Monday, 16 April 2012

What we did in the holidays (Part 1)

First sincere apologies to anyone who visited the blog yesterday on the strength of me saying I was going to start again on 15 April - I'm afraid I got the date of the first day of the new school term wrong!

But now, as the summer term starts, I'm sure I'm joining thousands of school kids as I sit at my desk wracking my brains to remember where we (my daughter and I) went, what we did, and which were the best, and worst, bits of the Easter holidays. Here goes...

Day 1: Duvet day

Day 2: Munroe bagging expedition to Glen Clova - a southern outpost of the Grampian Mountains. Best bits - catching sight of two dotterel scuttling across the gravelly, lichen-spattered plateau near the top of Dreish, our second Munroe of the day, like technicolour dunlin on a beach; pretending we still had miles to go then watching my daughter's face as she sussed we were at the top! Worst bit: Panicking when we couldn't find an ice cream shop on the drive back.

Days 3 - 6:  To London on the train to stay with friends. Best bits - the exotic experience of sitting in Hyde Park in the sun having a picnic. Fluorescent green, ring-necked parakeets screeching above our heads like chimps in the ancient horse chestnut trees. Made even sweeter by my friend phoning to say there were three inches of snow in Ashfield; Visiting the Scott Exhibition at the Natural History Museum and seeing the emperor penguin eggs that were the reason for the 'Worst Journey in the World'. Worst bits - realising there are now more parakeets than sparrows in central London; getting crushed into a tube train with less room than an emperor penguin in its winter huddle.

Day 8 - 10: To the Isle of May National Nature Reserve, in the Firth of Forth, where my other half lives (he's the site manager) from April to October. Best bits (apart from seeing my husband) - hundreds of thousands of them. The island seems to be more bird than rock - mainly guillimots, razorbills, kittiwakes, fulmars, shags, puffins and eiders. A blog for another day. Worst bit - having to leave so soon.

Day 11: Other half returned for some shore leave

Day 12 - 15: To our shared bothy on the shores of Loch Linnhe. Best bits - walking in. The cottage is a couple of miles from any roads. The route was studded with dawn-yellow primroses and dusky violets, though we were too early for bluebells; making nettle and wild garlic soup for lunch - its great to play at being a pioneer; hearing my first willow warblers of the year, splashing the woods with their waterfall songs. Worst bit - having to go outside in the middle of the cold, windy night for the loo!

Day 16: Home. Best bits - catching up with friends - human and avian; the first swallows and sand martins swooped low above our heads as we sat in the sun drinking coffee in the garden; finding that my purple sprouting broccoli had actually sprouted at last; being at home. Worst bit - mountains of washing; end of the holidays!

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