stories and illustration


dunnockAmong the flocks of sparrows, the squabbling robins and blackbirds, the starlings and the various tits that regularly visit the bird table, there is usually a dunnock.  It looks a tad like a sparrow, but often much greyer (though not this one) and with a much more slender beak. A dunnock, one dunnock, always seems to be out there, a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles, hopping round the edges of the bed, a most retiring little bird.

April 13, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Female Blackbird

female blackbirdThroughout the summer we noticed that the garden was totally devoid of blackbirds, but now they are all over the place – not just in the garden, but in the Hirsel woods, where they putter around under the trees, turning over the dead leaves in their search for food.  They do not seem frightened much of humans, they almost seem to have an insouciance (the four-and-twenty blackbirds put in a pie were rooks, apparently).  In my old house blackbirds would wander into the house, leaving their droppings on the wooden floor.

Now, through the Tardis window, when I take a break from wrestling with the rough of my book about a Boy and a Hare,  I watch them chasing each other away from the food. I put out some curious red suet-plus-seed balls from The Factory Shop in Kelso that thebirds wouldn’t touch at first, but now they consume them eagerly – the blackbirds were the pioneers in the tasting test; though with all the birds, dried mealworms seem to be the food  de luxe.

There are blackbirds looking down from the ridge along the top of the greenhouse, blackbirds in the hornbeam hedge, blackbirds rattling about in the holly, blackbirds sitting in the silver birch. Blackbirds here, there and everywhere.

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments



January 4, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments



A couple of days ago the wind knocked down a whole row of runner beans, so that’s that for this year. I spent the whole of this morning collecting the edible beans and throwing the overgrown, thick-skinned beans into the compost. From Friday afternoon until Saturday afternoon, after the driest September on record, it rained and rained non-stop.  On Friday I took the sheets down  from the naval line (high overhead – the washing goes on a kind of rigging) and could hardly carry them back to the house, they were so wet. My husband went out to put on his walking boots, and whilst everything around him in the shed was apparently dry, one boot was full of water.  This boot is still sitting under the radiator stuffed with kitchen towel.  I was thinking of using the hair dryer, but vaguely remember fusing a hair-dryer putting it too far down into a boot – I was, in the past, given to boots with holes in them.  Tip: if you apply any kind of sticky tape or plaster as a temporary boot-dressing, put it on the inside.  Obvious, really.  Anyway, the green by Penitent’s Walk was flooded and impassible by foot, probably there will be ducks swimming over the grass.  If there is any more rain the road over the small bridge will be blocked.  There are sparrows galore round the bird table, and collared doves, and I saw a robin on the compost bin watching me cull the beans. Soon the finches will be back for sustenance. Goodbye. Indian Summer.  Hail, wet and muddy autumn.


October 5, 2014 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment



September 21, 2014 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Young Chaffinch

young chaffinch

He (or probably she) looks so sweet and dandy, but maybe that’s because I’ve been listening to Toots and the Maytals….

April 25, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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