16 February 2020

Threesome

1) Yesterday we drove to the town of Selby - an hour north of Sheffield. We were there to support Shirley's sister Carolyn who is planning to buy a small house or bungalow in the town. We went to see three properties with her. She placed an offer on one of them.

On the way home, after we had crossed the swollen River Aire and  had driven beyond Chapel Haddlesey on the A19, it was as if we were crossing an inland sea. Excess flood waters had been directed to a swathe of flat farmland called Chapel Haddlesey Ings. Fortunately the road itself is raised above the level of the surrounding land. Above you can see a view over the ings to Eggborough Power Station.
 2) I have a pile of books to read. Lord knows when I will get through them all. I hope that no more books are added to the pile. Today, with some relief,  I finished "A Week in December" by Sebastian Faulks. I have read three other novels by Faulks - "Birdsong", "Human Traces" and "Engleby". They were all great reads.However, even though "A Week in December" is also well-written I found the subject matter somewhat tiresome. This novel focuses upon different human beings in London and how the characters' lives occasionally intersect. But I didn't like any of these people - simply could not warm to them or care about them. The novel ends just as the financial crash of 2008 is about to happen. Let's hope that the next book I read is more to my liking.
3) As we were sitting eating lunch at our dining room table today, Shirley looked out into the damp February afternoon and spotted a bird sheltering on an old apple tree bough. She took some binoculars from a drawer and reported that it was a bird of prey. I went to get my camera and zoomed in on the bird through the glass of our French windows. I must have been 25 metres away from the creature so that explains the relatively poor quality of the picture. Even so, I am quite happy with it. I hope the sparrowhawk returns on a nice, sunny day.

39 comments:

  1. He or she is looking straight back at you. I wonder if it was robin, blue tit or mouse for his lunch.

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    1. He seems to be thinking "Mmm...Yorkshire pudding!"

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  2. Your title made me giggle. :) Terrible, I know.

    I think that's a great photo of the hawk! Wow! We have hawks that live close by (since we're so close to the creek) and fly over daily. Sometimes we see them land high in the trees around our house. I wish I had a good camera capable of getting those kinds of photos. Maybe one day.

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    1. re. your opening remark I have just one thing to say: Naughty girl!

      My Sony bridge camera wasn't ridiculously expensive Jennifer.

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  3. I was in Costco this morning and came across your son's book. You can tell him that it's made it's way all the way to Sherwood Park in Alberta. Well Done!

    Love the bird photo. I guessed kestrel, even though I don't know what a kestrel looks like but when I googled sparrow hawk, up came kestrel as well. Maybe I saw a similar bird on a nature program one day. It's a beautiful bird.

    That's a lot of flooding.

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    1. I will tell him Lily! Thank you for that. You have the eyes of a sparrowhawk and you are probably just as lethal!

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  4. That sparrowhawk looks annoyed with you -- it's giving you the stink-eye. That water is crazy! Are there crops in those fields? I wonder if they'll perish now. I've never read Sebastian Faulks. Maybe I'll try one of his other ones -- but probably not this one. :)

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    1. "Birdsong" is a special novel about World War One. They are crops in those fields. If the water subsides soon they might be okay. The word "Ings" refers to water meadows.

      I doubt that the sparrowhawk was mad at me because I haven't written any mischievous comments on his blog - "Killing Machine".

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  5. What is your next chosen book to read? I hope you enjoy it. That is a wonderful picture of the sparrow hawk. I love his intent and direct stare.

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    1. He is looking right at you Bonnie! Sweet dreams!...My next book will be factual - about walking or mapping.

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  6. Isn't it funny how we give creatures human attributes and emotions due to the way their faces look? Dolphins are always happy because they are "smiling". Cats are imperious. Birds of prey have steely resolve. And so forth.
    I like that photo. As far as I know we do not have sparrow hawks around here and owls and osprey. All great hunters. With steely resolve.

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    1. I messed up that whole last part. I meant to say- We do not have sparrow hawks around here but we do have other types of hawks as well as owls and ospreys. All birds of prey. All great hunters. With steely resolve.

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    2. You are right about endowing animals with human attributes - often based upon their appearances or the stories we inherit. In this regard, I often think that rats get a raw deal. They are resourceful, intelligent creatures that keep themselves and their young clean. Yet to human beings they are the loathsome offspring of the devil.

