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A Walk Up The Silverburn River


BarbaraG

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Quite a few people love me to do descriptive walks and none more than Elizabeth who lives in Milwaukee and has been and friend of Toms long before I married him. Elizabeth, like Tom, is blind and so to all who like those type of blogs, I have done one especially for you. I woke at 4 a.m. on Thursday and knowing I wasn't going to go back to sleep in a hurry, I decided that instead of lying there trying for hours, I would get up and take the dogs for an early morning walk along the Silverburn River. The first thing that greeted me as I opened the door that morning was the sweet smell of the meadow and newly cut grass. On the river bank the ducks were still sleeping and a moorhen took advantage on the peace. Doves and chaffinches sang as I urged my tired dog Suzie to come along on the walk. Skipper was in his element which was evident by running. As I went along I came across a part of the river that Tom used to decide how fierce it ran or lazily as it rippled across the pebbles and stones in the river. A little wren bobbed in and out of the bushes at the other side of the river. Apart from a far off aero plane, there was an absence of the traffic that can normally be heard in the distance. The cows all lay in the field across the river and I hoped that is where they would stay until returned from my jaunt. A fish jumped in the almost still water and the midges had breakfast on my blood. Suzie had woken by this time and was enjoying her walk. I looked back on my favourite scene of the Golden Meadow Mill with an elderflower tree growing at the side and the ivy climbing the mill. Blackberries budded and I pondered the jams I would be making later in the year. It was a still, beautiful day and although warm, it was great for walking and the dogs. A seagull cried in the distance and the breeze ruffled the leaves of the trees. As I walked across the field, 2 wood pigeons flew ahead and I was watched by the cows as they continued to lie across the field. I heard a cockerel in the distance. I stood and listened for a while and felt at one with everything around me. The field had quite a lot of thistle growing and that would be relished by the goldfinches which have been plentiful in my garden and the park this year. A hooded crow flew to the other side of the field with what looked to be a mouse in his beak. A few willow warblers called to each other from the thick bushes and a pheasant called in the distance. I saw a sparrow hawk fly into a tree and hide amongst the foliage. I hoped he wouldn't catch any of the sweet singing birds I had heard. The traffic could now be heard building up from 5.15. As I walked along it was like listening to a CD that has birdsong and rivers, only this was real and all mine. Skipper played in the river under a sycamore tree and I thanked my lucky stars that Suzie hadn't rolled in any cow pats. high in the sky a long tailed tit twittered past me and the swallows found a good source of food. As I approached the end of the field I remembered the herons that nested there earlier in year and had now fledged and how Tom and I were fascinated when we first heard them, shouting clack, clack, clack as they waited for their parents to return with food. I could hear the Castletown bellbouy ringing in the distance, the sound being carried on the breeze. As I walked through the gate leaving the field, there was lots of seeded grasses and dock. I forgot to bring a bag to carry the greens back with me. I always went up the river to pick dandelions, seeded grasses, sorrel, dock to name a few for my aviary birds. They adore everything I bring back. I could hear the waterfall not as roaring as can be when there has been rain, but still loud enough for me to know when I am approaching it. A couple of birds flew past with nesting material in their beaks and a heron flew to the fir trees that they nest in. I doubt they would having a second nest this year. Everything smelled so sweet and as I walked away from the river, the bird sound receded as there wasn't as many trees about. A great back black gull flew over and the swallows still dipped and dived as they fed on the wing. I stood for a while and listened to some more birdsong. I smelled the meadow sweet that came on the warm breeze and appeared to perfume the whole area I was in. Another sparrow hawk flew into a Rowan tree and I could hear the ducks in the distance. There was wild angelica, birds foot trefoil and lots of long grass swaying gently in the welcome breeze. I read that sparrow hawks only eat birds. I had presumed they would eat mice and such, but apparently not, therefore when I see a sparrow hawk looking for a meal, although its unpleasant to watch, he has to eat to survive. There was a beautiful pale buff butterfly with a touch of orange on his wings. Bales of hay lay in rolls across the river in the field. I neared the bridge that holds lot of memories for me with Tom. On mornings such as this one, Tom and I would rise early, make a flask and head up the river before I went to work. Tom would sit on the bridge drinking coffee and having a smoke of his pipe whilst I picked seeded grasses for my birds. At that time we thought the pipe was fine and would save Tom from lung cancer. We both gave up the cigarettes 17 years earlier. Tom took the pipe up and took up nicorette chewing gum. I became addicted to that and chewed it for 12 years. I think you could say I have an addictive personality. Anyway, after an early morning walk, I would go to work and I felt exhilarated after my walk and time with Tom, whilst everyone else would be sleepily trying to pull themselves together.

