Mint or Rosemary?

It is a question that crops up at this time of year, a sure sign that the seasons are turning once again.  Yesterday, it was, that I caught my first glimpse of spring lambs, down Cumnock way.  ‘Twas but a brief joy before the silencing of the lambs of Pollok, as the ‘R’ word begins to cause real concern round the terraces.  Deep in the relegation mire we are now, after being in the top flight since 1978; one of only two clubs to be ever-present in the Super Premier since it was established a decade or so ago.  Troubled times indeed.

But the lambs were a good sign, though none had been seen in these parts yet, the early lambers still being indoors.  None seen that was until this very morn, when an early run on The Grasshopper found me passing a couple of fields, not quite bounding in new life, but certainly had me salivating.  There were only a few, sparkling white still, pelts numbered brightly in orange just in case of maternal mishap.  Late lambs are my preference, maturing just as the summer sun ripens the tips of the rosemary down in the herb garden.  Yummy.

But I’m feeling the pain now, unused as I am to early outings after a winter of sloth.  A real pain in the ass it is, Recum-Bum, which is when I’m ever more thankful that I’m not a traditional diamond-frame type.  I don’t usually suffer, though my ride this morning was a little longer than of late, still some way short though of my preferred route on a sunny Sunday morning.

And a sunny Sunday it most certainly was not.  The landscape has shrunk, and flattened, with cloud cover down below 1,000 feet or so, down below the treeline, or the turbine line as it will soon be known round here, and the tops of the hills are hidden yet.  But the land begins to brighten, for the first of the garden daffodils is just beginning to open a shining face to the world; another week or two and there should be a thousand or so to keep her company.

But there was life a-plenty, aside from the lambs.  Down on the flatlands the curlews are gathering and swooping; and soon the air will be filled with the cries of the lapwings, the garden filled with the manure and the mud as the house martins  arrive to start their building work once again.  Won’t be long now; and the clocks will have changed and the sun reappeared.  Meantime we’ve a new visitor in the garden, in the form of a coal tit, rarely seen round Grasshopper Towers even though plentiful just a few miles away at Granny’s house in the town.  Our blue tits remain in much increased numbers this year, and now a coal tit too.  I’m wondering what can be in the air, just as the carrion crew start once again to remove the feeders from the tree and smash them on the paths, fighting for the contents with assorted chickens, stray cats even.

The pain on my second lap this morning was eased by a cheery wave from Mrs Uncut Gem, and as I turned for home I caught a glimpse of a new flock of Welsh mountain sheep.  Now there’s a tale to tell, some fun to come perhaps.

Down at the livery stables they are, with the Colonsay Quine, after arriving just a few weeks ago, all scanned and guaranteed that each and every one of the 22 of them are carrying twins, with an expected arrival date of 1 April.  Now the Colonsay Loon he’s no fool, for on the second of next month he departs for a fortnight on his isle, leaving the Quine to pick up the pieces, and all else that goes with the lambing.  And her with a dozen or so in the livery yard to look after as well.  Still at least he’s taking the weans from around her feet, though a wee bit of Lambing Live might be good for them.  Given the choice, an island calling, I know where I’d rather be.  However there’ll be plenty of willing hands around, sage advice even, when the time comes.  But I’m guessing that the midwives around may get a call before the sheep farmers.  Any excuse for a wee lambrusco perhaps.

I’ve managed to walk off that numb bum, thankfully the recumbent community seem to have dispensed with the term Bent Bum, even though ‘Bent’ is their preferred abbreviation for most things bikewise.  It was just a quick half hour, whilst Urchin the Younger ran himself red round the football pitch.  He’s getting so good now he can even put on his shin guards himself, and haul his socks up.  Still my fault that water bottle remained at home, so a bit to go yet.  It’s a fair bet that this morning’s goal tally will have inflated by the time we get round to Old Pop’s later.  Such is life at six, when you can still get away with it, just, not that I’ve been bragging about anything this week, at least not on the football front.

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