I finally made it over to see Ruth and Will's place in Slad yesterday. It was good to see them. They have a lovely home high up in the woods, and a spiffy wood-burning stove in the kitchen to keep the place warm.
The amount of wildlife visiting their garden was extraordinary - we spent quite a while watching a vole, which would venture out underneath the bird feeders to gather food before scurrying back to its hole in the dry stone wall. There were plenty of birds around to drop food, too: within ten minutes of arriving I'd seen blue, great, coal and marsh tits, a robin, and a nuthatch visit the bird feeder hanging up outside in front of Ruth's desk. One of the great tits was extraordinarily fat!
Rebecca was down for the weekend too - we had a nice curry at the Spice Mahal on Friday night - and Rebecca's brother Matthew joined us too. After lunch we went for a walk around the area, and though we didn't make it across the valley to the wood which is named after the valley's most famous resident, we were walking through some pretty impressive old woodland. It was a very blustery day - some of the trees were creaking quite menacingly - and there were fallen branches lying across several of the paths. I was glad I'd brought wellingtons as we negotiated some of the larger patches of mud; it's been very wet and windy for the last week and as I sit here typing I can hear the wind roaring around outside as the southern edge of storm Henry arrives in the neighbourhood. After recording gusts of 105 mph in Stornoway a few days ago, Scotland is getting the worst of it once again.
In the evening we all went into Stroud for a meal together. It was a very nice way to finish off the weekend and I was very glad to get some fresh air in the countryside. I should get out of the house more often.
And so it's February once again. I'm about to head upstairs to make a start on the first song of my eighth FAWM. It's going to be a good month.