previously.
Thursday 24th. With heavy rain and severe gales continuing pretty much unabated, neither I nor Gina the Cat needed any encouragement to spend time indoors watching the World Cup. It has been interesting thus far, with Argentina losing to Saudi Arabia and Japan beating Germany. Back to earth, as more heavy rain moved in this afternoon a female/immature Black Redstart appeared on the garden table; only the second we’ve seen here after one in October last year.
Saturday 19th. At 4.8°C last night was the coldest night since early April and moth-free; not a good sign given the vile forecast for the rest of the month. However, by way of compensation a fly-over Meadow Pipit was the first this month, as was a female Blackcap, messing about above our pond with a couple of Dunnocks. Much of the rest of the day was taken up with the Rugby League World Cup finals and it has to be said that Australia are quite good at it, the women putting 54 points on NZ and the mean comfortably beating a competitive Samoa.
Friday 18th. It has been a windy and mostly very wet week, with little to report, hence the lack of updates. However, it has been quite an afternoon! I had CT and MRI scans at Dorchester to establish how far the cancer has spread, then a phone call from Bournemouth hospital to provisionally arrange a date for my eye to be removed, This was followed by a visit from Martin to say that Henry was pulled out of lessons this morning to be told that he has been selected to attend the England Under-18s training camp in Burton on Trent tomorrow. So at the moment a very excited Henry is on a train to the next phase of his adventure. Wow!
Now I don’t take many photos of birds these days, but here’s one of a Buzzard on our garden fence, doubtless after one of Gina’s mice.
Sunday 13th. Red-green Carpet was new for the year in last night’s moth collection and in a predictably nervy T20 World Cup final England beat Pakistan by 5 wickets to take the trophy and cement their reputation as the best white-ball team around. We had a very pleasant lunch at the Kings Arms in Dorchester to celebrate Sheila’s birthday and spent the afternoon collapsed like the Flopsy Bunnies after too much lettuce.
Saturday 12th. Last night was calm and, by recent standards, more productive for moths, with Feathered Thorn and a Vestal the highlights. Birding remains subdued in the extremely mild conditions – it reached 16°C in the afternoon – but Chiffchaff was new for the month.
Friday 11th. I really can’t better today’s Daily Star headline ‘Psycho seagull kicked my head in’, complete with photo of said gull biting a woman (presumably the complainant) on the nose. Who needs reality TV when it’s nowhere near as bonkers as the real thing? With the wind having dropped to sensible levels, a bit of birding from the garden added Grey Wagtail and Long-tailed Tit to the list for the month and, just after 4, a Barn Owl drifted across the field behind us; the first I’ve seen from the cottage. 2 more Barn Owls appeared along the road as we drove to Upwey (I don’t think I’ve ever seen 3 in a day) for a concert in the church, where a packed audience was treated to an acoustic lass who may have been called Hannah Megs and a band that were so middle of the road they were one step up from roadkill. We have seen some memorable things since moving to Dorset, but this was not one of them.
Thursday 10th, Yesterday evening we went to a performance of The Nutcracker at Weymouth Pavilion. Performed by a company from Moldova with dancers from around the world it was some way short of Northern Ballet but entertaining nevertheless and it’s a cheery affair anyway. As for this morning, it was dull and still windy. Parties of Starlings flew west up the valley but it feels like things have settled into the start of one of those dull, mild winters that seem to be the norm these days. So, I needed no excuse to watch England thrash India by ten wickets in the World T20 semi-final, sending them into the final against Pakistan on Sunday. Just after 1pm a Marsh Harrier drifted up the valley.
Sunday 6th. In between Suryakumar Yadav belting Zimbabwe’s bowlers to all parts of the MCG parties of Fieldfares moved west up the valley, occasionally accompanied by small groups of Redwings. Having established that India would win we decided to head out for a walk after I washed the car, a combination that induced an hour and a half of torrential rain. Once it finished, just after lunch, we headed off along a very soggy Cheese Lane and got back home just in time to avoid the next bout of heavy rain.
Saturday 5th. While retrieving the moth trap in darkness and light rain a Tawny Owl was calling and Canada Geese could be head somewhere to the south. With the current foul weather continuing last night’s effort was as much out of spite as anything, our reward being a Beaded Chestnut and a Red-line Quaker. To brighten the mood a bit, here’s a picture of one of the Stonechats that have turned up locally, taken by Julia Bowmer.
Thursday 3rd. Although the storm force winds of the last few days relented, rain continued well into the morning and a river running across one of the fields across the road testified to the amount we’ve had. Good news was a pair of Stonechats on one of the fences across the road, a Goldcrest in the elm above our pond and, as the sun poked its nose out late in the morning, 2 more Stonechats appeared on the fence with the original pair and a small male Sparrowhawk was soaring over the gardens up the road.