Ah, sunshine

The deal is either wet, mild and cloudy or cold and bright. So the last few days of cold and cloudy were not part of the deal.

So when the skies cleared

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and the sun shone

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today (before it goes back to milder, wetter – and cloudy next week)

we wanted to join Mrs

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and Mr

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Blackbird in their busy optimism.

Or oh to be a Wren

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to whom one compost heap provides infinite happiness.

The Yellow Rose of Gribin shone bright

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and the sun gave us Alpine-like vistas

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so as the sun went down

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and provided a rose-tinted view of life

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we say, with the Blackbird

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we have survived another day.

Home to roost

At the rising of the Moon

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Our personal cohort of starlings, who have been spread out spending the day with us, congregate on the Old Ash Tree

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Periodically they send up a scout to scan the Eastern horizon

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Until they spot the rush hour coming

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They rise up to join the throng

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and are gone

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until tomorrow,

Leaving the December Moon, sometimes named the Cold Moon

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or the Moon of the Long Night

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or, perhaps more optimistically, the Oak Moon

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with the sky to herself.

White highlights

We only had a small deposit of slushy snow overnight

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but even that accentuates things differently

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Things normally in the distance are spotlighted

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The eye is drawn to new detail

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Contours are accentuated

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and the light shines on seemingly exotic slopes

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Pathways are exposed,

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dark shapes harshly outlined

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and distant trees are seen anew

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So as the starlings fly to their roost

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we stoke up the boilers

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and watch the Cold Moon, two days away from its fullness

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Christmas… Humbug

It is Christmas – but not as we know it

The Christmas tree has been banished outside – or maybe repatriated to a more appropriate environment

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Starting to decorate it in a more… organic… way

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Indoors, there is a contest for queen of ceremonies between…

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….the Wicker Woman and…

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Nicola Sturgeon.

The Festive King

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was pulled from the Welsh sea over forty years ago, and has been biding his time.

The assembled animals

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seem a bit out of proportion.

But the sheep

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know their place.

Rob

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has had his presents

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some tiny fish to care for

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Our neighbour brought round the traditional gift of Christmas Giblets

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So, time to keep our heads down

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and share our decorations with the local owl

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Mixed-up December

Each day recently has been a mix up of sun

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glimpses of blue sky

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interspaced with rainbows, heavy showers, and hail

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The predominately Southerly wind

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has kept up temperatures

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The Welsh Poppy will flower at any time

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and the eco-system on the old ash stump still includes un-ripened strawberries

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Alongside Winter trees

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are signs of things to come

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Our personal Starling cohort come visting each day

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and tonight the Moon

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is working itself up to the Full Cold Moon of the month’s end.

Rainbow Pie

You don’t think of December as being a rainbow month but with the weather we have these days nothing is a surprise. These last few weeks have been full of rainbows here.

Up the hill this morning, with only a phone camera, this full one would only fit on screen via video

Back down with a wider lens it would fit into frame

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The question was, which end

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would lead to

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the Golden Pie

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What to look for in Winter

Time to check the reference book

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We have got the tree silhouettes

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inside…

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We have got the Magpies, they are always hanging round the meadow plus the poultry and the pig run but they have the art of flying away just before you arrive.

We have the Starlings (see yesterday) not just sitting in our trees but also the magical whoosh as the sky is filled at dusk as they pass over on their way to roost.

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Catkins yes.

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Catkins are always a promise of Spring to come. And blackbirds in profusion, foraging in the leaf litter and making a very big fuss at bedtime.

the Lapwings in that picture are a reminder that a once abundant species is now on the Red conservation list.

This picture

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brings to mind shifting baseline syndrome if we see one heron or a snipe here we get excited.

We have spotted some things that are not in the reference book

Winter berries

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The Winter Sheep saying “do you really expect me to get by on this winter grass then?”

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The Winter Dog saying “Winter, what’s that then?”

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a good selection of Winter reading material

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A reminder of when Winter meant enough snow to go sledging

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A Winter cushion

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A Winter candle with Winter soap

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A Winter fire

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and of course, the Winter damson wine

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The Twelve Starlings of Christmas

One Starling a spying

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One Starling a preening

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One Starling a showing off its tail

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One Starling a sunbathing

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One Starling a singing

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One Starling on watch

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One Starling a snoozing

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One Starling pinching a free meal

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One Starling pretending it is a sparrow

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two Starlings cleaning up beneath the bird feeder

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and one Starling racing the post van

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