Happy New Year!


Oh dear… when I last wrote here I was bemoaning the fact that November had come round so fast. Now look what’s happened…! I apologise if any of you have been wondering whether you’d ever hear from McMurdoston again – I can only explain by saying ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ (or am I just getting very old, very quickly?!).

With a distinct – and worrying – lack of squirrels to entertain us currently we have been delighted that the hedgehogs continue to show up on the cameras at night and occasionally in the flesh at dusk. Mind you their antics are not always easy to watch – they have a decidedly X-rated sex life and we watched one attacking a frog one night and then anointing itself in gore in glorious detail. We guess that the reason for this must be to rid them of some sort of parasites. Do any of you have any further knowledge of this strange behaviour?

Steve has been fishing the Nith just a couple of miles away, much to his delight. Despite the decline of salmon it seems there is life in the river yet and he caught a 3 pound 2 ounce grayling last week, coming home to tell me of his encounters with kingfishers, dippers and even an otter, making his catch just that bit more exciting. Of course there’s always the big one that got away… he said it was like striking into the back of a moving car!

Meanwhile I’ve scaled down the running but scaled up the altitude. Annoyingly, I found that a sore leg needed a bit of looking after and after a period of sulking I came up with a new strategy. I run every other day, interspersing it with cycling/walking/hill-climbing. To be perfectly honest this has probably resulted in me taking even more ridiculous amounts of exercise but has also been enormous fun. I came up with a plan early in the year to capture every trig point on my local OS map and think I now only have a couple left to conquer. I have climbed a lot of hills and have literally begun to orientate myself in the beautiful place in which I am lucky enough to live. These days when I climb a hill¬† and look over to others, the tops of which I have sat on grinning with pleasure,¬† I feel utterly at home.

And finally – talking of being home – the chatty little house martins are back, the sophisticated swifts too, and we are fairly sure that a swallow may be in the gardening shed and another in the long barn.

Happy times!