28 May 2013


After clearing out the stable where I've kept Trigger's hay over the winter, very kindly lent by the neighbours who own the paddock where he was up here, I started walking back with a barrow load of dusty hay sweepings. Something caught my eye on the ground; an almost imperceptible movement. I looked down and wasn't sure what I was looking at. It looked like a large hairy beetle from above but, when I bent down, this is who I saw. A tiny Pipistrelle, obviously either exhausted or dying. It was very lucky it hadn't either been stepped on or killed by the many cats and dogs who might have stumbled upon it. Unlicensed though we are, rather than leave it to die there, we managed to coax it onto a piece of kitchen paper and persuade it to cling on to some twigs out of reach of any obvious predators. It wasn't happy and showed us its teeth - not a pretty sight and not a photographed one either I'm afraid. Sorry about the lack of focus on its face in the picture below; we didn't want to hang around. 

Here it is hanging on to a twig by one of its thumbs and a few hours later, it was hanging properly by its two feet. By morning it had gone, perhaps recovered. I hope so. Such a privilege to see one like that and something unlikely to happen again.  

Yesterday was the day of the annual Chagford Two Hills Race. I mentioned it last year but had few followers then so you may not remember. Run over just under three and a half miles, competitors run (or stagger in most cases) up and down first Meldon Hill in the pictures below then the adjacent Natterdon Hill, finishing back at the cricket ground to cheering crowds. Crowd is a relative term obviously given where we live but it's a great event and lots of Origami Boy's school mates run it as well as game adults and some really talented runners. A local man won it this year, who moved in next door to us about nine months ago. Not for me thank stamina!

I love this last one with the ponies looking on. A few seconds later, they galloped off. The weather hasn't been too bad, with some really good spells of sunshine early on in the weekend. Not a great deal of walking, just a nice sociable time with friends and doing productive stuff in the garden, preparing for runner beans and salad crops. After last year's total disaster in that department, we're really hoping for some kind of success, even if it's only a bit of Rocket. Can you believe even that failed last year? A few other pictures from the garden this weekend:

Perfect Daisies in the sunshine

Shining Cranesbill

Wild Garlic

Blue Tit

One off our resident pair of Magpies

And finally, I'll leave you with the first Tormentil flower. By now the moor is usually covered in them but I've only seen this isolated one. Not a great photo but they are extremely small up here.  Tormentil is used to cure colic, diarrhoea and even cystitis. Because the roots contain tannin, chewing them is thought to harden the gums and keep the mouth clear of other complaints. I can't say I've tried any of that myself so....until next time, here it is - the lone Tormentil.

24 May 2013


These birds need to learn some table manners!

I think Woody wins the prize for the muckiest eater. When we lived down in the town, we used to see many Collared Doves but had never seen one up here. I used to be very snooty about these 1950's imports but was actually quite excited to see our first rather windswept one yesterday:

Some other birds this week:

We've had mist this week:

A new foal H:

Isaac stretching:

Ferns are unfurling............slowly:

Foal B:

The fresh green of the new Beech leaves looks beautiful against everything:

A walk with Trigger:


It's half term next week so I'll be doing a lot ferrying again. Pretty soon I'll be moaning that I don't see enough of him so I'm not complaining. I hope you all have a great weekend. I'll be sitting on our home made bench with the camera pointed at the nest-box as much as I can, trying to get Nuthatch shots that aren't totally blurry. For some reason, it's refusing to focus on them as they come out of the hole or sit on top with a beak full of insects. Many, many failed attempts so far I can tell you. Until next time, here's Snippet careering about as usual.

20 May 2013


A few weeks ago, I drew John Grey's dogs William and George. If you don't already follow his blog, you should - They were great subjects and, yes, here's one of those progression of a drawing posts. William first..........a more suitable candidate for pencil than pen.

When I started, I felt like I was drawing a teddy but he gradually came to life. 

Eye first, as usual

That little black nose with a tiny bit of light shining on it.

William's coat is curly so many squiggles were required.

Wrist hurting from squiggles, a break for the tail.

Lots more squiggles - sorry -maybe I should be more technical in my description, but I don't really think about it when I draw; squiggles work for William.

Filling in and defining the shadows.

Finished squiggles and more definition. 

A bit of colour....

.....and background for the finished drawing.

George next - a perfect candidate for my pen. Snippet-like so I don't think I could have done him in pencil in the same way as I've never captured Snippet that way. He was considerably quicker to do, more sketch-like and consequently I forgot to take many pictures.

Quick outline.

Eye and ears.

The face begins to appear.

Red of the collar and his lovely scruffy coat.


Still no luck on the friend for Snippet front. Looking at William makes me hanker after a Welsh Terrier but there aren't any around here. We either have to get a young dog SOON or wait until we've been away in August and then get a puppy. We made the mistake of getting Snippet in late October and I spent the whole of November standing in the rain saying "have a wee" every half hour. It worked but I would really prefer to do that in more clement conditions. 

Until next time, here are the scans of the finished articles again. Thanks for the great models John.