New Year’s Eve

meadowA couple  of days ago our barometer reached 1040 millibars, as high as I ever remember seeing it. Another 25 millibars and it would have gone off the scale. High pressure gives us settled weather, in this case cold days and even colder nights, so the inch of snow we had late on Boxing Day has lingered.

This morning ground frost on a section of pavement that I’d cleared resembled a thin coating of snow.

applesBefore the frost we harvested the last of the Howgate Wonder cookers and used them in apple bakewell tarts and a mini apple pie.

Emley Moor

On Christmas Eve, a coffee stop at Create cafe in the Wakefield One building gave me a brief pause to sketch the skyline to the southwest towards the Emley Moor transmitter.

Squabbling Squirrels


But we did manage one trip further afield before Christmas. On the 17th we made a delivery to our book suppliers before Christmas, zipping down the motorway to Orgreave but coming back via the Peak District.

siskinAt the Riverlife cafe at Bamford in the High Peak, siskin and nuthatch were among the birds coming to the feeders with a couple of squirrels fighting it out for control of the squirrel feeder below. While their fight escalated into a chase, a third squirrel sneaked in and fed in peace. C’est la guerre!

head-butting sheep

There’s more fighting over food as we walk along the lane at Castleton. Two sheep are head-butting each other over the last scraps left in the feed bucket.

lane at Castleton

The Cat and the Rat

cat in the hedgeA neighbour’s cat watches intently through the hawthorn hedge from its vantage point on next door’s concrete coal bunker.

It pounces and chases a brown rat, coming close to catching it. The rat looks healthy enough but it has been behaving strangely, roaming about in the afternoon sunshine, showing little concern for danger. For a while it stopped and was nibbling at the edge of the frosty, still mainly snow-covered lawn. brown ratPerhaps it has eaten poison bait put out by one of our neighbours and it’s now feeling thirsty, which seems to be one of the symptoms of rat poison. Ponds are currently deep frozen so perhaps it was quenching its thirst with ice crystals.