Friday, December 27, 2019

DECEMBER IN PAXTON AND THE BORDERS

December this year has been very cold, with bitter winds and regular frost. On the days that it has not been quite so cold there has been heavy rain, although not as much as we had in November. Fortunately Christmas Day dawned crisp and cold with blue sky and sunshine and a frost that remained all day.

After seemingly months of Christmas adverts on TV, it is finally the month of Christmas and many houses in the village are tastefully decorated (some far too early on 1st December, though!). Out house becomes a grotto for two weeks either side of Christmas only.

There is not too much happening either in the garden or in the countryside. The leaves are pretty much all off the trees now, which have gone spidery for three or four months although we discovered our first tulip shoot poking through the ground today (the 18th). It is amazing to think that it is still four months or so before it will flower. 

There has not been any snow this year so I make no apology for posting some snowy December pictures from 2017.
















Monday, November 25, 2019

NOVEMBER IN PAXTON AND THE BORDERS

November (and late October) has brought some serious rainfall, dark afternoons and a big increase in leaf fall, many of which lie on the ground in bright shades of orange and red. The country roads have become extremely muddy and cycling brings the annual annoyance of a couple of punctures (one for each of us) from thorns lying in the ground from freshly cut back hedgerows. Thank goodness for the invention of self-sealing “slimed” inner-tubes!

The garden and hedgerows are now completely orange (they turned at the end of October) although the trees are now pretty bare. What is good about autumn up here in the Scottish Borders is that it is proper autumn - increasingly chilly with frosts on occasions as opposed to the South of England where we used to live where you often had a perpetual Indian Summer throughout October and mild temperatures in November. None of that here - heaters on, big jumpers on. Great stuff. 

The bird life has changed, many migratory species have left and for a fair few weeks, “V” formations of geese have passed over, honking continually and enthusiastically to each other as they leave us for another year. Last year, remarkably, we were briefly visited by a pair of bright green, red-billed Ring-Necked Parakeets. Apparently these tropical-looking birds have small colonies in Greater London and also here in our Scottish Borders. They stayed for one day and were gone.

This November has been one of the wettest for many a year. Fields are saturated but thankfully, we don’t get flooded here, but the nearby River Tweed is very high and the burns that flow Into it in the grounds of Paxton House are also at very high levels, running in fast torrents into the Tweed. 

After the rains, some much colder weather has taken over and mornings are white with frost, some of which is staying for the whole day. Cycling on the country roads is getting icy and more than a little hazardous at times. Probably best to leave it until spring. 

November is a dark, dull month wherever you are in the country and here is no different.

The Parakeets can be seen on the third photograph near the left hand bird feeder