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    3. Rats "... the loathsome offspring of the devil". They are, YP, in as much as they have potential to spread disease. Think Black Death. Though, in fairness, one may argue that it was the fleas that fed on the rats which were the devil's own invention. The other thing, and its impact not to be poo pooed, that they are double incontinent wherever they go. Holy shit.

      Since humans (men in particular) appear to make judgements based on the VISUAL, may I suggest that the fact that a rat's tail is long and naked in itself feeds into our repulsion. Give me a mouse any day. Not that they aren't double incontinent.

      U

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    4. We certainly do think differently about other rodents i.e. guinea pigs, hamsters and gerbils. Poor Mr Ratty!

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    5. I kept pet rats and pet mice as a child and they are wonderfully intelligent and able to solve fairly complex problems. What few of us like is fast moving creatures of any kind sharing our space uncontrolled. I came home from New Zealand once to find my garden shed absolutely over-run with field mice who had discovered the perfect winter home. One of the saddest things I've had to do was turf them all out. Fortunately it was late spring and they were likely to survive. Mind you I then had to completely gut and disinfect my garden shed. Happily it was brick so was fairly easily cleaned.

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    6. I wonder if it is possible to make retrospective complaints to the RSPCA? After all, you single-handedly devastated their family life Graham! Poor little things!

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  7. That's really weird. I was contemplating a sparrowhawk post today but got off on another track which needed quite a lot of rooting around for photos. I've read, and very much admired, Birdsong and another one which I think was called Charlotte Gray about which I can recall nothing but I seem to remember enjoying it too.

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    1. Great minds think alike...but so do you and I...sometimes!

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  8. Sparrowhawks always look to me as if they're wearing pyjama trousers.

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    1. Sparrowhawks say you look like Charles Hawtree!

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  9. Not easy to get a photo of a sparrow hawk up close. I've seen them in action, they are quite scary, especially if you are a sparrow.

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    1. Fortunately, I believe that I am too large to be a sparrow hawk's dinner.

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  10. I courted a girl called Julie who lives in Selby

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  11. That bird certainly doesn't look very happy about being caught out! :)

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    1. Please don't have nightmares about him Lee.

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  12. I've been very lazy on the reading lately. I haven't been to the library for about 3 weeks.

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    1. I get lazy about reading too Red. Here are three books you might want to try: "Red Midnight", "Renegade Red", "Red Heat" and "Red Hot and Reckless".

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  13. The sparrowhawk is impressive. We've seen and heard many buzzards and other birds of prey on Sunday, when the weather was sunny and it was as warm as it sometimes gets on a chilly day in June or July - 18 Celsius!

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    1. PS: I know what you mean about a book being well written but as long as we do not warm to the characters, it can be the best written book in the world and still leave us cold.

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    2. We need to feel that the characters are real and are worthy of our attention.

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  14. Sorry, but that Sparrowhawk looks mightily pissed off (endowing him with human feelings, I know). Considering how keen-eyed they are, I'm wondering if he didn't know you had him in your lens and didn't appreciate having his photo taken. Pretty much the same look I give folks when they want to take photos of me.

    We have a variety of birds of prey around here (near the Chesapeake Bay)--bald eagles, ospreys, and various kinds of hawks (i.e. red-tailed, red-shoulders, Cooper's). Sometimes a red-tailed hawk will sit on our deck railing checking out our bird feeders and the innumerable voles. A bit of a shock to walk in my kitchen and see him out the window not 10 feet away. Amazing to see just how large they are up close--50-60cm wingspan. The bald eagle is even larger.

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    1. Thanks for that comment Mary. Interesting.

      P.S. Are you a female sparrowhawk?

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  15. I've seen in the news that Yorkshire had some serious flooding - are you folks okay there? I know that in many cases the news is filtered to give us the most extreme events and - as is the case here - there is a big difference in how storms affect low-lying versus hilly areas, but still ...

    I think rats do get a bad rap. On the other hand, if you've ever had the pleasure of seeing a very large rat - or many - scurrying around it's a bit nervewracking! I saw one cross the road in front of me one rainy night and it rather freaked me out! I feel very sad for the white rats used in labs. Their lot in life is worse than animals raised for the plate - to suffer, and finally, to be killed. Same with any lab animals. Gah. How did I get so far off topic? sorry

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    1. We live on a hill but even in Sheffield's river valleys it hasn't been bad. I am not aware of any homes being flooded over the past two weeks though elsewhere in Yorkshire a good number of homeowners have suffered.

      How did you get so far off topic? Blue sky thinking perhaps?

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