Wrtiting, painting, walking, wonderful

Today the world of Wester-Ross was a marvel of sunshine, calm waters, a pin-sharp ampitheatre of hills.

This morning I finished chapter eighteen of my novel in progress.

Herself feeling up for it, we decided to do the walk that we used to do every lunchtime before the Big C hit us. It was beautiful. The slower you walk the more you see and the greater your enjoyment. We sat on the crumbling remains of a WW2 gun emnplacement consuming our picnic and doing the Independent crossword. I do the downs and she does the acrosses as we pass it from one to the other. Completed the thing but for two clues (annnoyingly).

It was low tide. An otter ducked and dived close in, loop-tailed. We disturbed a group of five herons which is unusual for they are solitary sentinels as a rule. Perhaps some of them were youngsters learning the hunting game that, for them, consists of standing stock still and upright at the water's edge, waiting for an unwary little fish or a crab to stray into range of that spear-like beak. The ultimate in energy saving.

The sparrowhawk has really taken to our bird feeders, or rather to the birds that feed from them. Superb fliers, perfect killers but for Dee a source of constant concern. Today he was particularly active, causing a pigeon to crash in panicy flight into our kitchen window and, we think, making off with one of those after which he is named.

This afternoon I moved on with my latest oil on canvas, 'Starlings'. (You have maybe seen the flocks on Autumn Watch as they form their in flight close linked pattern after abstract pattern before settling down to roost for the night.) Much as I love 'painting' with pastels there is something about oils. I think it's the feel, the texture of that jellied mass on the palette and transferring from brush to canvas, perhaps it's the smell of linseed and turpentine. Wonderful.

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