Well, we have to talk about the weather - after a dry spell with trickles of water in the river, there came a thunderous torrent of water rushing down the Dale, followed by snow, winds and darkness.
A huge volume of water after the dry spell
Grouse in a blanket of snow
The darkness and cold that left everyone without power was a miserable experience. We were lucky and had just 24 hours with everything off. It was long enough for us to go through the box of old candles, and that first hot bath afterwards was glorious. My heart went out to those with so much longer to cope with the absence of electricity. My other half, not known for his ability to sit still, found he could pluck a bird in the candlelight ready for a hot meal later.
Working in the candlelight
With the aid of a large salmon net, my favourite hen was rounded up and secured in the stable with the other assortments - she isn’t happy and longs to be back perching in the larch trees but with the national bird flu, all poultry are to be secured away from wild birds.
I'd rather be in a tree
Our cheeky hen, Fifi, was having a last inspection of the latest paint work before being secured, much easier to catch.
Fifi enjoying her last few hours of freedom checking out the paint work
Having bossy animals and birds keeps us on our toes. Elspeth, the horned sheep, had a wander around a new barn we have done up to use for events - I think she enjoyed the underfloor heating.
Elspeth checking everything out
My niece Lucinda came to stay for a weekend, and had fun taking Elspeth for a spin - or it might have been the other way around.
A walk up the lane
Lucinda also came to our Remembrance Sunday service and placed her own wreath at the altar. She stood to attention remembering her days as a cadet and the members of our family who had died in her lifetime.
Lucinda laying her wreath
It’s always very moving to hear the names of those from the local villages who left everything to fight for the freedom we enjoy today and must never take for granted.
The sad news this month is that Flopsey, the lion lop rabbit, has died. He was such a trooper and endured many cuddles and brushes and never mistook any fingers for carrots - we will miss him but he was a good age and only had one day of not eating with his usual gusto.
Flopsey in his prime
The better news is that Mango has had five healthy Mangolitza cross large white piglets. She didn’t enjoy the last week of pregnancy and at one point wouldn’t get up, so it was a relief when all were delivered safely. It was interesting to see that Fluffy, the father, had not passed on his pink-coloured genes.
The young stripeys
Unlike in the Berkshire litters, where the father is unmistakable! I had to use this photo to prove to the abattoir that the pink porkers were half rare breed.
Berkshire brood of pinks
During the dawn, the pink skies have been competing with the pink roses.
Pink and pink
Talking of pink, I was happy to hear my granddaughter had a pig on her Birthday cake - although apparently all resemblance to pigs stops there.
Peppa Pig Birthday cake
Not sure we will be rushing to light candles this Christmas - but we are hoping to add a family member to the branch over the holiday, all news for the New Year. Christmas cards are not happening this year - forgive me, but I will be concentrating on helping my Peppa pig fan as she adjusts to having a new younger sibling.