Yesterday’s walk along the beach was extraordinary. I had intended to park by the cemetery, but by accident parked opposite the row of houses at the foot of the road from the Trefeddian Hotel, crossed the golf course and emerged from the dunes at the Second World War pillbox. The sun was hazy and incredibly pale, but at the same time reflected off the wet sand, creating some beautiful colour and light combinations. I walked for far longer than intended, and it nearly became a case of walking into Tywyn and getting a bus or taxi back to my car! Instead I retraced my steps, and because of the light it was like doing an entirely different walk. It was lovely to see a pair of oyster catchers, obstinately refusing to do anything other than stand, preening in the sun! They are in the video at the end of this post.
Snapshots today, walking down Balkan Hill for some odds and ends in the village. Not very sharp, because I was using the tiny camera I keep in my handbag. I didn’t dare take my good kit because I knew if I had it with me I’d end up walking along the beach for a couple of hours, and I didn’t have time today! The very short video at the end is just the view over the estuary and Cardigan Bay beyond from my window as the sun went down, with pink smoke! The days are getting noticeably a little longer, although it seems like a very long haul to get from the shortest day on 21st December to the end of March.
Yesterday morning my first job was to go and retrieve the blue bins that had cascaded down the hill when their trolley fell over during the night. I was awake much of the night listening to it. Today was an amazing contrast. Things started off a little grey, with sunshine filtering through the clouds, but by the afternoon the sun dominated, and although there were still clouds, they were an attractive gradient from pure white to dark purple and charcoal, the perfect foil for the brilliant cerulean blue. I had only walked down to go to the Post Office, but somehow found myself cutting through the dunes and striding along the incoming tide on the beach. So happy.
There was a light smattering of snow around Cader Idris, and near Dolgellau at Brithdir, but once I was approaching Bala it thickened up significantly, and in Bala itself cars were under 2 inches of snow. From there to Llangollen via a somewhat curcuitous route along the foot of the Clwydian Range and down the Horseshoe Pass, it was a winter wonderland, very lovely. There aren’t that many places to stop safely to take photos, but I managed a few.
This is a poor photograph, taken through the side window of my car in a mad rush, whilst I was held up at the roadwork traffic lights on the Aberdovey to Machynlleth road, on my way to a dental appointment. My closest friend Cheryll, to whom I emailed it, argues that I should post it in case no-one has been lucky enough to see this particular cloud formation. So here it is, with the cloud in a thin strip hovering just above the floodplain on the opposite bank of the river Dfyi, with apologies for the poor quality. I don’t know what this type of cloud formation is called (if anyone knows, please do let me know), but it happens around here quite often. This, however, was the first time I have driven alongside it along the estuary and river all the way from Aberdovey to Machynlleth. It was an amazing sight. Every time I glimpsed right (south), it was still there in the 20 or so minute drive some time between 1120 and 1145. So here’s the photo, and please remember to blame Cheryll if you don’t like it! By the time I was driving back to Aberdovey it had evaporated completely.
Wednesday last week was one of those rare but gorgeous January days that provides a welcome reminder that spring lies ahead. Almost too good to be true. The tide was on its way out, always a beautiful sight as dips in the sand fill with still water reflecting the blue sky, and the millions of deeply scored fractal patterns in the sand are revealed, with the contrast of the dark shadows and bright surfaces always a sensational feature of the low winter sun. Apart from a few dog walkers the beach was almost empty, sensible people remaining in the warm.
My garden continues to be a source of wildlife activity, all the local species filling up on solid carbohydrates to see them through the bitterly cold nights.
The goldfinches, which turned up in my absence over Christmas, are now a daily presence, between two or seven of them at a time, four on the nyjer feeder with the others bouncing up and down in frustration in the tree. When they first arrived I was very taken by their beautifully minimalist movements and intricate eating habits, but when there are more than four trying to get onto the feeder at a time there can be real jockeying for position in a great thrashing of brightly coloured feathers, with some of the angelic looking little things chasing off others quite ruthlessly. A gaggle of goldfinches is called a “charm.”
Since I moved here in August, all the feeders have been popular, but in the last month the mixed seed feeder has been completely rejected, no matter where I hang it. Instead, most activity is concentrated on the fat ball, mealworm and peanut feeders. Do note that I put a soundtrack on the following video, just to get used to the software that I am using, but it is a really lovely piece of Bach, so hopefully not too intrusive.