I love these parliaments of rooks: you go out in the morning and the chat and yes some screeching is everywhere. If you listen carefully, you can hear the replies in another chamber up another tree. I always wonder what they are all discussing: probably not the same as our politicians at the moment, but I suspect there will be important ideas being debated.
Setting for a Parliament building
It is about now when the rooks start to travel up the dale at first light, using our house as a main reference point, and return in time to roost before dark, unusually preferring to live outside our National Park.
It is such a time of abundance in the countryside - and the cycle of apple wind falls being dropped off in return for pork chops and sausages has begun. Even three buckets of apple husks were left after an industrious neighbour had made some apple juice - the remainder was perfect for our very young piglets to nibble at.
Just as well as we have just had our largest litter ever. There is still a debate whether it is 15 or 16, but Gilty the triumphant sow has excelled and with only 12 teats she seems to be coping with the numerous extra sittings needed.
Gilty and her record litter
As usual, Auntie, Gilty’s sister, produced her litter mere hours afterwards, and she has gone for quality with 12 very pretty piglets, all totally different, ok I am a bit biased, Auntie is just a nice gentle type, plus a good shape.
A basket of flowers from the garden
An unusual hydrangea
I met a blog reader yesterday from the other side of the world. Can you imagine it getting that far and making any sense at all, as they look out at opposite seasons and weather?!
Blog readers (family, but it's still impressive)
I am travelling a bit myself, learning about the trams in Geneva and how to say “first floor” in French for the food deliveries. I wish I had learnt more French at school, I am hoping to be a bit useful on the home front for the first grandchild. In between logging the nearest patisserie, I had a swim in Lake Geneva with my daughter, very invigorating.
Swimming in the lake
Luckily, with technology I can still get "Strictly" out there.
Closer to home, the short horn bull, Lion king, is being renamed "King of Penn Hill". He has decided every other bull on the hillside needs checking out. He is now confined to lower pastures with better walls and fencing. Obviously my meagre herd of twelve South Devon cows wasn’t quite enough to keep his interest.
King of Penn Hill
And we are missing our lovely Highland bull and white cow who came on loan for the Summer. They were no trouble and hopefully the fruits of Moretti’s visit will be apparent come the Spring.
Moretti and the white cow
Talking handsome, you can’t get much more good looking then these two spaniels, I’m back to the Harrod's fashion shoot...
Good looking chaps
...while the puppy is in serious negotiation mood for me to let him have not 4, 3, 2 or 1 legs on the sofa, but a chin?
And thanks to Tim’s long holiday, I am now “yurt trained”. Cleaning and filling hot tubs, changing shower heads, selling wood and farm tours on an app and I have brushed up on the local knowledge/interests to answer any enquiry for any age. It has been hard work, and it's a cool 18,000 steps every yurt change over day - I will learn to drive a quad bike if Tim escapes again in the Summer holidays!
Helper in the hot tub
And you are never too old to change your views - referring to the UCI bicycle race slightly nonchalantly. On Sunday morning, the Men’s world elite bicycle race was changed at 12 hours' notice (leaving no chance to square up the borders) to come through sleepy Swinithwaite. I woke up the llamas, and once we knew which direction to look in, we were at one with the 800 other interested parties.
Llamas watching for bicycles
Luckily, I warned my son just in time as he drew his curtains in his boxers to a crowd of film crews and flags.
And being three feet from a hundred and odd athletes all at the top of their game, racing to get up speed for a hill, was mind blowing.
Elite men on bicycles
And as litter lady for the area, I didn't find one piece of plastic or rubbish in the whole mile between us and West Witton after the race - they are definitely lovely and clearly very fit types. I took a photo of part of the Irish back-up crew; obviously, I wasn’t going to mention the rugby, she looked so happy.
I am loving the world rugby - it's just annoying the teams take so long to recover, at least with Strictly we only have to wait a week.
But other entertainment was the Swinifest live bands. Fairhurst's at Berry’s had around five bands who played from 1pm until 10pm - they were fantastic, and with a hog roast and around 100 tickets sold, we had a great atmosphere. I was worried the goats might join in, but all the supporting casts behaved themselves. And the musicians are keen to come back next year.
With this Autumn weather, we have the upside of the rainbows.
And I surprised myself checking my wing mirror while up the hill with this view, how lucky was that! And yes, we do use our wing mirrors!