I could hear a magpie in the distance and that would sound the alarm calls by other little birds. Malew Church came into view which meant Toms grave was probably only around 250 yards away. A raven flew over and I continued wandering up the river amongst the foxglove and lots of other pretty wild flowers which I wish I knew the names of. Lots of poppies grew along with milk thistle and a little rabbit ran away in the distance. Skipper took this opportunity to eat some of his favourite grass. The fields I walked along didn't have the normal wheat and barley, but some vegetables. The sparrow hawk flew past me with its breakfast firmly in his beak. As the trees became more plentiful, the bird song became loud again. I approached the area where Tom and I would come blackberrying. Tom would hold the carrier bag whilst I got purple fingers. e would like to try the occasional big juicy one and I can remember the smile on his face when he nicked them. We had a guide dog called Escort that hated us going blackberrying. He was really impatient and would whine the whole time, that was until I introduced him to blackberries and he realised they were edible.

I decided it was time to turn round now and return home. It started to rain and the threat of thunder caused a little panic in me. if Tom had been with me he would have been able to hear if there was any thunder about long before me. I headed for home a lot quicker than I walked to Ballasalla. The 1st plane started its descent and I checked my watch to see it was 6.15. As I neared Poulson Park the rain became torrential and I was walking down the middle of the rugby field to avoid the trees. At the same time I felt good to be getting a bit of a wetting in the heat.

When I returned home, Orry was still asleep as was the little moorhen. The moorhen has certainly been coming on in the last week. He is losing his black colour and going brownish with buff stripes on his tummy. I know e as a lot of developing to do yet, but it's amazing to watch and monitor. He now spends his days in the aviary and lets me know when he feels it's time to come in the house. The dogs are fine with him and he knows his way around the house now as was evident the other morning when he came up the stairs to the bedroom to find me. Last night I looked everywhere for him as he had gone quiet. I couldn't find him and decided that he must have gone out and been snaffled by a gull or heron. My spirits plummeted and I decided there was nothing I could do now and I might as well go to bed. As I climbed the stairs I heard a distant mewing and yes, it was my moorhen. I followed the sound and he had ensconced himself in the bottom of my wardrobe in the bedroom as I hadn't shut the door properly. I was pleased to say the least.

Tonight the goose doesn't seem too well and I'm not sure if he will survive. I have given him food and water and tried to make him comfortable. If he does die I will be sad, but all I know is that he is a very, very old goose. Toms father used to say someone had put the goose on the river quite some years ago. He would have had an idea how old the goose is, but all I know is that the goose was old when Tom and I moved into this house 11 years ago.

Anyway, that it for now. I will add some photos of the canary and moorhen and you will be able to see the changes.

Just before I go you may be interested to know the manky insurance company called PHEONIX have still not settled the death policy. Their latest excuse is that the bank have to company stamp and sign a discharge form and until they do, no money. This is despite them saying the money would be in the bank at the latest last Tuesday. There appears to be nothing I can do about this and they just don't have a heart or any compassion. Tom has been gone over 4 months and they still haven't settled.

On that note I will close with love from Barbara on the lovely scented banks of the Silverburn River.

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