Late autumn

Partly due to the latest lockdown, but mainly due to non-Covid-related family concerns, for the last six weeks or so I’ve not felt comfortable leaving the house other than for routine shopping trips and regular short walks around the lanes with Jen. Hence the absence of the usually obligatory autumnal photos from Hardcastle Crags this autumn. But it’s been good to stretch the legs around the lanes.

Autumn in the upper Calder Valley

My war with the recently arrived squirrels escalated last week. The chilli powder I sprinkled over the sunflower hearts in the plastic dishes set into our bird table did the trick for a while. But then the squirrels worked out the seeds lower down in the dishes didn’t have any chilli on them. So the little bastards gnawed through the bottom of the dishes from below. I’ve had to patch things up, and protect the base of the bird table with steel mesh. But it can only be a matter of time before my rodent nemeses wreak more havoc.

Scenes from the Squirrel War
Scenes from the Squirrel War

My self-imposed semi-house-arrest has allowed me more time for reading. I’d already broken my personal record for the number of books read in one calendar year, but I’ve now well and truly blown it out the water. Some of the books I’ve read, especially Alice Roberts’ excellent Tamed, have made me reflect on my current work in progress. I realise I need to go back and up my game in a few places. But I suddenly find myself with a much clearer picture of where it is I want to be heading with the book, which has to be a good thing. Thanks, Alice!

Today marks the 161st anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. It also marks the third anniversary of the publication of my book On the Moor. The shared anniversary is anything but coincidental. Has it really been three years? It’s about time I got a move on with this next one!

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