Tag Archives: rooks

Natural History from the Car

As I drove to Newark this afternoon I noticed a group of rooks whirling aimlessly round the sky. On looking closer I realised they weren’t being aimless, but were in fact mobbing a buzzard. here were about 20 of them, though it wasn’t that easy to drive safely and count rooks at the same time.

Shortly after that I passed a roadside tree full of strange ball-like growths in its leafless branches – mistletoe in its natural state.

A bit later in the same journey I had to brake sharply when a large fox decided to run across the road. You don’t see many foxes in the middle of the day, and this is the first time I’ve ever had to put the brakes on to avoid one. It looked healthy and well-fed so I’m not sure why it needed to be out and about. Sometimes things are meant to remain a mystery.

The only other bit of natural history was a buzzard roosting in the roadside tree. Always nice to see, but let’s face it – they aren’t rare these days. It just goes to show what’s about, even on a grey day of driving round doing errands.

The picture is a random pansy. They are out in the garden so I thought it would be OK to show one.



Khobz Kesra

That’s a first, I’ve never used a Moroccan title before. It’s a traditional Moroccan Country bread, according to the recipe sheet, and it looked and smelled really good while it was being cooked.

The bit before that was a bit touch and go because it’s a wet dough and needs some gentle handling. I was offered the chance to make one myself but declined on the basis that it’s more fun to criticise the efforts of other people rather than let them see you up to your earlobes in strands of dough.

I once did a Paul Hollywood fruit bread recipe which needed careful handling (I think he actually recommended using a mixer) but I pressed on with a couple of dough scrapers and a heart full of optimism. It did work. It did taste good. But I still have flashbacks. One day when I start baking again, I will give it another go.

Today’s cookies were the perennial favourites – date and stuff. I like dates, they taste divine (which isn’t a word I usually use as it isn’t very manly; they are only biscuits, after all). The “stuff” is probably oatmeal, as I’m sure it’s full of healthy fibre.

After last session when someone appears to have eaten mine, I was taking no chances (as in I spent a fortnight whining about it), and was allowed two today. Gail muttered something about fermentation and microbiomes. I’ll put a link here because it’s quite interesting. Well, I’m told it is. I was too busy chewing and chasing rooks off the bird feeders. I’m going to have to make it up to her by reading the article thoroughly.

The black birds in the photo are rooks eating wild cherries, though it’s not a good shot. Rooks are a bit sensitive about people pointing things at them and they flew off without giving me a fair chance.

Anyway, it was a small but cheerful crew today – work, holidays and dentists having thinned out some of the regulars. We had a good laugh, excellent conversation, and cookies (though I believe I may have mentioned that already. They were certainly good enough to mention twice.

The rest of the day, which consisted of several sorts of paperwork, failed to live up to its early promise.

In fact I’m sitting here at 18.55 wondering what I’ve really done today. Knocking accounts into shape, writing tactful emails and planning my Big Autumn Project don’t seem like real work.

Julia says that’s because I spend too long on tactful emails (as it isn’t my natural strength) and because my Big Autumn Project seems to consist of playing on Wikipedia, which isn’t proper work.

Time will tell…