Just like home?!

Today has been a scorcher! Too hot to be too strenuous but lovely for a walk around an open garden at Torosay Castle, not far from where we are staying. Not sure how many castles you can stand in and look down on a different castle but you certainly can at Torosay.IMG_5216Walking around the gardens made me slightly homesick as they are so similar to our gardens!!! Oh well while I am away I can pretend can’t I? The colours are beautiful as are the scents as you pass different plants.

It was too much to resist trying to recreate some of the statues, even Sprocket joined in. Although he did look rather quizzical! No one tried to copy the last one but I include her just because I wanted to.

The walks around were lovely, sometimes in the sun then among the trees in the shade again, lovely. I hope Ian has picked u a few tips fro our return home! There were ponds and streams too.

We took time to stop and smell the flowers.IMG_5282The views out from the garden are pretty impressive as is the house  if the outside is anything to go by.

Time to pause for a photo stop then on again.

I am sure that if you have ever seen my house you will understand how this trip out today has made me a little homesick as our garden is so similar!!! Well a girl can dream can’t she?

It was reassuring to see that even a beautifully kept castle garden was in need of a few jobs doing. I wonder how long this bench and gate have been waiting for tomorrow to come when they might reach the top of the ‘to do’ list!

We popped into Craignure for provisions and a much appreciated ice cream. A couple of quick views, of and from the pier.

We were all happy to stay in for a while to cool off, especially Sprocket I imagine, with his built in fur coat! One thing we didn’t know when we booked the house was that just a few doors down from us they hired out kayaks and that rather appealed to Roo and Stu. Arrangements were made and they were off on the loch.

We stayed in watching them, when they were in view, and of course still watching out for bird life. When I thought they would soon be back I stood outside the house, camera at the ready. I was intrigued by a bird calling and flying back and forth and soon decided it was a sandpiper. I had hoped it might be a different type but no it was a common one, very nice all the same!


They returned having enjoyed themselves and certainly nit ruling out a repeat performance. I must admit it looked lovely out there in the middle of the loch, if only they hired out boats they took a little less energy I might be tempted myself!IMG_2849 roo and stu

IMG_2850 roo and stu

It.10.15 and the sun has just set but it is still very light in fact I am not long returned from a stroll to get a picture of our house from across the water to get the reflection. Back a few minutes and a Hen harrier has just flown over as it did last night.

I can officially state, being retired is pretty good!!!



Float like a butterfly

You can never be sure when booking accommodation if it will be as described but we certainly have no complaints. These are views from the conservatory at the front of the house, it I sever changing and we have had some excellent sightings already!

The top pictures show our view at high tide, the ones below show what happens when someone pulls the plug out!

As well as spectacular views we have lovely weather, a perfect combination. After breakfast today we went for a drive, Roo at the wheel, up a narrow, bending and sometimes very steep road. All was going smoothly until we met a serious of bends on a particularly steep part and it was all too much for the car and the driver too to be honest. Roo did some skilful manoeuvres and we drove back down a little way before parking ans getting going on our walk.

As well as a tribute to Mohammad Ali this title was chosen because we fund a beautiful butterfly on our walk.IMG_5071 dark green fratilary

I am certain it is a fritillary and are leaning towards a dark green one, even though it isn’t green! Please if you know will you confirm this or put me right. This is the only photo I got but did get a little video.

We nearly lost Roo but…she popped out again! Sprocket looked very proud of himeslf when we reached the turn around point of the walk.

We saw some lovely birds including, Spotted flycatchers, Whitethroats and of course meadow pipits. IMG_2758

After returning to the car we had our lunch and began the journey home making stops for pictures of course. These highland cattle caught our eye.Then we saw our holiday home accross the Loch. The house on the left of the three is ‘ours’.

This red deer stood watching us as we were watching it!IMG_5034 red deer

Home, kettle on for a well earned cuppa and then later ian and I went for a stroll just up the road beside our loch looking for butterflies. We did find a few though none of them new, green-veined white, small heath and speckled wood, also a small red damsel fly. I have never notice bog cotton before this holiday but I keep seeing it now and really like it.

The picture looks accross the loch and shows the house we were by when I took the photo of our house!IMG_5169

Later on this heron landed and stayed feeding in front of our house for quite a while, it was a shame that the light was all wrong.

The conservatory gets very hot in the day but is excellent to sit in, looking our later in the day. Tonight we all got a good view of a Hen harrier and also a Red-breasted merganser.

Well ng this tonight but I hope it still amkes sense! Not sure what we are doing tomorrow but I bet we will have fun!




Sixth time lucky!

Try, try, try again is what I was told but in this case add another three tries and then we have success! A life tick for us both is what we have been after since January 1st today was the sixth time we went for a Pallid harrier. The first four times at Abbey farm and the last two at Roydon common and I am oh so pleased to say we have it, distant but none the less good views! Take my word for it the dot in the centre of this picture is a Pallid harrier, the other picture is Roydon common as we left it to return to the car.

We were beginning to think we might miss it entirely but our perseverance paid off today as we decided to give it another go around the time it comes in to roost. I had seen pictures of it and read what to look out for. One thing I had heard was that it is smaller than a Hen harrier which as it happens we saw for ourselves as at one point it flew around with a Hen harrier, the two so close to each other it was clear to see the difference. The Pallid also had a tussle with a crow which provided a good view of its manoeuvring skills! It really was a beautiful bird and I was so pleased to get decent views although I would have liked to see it closer but maybe next time!

This morning was spent making biscuits with my three gorgeous grandchildren, they always bring a smile to my face and today was no exception. Daniel was sieving the flour when he suddenly declared that he had a bit of a problem. I asked what it was and he said, “every time I stir it, it falls through the little holes!” bless him, such a cutie. They each made their own batches and they were all yummy!Daniel (Custom)

The past few days, since our return from Suffolk, have been spent quietly. Ian has needed a few quieter days to literally catch his breath but hopefully his situation will soon improve but until then if we need to pursue things more gently then so be it.

On our way to an appointment on Saturday we spent some time sorting through gulls and thankfully found an Iceland gull, we also picked us a singing Skylark. If anyone spots any other different gulls in these snaps please feel free to let me know!

My sister invited us to lunch on Sunday and we stayed two night, quite a lunch hey?! It was good to catch up with them and we went for a walk at Sculthope moor, for a change I took some photos showing the backs of some birds. They are doing some work there making a river walk that will hopefully be open for the spring.


We bought a new, light weight telescope which arrived today so we tried it out this afternoon. It is really good and as the first bird we saw through it was a life tick we can’t complain! Now we need to decide if we want to sell the other scope of hang on to it, time alone will tell.

The Pallid harrier was bird number 149 for the year now we are wondering what 150 will be!