April begins

with a sad loss. one we knew was coming

but it doesn’t make it any easier

it gets harder every time

and you miss them more

these were all taken in 2012 when Emmett came to stay with Tilda and me for a while, because Lucy was doing her first stint of teaching at St Andrews. he wasn’t easy – my fences all had to be reinforced because there was a feral cat around – I found an old facebook post recently saying he had eaten the contents of my shopping basket, dried apricots and prunes – yum! – and I remember him eating a bag of crocus bulbs. I can’t remember any ill effects. and I remember chasing after him out of my house in Spain as he had nicked the large piece of good cheese off the worktop. he had an amazing time in Extremadura – so much freedom – to run away and to chase animals – he was lucky – but to watch him was a pleasure.

we always had amazing photos of the dogs playing on the Norfolk beaches and Morston saltmarsh.

on Sunday the beginning of grief work and recovery time. we took my electric car to Callander on the edge of the Trossachs. 68 miles; with three people in it used more battery than advertised – lots of long hills and dual carriageway. but in Callander station there is a rapid charger, for free – so while we got a picnic lunch and drank tea and ate frangipane tarts, the car gobbled up another 100 miles of charge to get us home again (we started the day with 120 miles in the “tank”).

lots of these beside the forestry commission track, they are coltsfoot flowers.

and quite a few of these. which surprised me as I have only seen primroses which have apparently been planted here in Fife.

from the car park we walked near the river, the Garbh Uisge, between woods

to where it becomes a loch,

still very wintery and the dry weather made it seem almost like the wood pasture around my finca in Extremadura

with dry moss and brittle trees. but the trees in Extremadura are mostly evergreens like cork oak, holme oak and olive. these are birch and sessile oak. that licheny, rocky, mossy feel though, and the humpy hillocks and stone walls ..

the path got higher over the river, and I did some drawing while walking

it made me feel slightly dizzy

all the time the horizon was high up, with views of different hills, through the Pass of Leny, Stank Glen, Ardnandave hill

making me think of Idris Murphy’s paintings

and paintings in my head (more of that later)

we turned up and away from the loch

and into forestry commission conifer plantations

much greener

and steeper, with several areas of storm destruction

and we stopped for our picnic

under the sitka spruce

picea sitchensis, (also called Tideland spruce, or Western spruce) as my new plant identifying app, picture this, tells me.

our mossy seats were quite dry

but the weather got damper

still, it looked more atmospheric

and there was frogspawn in the ditches.

the track came down steeply after a long way following the contour, back down to the car park. we were a bit wet… and it was a long slowish drive home although more downhill (using slightly less battery) than the way there.

so, the painting. it kept looking ok, and then not

and then maybe

but on the whole not

I will do more again another day. where are those trees?

meanwhile that misty pinkish painting in the last post had a change of heart

and became this.

I bought some new walking shoes from Vivo Barefoot, as I got a blister from my heavy boots, the third time that has happened. but I will have to go gently on the transition; walking downhill on rough stony tracks on Sunday, faster than I should have, meant I had to go back to the heavy boots for a few days. there is a 100 day return deal on these, even if you have used them outdoors. they do make your feet work harder, as they should, and I may not be able to cope with it. I have bunions, sadly.

signs of spring – hail storms and new calves on Saturday

pussy willow

very new lambs appearing.





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