Sue Woodcock

I couldn't resist a return visit so I went back, leaving the dogs at home, to see if the sika deer were still in the wood where I had seen them last week, but sadly they were not there on this occasion. Instead, I fetched the dogs, and took them for a glorious walk in another woodland where they enjoy themselves.

In the depths of winter, a walk in the open air is still refreshing and reviving.

I didn’t see any deer there either but did notice some of their footprints in an area of mud on the periphery of the wood, small ones. This indicated to me that the deer there are muntjac.

Even in the depths of winter, a woodland is a delight to walk through, with many fallen leaves forming a carpet, often richly coloured, and I noticed that several silver birch trees had fallen since my last visit. On examination, I could guess why some of them had been brought down by the high winds we have recently experienced. They were covered with birch polypore fungi, that I always knew as Barber’s Razor Strops when I was a child. These huge fungi are quite inedible and very tough, and were used in times gone by to sharpen delicate razor blades. Some of trees had almost 20 fruiting bodies, enough to weaken a tree considerably.

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As we approach an area like this any sensible bird life absents itself but I did see an albino hen pheasant, that I have never seen before, heading off into the trees nearby.

I went to a meeting in Bridlington one evening. I went early and did some shopping at a large supermarket there before arriving at the pub and having a coffee before the meeting started. It was here that one of my friends told me that he had seen an ermine, or as he described it, a stoat in a winter overcoat. When I lived on the moor above Grassington I did see ermine in the winter, not often, and not many, but I have never seen one in the Wolds, not yet. I hope it doesn’t mean that we are in for a very cold and hard spell, before spring.

The drive back from the meeting also showed me several other animals, I saw two foxes and a badger, and a lot of rabbits on the verges. On the way, I had to avoid countless pheasants dashing, or in some cases just ambling across the road in front of me.

I was given a wonderful gift of a lot of ties from a gentleman in Shipley this week, and spent some time admiring, dissecting, and washing and ironing pieces for a bedspread I’m constructing. I’m going to donate it to St Leonard’s Hospice for them to raffle off when it’s finished. There are only so many ornate bedspreads any home needs.

I also went through my wardrobe. I was able to discard countless t-shirts, trousers, shoes, socks and various other items that I no longer need or use and are just getting in the way. I managed to thin out my drawers somewhat. There are numerous clothing collection points almost everywhere. I just hope that someone can benefit from some warm clothes. I have a tendency to hoard and need, every so often, to remedy this.

I seem to have acquired an awful lot of shoes, and just how many does anybody need? I hope a refugee child or lady somewhere will use those I have discarded. Now I just have to bring myself to sort out my numerous pairs of boots.

Even on a miserable cloudy drizzly day walking outside with the dogs is a treat. They enjoy it and so do I. That is when I do a lot of my thinking, it is my time and I can work things out, calm down and put things in prospective. When we get back home it is a rush to stop the dogs rolling on my duvet and a certain amount of washing is required.

I went with a friend down to Market Weighton to a store there, where she could pick up some pre-ordered items, and then we stopped off on the way back at the garden centre for a good cup of coffee and I was able to buy some things I needed. My friend gallantly steered me past the cakes and chocolate.

They had some great things on offer and we left very happy. I am feeling much better, having lost most of my cough and cold and even did some housework, washing and even some ironing. Then I discovered the oven really needs cleaning. Oh Joy.