Farrago

Yes it is a strange word, but forgive me for I’m having difficulty spelling missilain……, well you get the message.  ‘Tis a word that appears at the bottom left for I have spent a bit of time trying to bring order to this chaos, adding Archives and Categories to file the various postings made, and I hope these are helpful.  Today it is a hotch potch, a real miscellany, so farrago it is.

I had a real low point earlier, as I headed out in the car.  You see I was delayed on the road, by a herd of coos.  It was not the delay that troubled me, for I was in no great rush, but the thought that the milking herd was being taken along the road to the farm, to winter quarters, never to be seen again, at least not for six months or so.  We are at that time of the year when the grazing rents expire and fields lie fallow through the harsh winter month, the beasts sheltered indoors.  But I was ahead of myself for they were only moving to a different field, for now.  It will not be long though, for the traditional rental is Whitsun to Martinmas, and we’ll be missing their mottled hides in a week or two.  Meanwhile there remains plenty grass for, as you know, the growing season has been extended this autumn.  More likely it is that the fields are about to fertilised, the summer slurry from the milking shed spread to enhance the growth in the spring, and that means that rain is not far away.  Once done I suspect that the herd will be back on pasture, extending their stay until the eviction notice comes, for that extra growth these past weeks, is too good to pass up, and money’s tight for winter feed.

And in the depths of the coming season, when the fields are empty of life and of colour, bleached and frozen, there is little to bring cheer to passing motorists or cyclists; other that is than the bird life and whatever is crawling among the hedgerows.

Bird life was duly noted today, and indeed yesterday.  I had done something unusual then, and long missed.  I had taken a long walk, for some exercise was needed and The Grasshopper remains in the workshop.  Walking muscles are different and there are some residual aches and pains today, but it was worth it.  As I walked so the buzzard soared, and plummeted, fed and soared again, often chased by hoodies and the occasional magpie.

The buzzard is growing in numbers in these parts and I see a report that the red kite too is thriving.  Not much more than 20 years ago the red kite did not exist in Scotland.  Reports today confirm 314 fledgings this year, despite the gales and storms in the breeding season, and 186 breeding pairs, up by 22 in a year.

Whilst I’ve spotted the odd red kite above the roads, in Doune, Aviemore and way up by Lochinver, it was in Wales earlier this year that I became a real fan.  We visited the RSPB feeding station at Bwlch Nant yr Arian, down by Aberystwyth.  Amongst the hordes descending twice daily there is an albino.  They are fed with buckets of lamb, beef and pork, swooping to the ground, circling overhead, and waiting in the pines for their opportunity.  It is indeed a fine sight.

But I prefer an even bigger wingspan, and thus long for a return to Mull, and the chance to catch some sea eagles and golden eagles in the lens.  It has been too long since we visited the islands and took the magic of their medicine.  Winter visiting is unlikely for ferry times are restrictive, but come the spring…….

And I will have some new reading to take with me for, as expected, my dip into that compendium of remarkable Muslims, did indeed highlight new authors to have a more detailed look at.  On the agenda, or perhaps the Christmas list, are works from Peregrine Hodson and Sabiha al Khemir.  It’s tempting to just place the orders, especially after sourcing a fine first edition from dealer whose door I pass regularly, but the lip is bitten for nagging will commence as the festive draws ever closer.  I can feel my bug beginning to hum already.

The political scene doesn’t escape this hotch potch either, but my ire is reserved, for the moment, once again for our wonderful state-funded broadcaster.  The latest move from the BBC, from their Pathetic Quay HQ in these parts, is to remove comments facilities from their two Scottish blogs, Brian Taylor’s political blog and the business blog of his colleague Douglas Fraser.  So debate is stifled and it seems to be purely a Scottish thing for all other blogs across the empire remain open.  There was a time in the recent past when Scotland resorted to commenting with Betsan Powys in Wales and that may happen again.  The conspiracy theorists may be forgiven for thinking the censoring, nay embargo, of debate could perhaps be because over 90% of posted comments are invariably in favour of the Scottish Government and its policies, and thus by definition contradictory to the whims, needs  and desires of the BBC.  It’s shameful really but we shouldn’t be surprised.

But calling louder is Mull.  Did I mention that it holds a special place in these parts?  Without the magic of Mull there may have been no Urchins.  Now where’s that school bus?

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