With all the razzmatazz of Yuletide in full swing, it's nice to take some time out and look out over the fells, in a remote spot, miles from anywhere.
The only civilisation for miles, nestled alongside a powerful beck called the Cald, is the appropriately named village of Caldbeck. Here, you can walk alongside the beck for miles in perfect peace and tranquility.
The beck is so powerful that it provided the motive force for The Howk bobbin mill, which turned coppiced wood into bobbins for the textile industry from 1857 to 1924. The beck also powered fulling, corn, flax, wool, wood, paper and smelting mills. There was also a barytes crushing works and a brewery in the village. Quite a hive of industry back in the day.
You can see and hear the force of the water in a series of falls above the bobbin mill. Not much wildlife about today, apart from a phalanx of ducks on the village green and a buzzard in the sky above. Hart's-tongue ferns and Dog's Mercury line the path, and various mosses and orange Jelly Spot fungus add a little colour to the fence posts.
In fact, most of the invertebrate life that I've seen over winter so far, has taken up residence with me in the Old Corn Mill. This moth of the Tortricidae family seems perfectly content in the bathroom.
Talking of the Old Corn Mill. Do you remember that sprouting acorn we found, back in November? (see Fine Weather For Ducks) I promised to let you know how it was getting on, and it's doing just fine on the kitchen windowsill. maybe I'll take up bonzai this year!
Meanwhile, back in Caldbeck, it's beginning to rain, so it's time to retreat to The Oddfellows Arms. This year, I thought I'd introduce you to some of the Cumbrian hostelries, for those of you who are thinking of visiting the area. We didn't eat here (too much food in the fridge at home) but the menu looks good and they also do accommodation.
Ah well, it's twelfth night tomorrow, so the decorations will have to come down. Don't want bad luck for the rest of the year. The Victorian lantern, by the way, is one of many items on sale at my little on-line shop, SVCwithEtsy. If you enjoy my nature blogs, you may also like my history blogs. Mainly shop news at the moment, but I'm going to expand it into fascinating insights behind the products. This week I'll be covering the silver trade and tobacconalia.
One other bit of news to tell you about; my first full length novel, The MONOM (The Magic of Nature of Magic) will be published later this month. It's an intriguing tale of the natural and supernatural worlds, in which you, the reader, are one of the four main characters. I am one of the other main characters, and of course, we have a nemesis. It is one of your jobs to uncover their identity. We are all linked together by a nineteenth century naturalist named Singent Hellington-White, and the journey we undertake spans from 1858 to the present day from Crete, to London, to Haiti. 400 pages of adventure to lose yourself in.
You can keep up with all my blogs and books, and a load more besides, by subscribing to my website Steve's Nature Plus.
All that remains is for me to wish you all A Happy New Year, and I'll leave you with this panorama of the snow covered Cumbrian fells.
All the best,