Saturday, February 11, 2006

Lots of news!

Hi again!

I've several bits of news to report today, so here goes:

First - we scored an automotive hat-trick this week!

On Wednesday our car - Ronnie - passed his MOT. Ronnie is an oldish Rover 214 which we bought from our nephew who bought it from ..... etc. We weren't sure he'd pass, but he did well and we've been declared safe and sound for another year. For our American friends the MOT is a car test that is done yearly after the car is three years old. There are safety and emissions tests and I think they check that the body work is of a certain standard. Certainly, you don't see rusty old bangers driving about here and it's because they wouldn't pass the MOT.

On Thursday John passed his driving test - only 7 minor faults and on Friday I passed mine with only 9 minor faults. I was incredibly nervous during the test - my hair and clothes were soaking wet by the time we were done.

Second - we finally have a green finch at our feeders. We thought we'd get one earlier than this because they're so common (all our neighbours have them), but one finally showed up today. Hurray! We still don't have gold finches, but they're less common and I think we'll have to attract them to the garden with thistles and teasels and cone-flowers before they'll come to the feeder. Too bad, really, because we have lots of nyjer thistle seed for them.

Third - the weather has been less than wonderful. For a couple of weeks we had a cold fog. I really hated it and it made me quite depressed. Combined with the side effects of Arimidex I was a very sad person for a while. Things have improved a bit now. We've had a few sunny days and that was exhilarating, but it continues to be cold with temperatures staying around the freezing mark and lots of frost in our hollow.

Fourth - we had a smashing visit from Margaret Rees and Val White. Took Val's dogs for a walk through the Cardingmill Valley and around the reservoir, doing a bit of birding and botanizing as we went. It was lovely to see them and I hope we'll get together again soon for more of the same.

Fifth - the hellebores are coming out. Val brought me a new one, and also pointed out the ones in my garden. Once she showed me I was able to peer under the leaves and find lots of flower buds, so it won't be long before they're out. We also have primulas opening up and even more heather blossom than before. The mystery flower I showed a picture of in a previous posting was a winter flowering honeysuckle. It has a lovely lemony scent.

Well, that's about it for now. Come back in a while and check for further news, or send me e-mail if you have comments or questions.