Little Things (reprise)

We have moved very little in the last few days, to get more sunlight, or to get water, or better WiFi, or visit a place with a shop rather than to travel any great distance as we are pottering in this area, so as to be nearby if the boatyard says they are ready to do the requested work. It has allowed us to explore smaller places previously unvisited.

On a sunny day walking into Milton Malsor we passed a very large patch of what seemed to be cowslips, but not all yellow. I wondered if they were a hybrid as I had thought they only came in yellow.

We had our path crossed by a small creature, but nonetheless I thought it was huge, a large bumblebee was lumbering across, buzzing its wings a little but not quite taking off. It was certainly more bumbling than making a beeline. We waited until it had moved safely out of the way into the grass.

Later another fluffy invertebrate was crossing, even more dangerously it was inching it’s way across a road, with no option to take wing or take swift avoidant action.

Little woolly caterpillar

On the way into the village I saw a couple of lady birds and some lovely gardens and there was some impressive aubretia, little flowers with a big impact.

Aubretia in spades

On a sunny day it was nice to rest my knee in the pub and we had a wee half pint in the garden. We avoided the table with the wasp. While Shane was on one of his three phonecalls I saw there were at least 3 ladybirds in the bush behind him. I hadn’t noticed any dogs in thee pub garden but Shane pointed one out. No wonder I hadn’t noticed, it had kept a low profile with no barking, sniffing, whining or shaking. I guess it is a greyhound as that was the name of the pub but looked a bit small, perhaps as it isn’t standing tall, or perhaps it is more the size of some whippets.

Willow whippet or small greyhound

The next day we went for water. I was distracted on approach by a duck with a large brood of very little ducklings. No drake was helping out but they stuck by her closely. She came over to the boat and she dabbled at a few crumbs and seeds I threw in the water and they stayed in a tight bunch but didn’t eat anything.

We went on to the village of Blisworth and got some warm savoury pastries including miniature samosas. We took a circular route back as is Shane’s wont. On the way back I saw a fairy garden I had noticed while coming in to moor but we were past too quickly to take a picture. I stopped to do so this time while Shane stopped to chat to the man working on sanding the paintwork on his boat, taking advantage of the better weather.

Little fairy garden

When we moored we saw a swans’ nest was within sight a little further up on the other side, and I took photos from across the canal. As we decided to turn around to move to better WiFi, I realised they were very near the winding hole and as I spotted from the front, apart from having to duck inside to escape the branches of a tree, I got a closer look and they seems quite relaxed. While we don’t want to hang around there long I hope we are soon back and might catch sight of some little cygnets.

Swans’ nest

We returned to our old spot. In the morning I saw a ruddy rump trotting past on the towpath. I jumped up to see if my eyes were deceiving me. They weren’t. A muntjac had just gone past. I excitedly shared my news wth others to be met by some ‘never heard of a muntjac’ responses. I heard about them from Bryn as there are several in Norfolk and I have seen them there. A muntjac is a small deer. The UK population is mainly restricted to east of England so unsurprisingly not many have seen or heard them. If you hear them you certainly could easily mistake them for a dog (almost thought it was a dog running last until I checked).

Another surprising little creature that morning was a lone duckling with no parents, though it seemed to be managing to graze from the sides of the canal and boats, there were no protective parents in sight. I had a chat with a passing man about nature and how dangerous life is in the wild and in this case the canal is the wild.

We had another sunny afternoon and a stroll to Gayton. The sun was intermittent and we opted for sitting indoors. We ended up in a family room with a few children. Shane was entertaining/ being entertained by a baby at the next table while I went to the bar for beer and snacks. It didn’t take much to keep her happy. She was also plied with chocolate buttons to keep her happy while her family enjoyed a leisurely Saturday afternoon.

We had walked to Gayton before but not explored the whole village. We found a decorated centrepiece, the Gayton Manor and some odd construction in its garden that was either a large stone bird table or a small doocot, or a tiny folly. Any other suggestions?

As we left I spotted another ladybird and this time it seemed to have chosen a dangerous spot to explore. Perhaps they are immune to the sting, or their exoskeleton provides protection but if not it would be a large lump on a tiny foot.

Little ladybird on a large nettle leaf

On the way there and back we crossed a turnover bridge. It had cute old cobbles but was not as grand as others I have seen.

Turnover bridge near Gayton

We returned to Stoke Bruerne the next day and enjoyed an outing to the Spice of Bruerne restaurant. We were seated at the same table as we had been when we came on Shane’s birthday last year, with Bryn. I was on the same seat and Shane chose the same dish. I had forgotten the cute little chocolate mints at the end, an extra wee treat.

The weather has been very changeable today giving me plenty time to work on my skimpy summer top. It is teaching me some new skills. I won’t be ready to wear it for a while, but I have seen a few bold people wearing shorts and this morning one of them passed immediately before the start of a little rain and hail shower. These showers have continued on and off throughout the day so I did a fair bit of knitting. As I reached the end of a ball I discovered something in the middle that was an added bonus. I had expected that it would be wound round a cardboard tube but in fact there was a matching spool of “reinforcement yarn” in the middle. The second one should have another one. Life is full of little surprises.

Ball of wool and matching spool, hidden inside
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