A second consecutive day of sun; this time spent knee deep in the medieval poetry of Chaucer.
‘Nor other cure canstow noon for me.
Eek I nil not be cured, I wol deye;
What knowe I of the quene Niobe?
Lat be thyne olde ensaumples, I thee preye.'
Indeed. The sky was a faded blue and I reclined on my bed, looking out the window. Wispy clouds and the occasional leaf rolled through on the gentle breeze. This is October. This is traditionally the season that should be spent digging fingernails into palms in stiff easterly winds by the coast, waiting for that unusual looking warbler to reappear (and to inevitably be just a Chiffchaff). This is the third week university slump though; my Hamlet phase when the uses of the outside world seem weary, stale, flat and unprofitable to me.
I pull myself together by five. By half five I’m out and walking up, but west not east. Instead of to the mountains, my regular route, I head along a road with a short hedge by a field that banks steeply downslope. I wasn’t the only one with the idea. The sun drops between the edges of the Hills of Touch and the Trossachs here. The Carse of Lecropt is bathed in cool shade with the stippled halos of trees catching the last rays of the sun. The hills are distant and grey and black.
By half six the sun has sunk below the horizon. The other watchers leave, oddly, as the sun sinks, content with what they have seen. As the sun carries on its orbit below the horizon the colours get more vivid. The clouds, hitherto patchy, congeal into a giant mass; they burn orange-red, briefly, then disappear into dusk.
(And twenty minutes later)
Eventually September rains itself out; eventually I get my required reading done. The afternoon, never productive time for me, was to be spent on a wild goose chase in the carse. This is never a particularly reliable target. You can walk down any country lane here one winter’s day and stumble across giant flocks that you’ll never find again in the same place, but you’ll never give up trying to find them there…
In the end, one small flock of Siskin in a hedge was hardly what I wanted for a seven mile walk. Feet aching and thighs on fire, and the first thing I find on getting back to my room in the flat was an orange sky outside. Walking east at dusk has its downsides. The crows that roost in the trees by the loch spread themselves against the sky, fold like origami and shoot off behind the other flats. Just in time for a quick shower of rain. Five minutes later the sky turns orange, grey, blue and yellow.
It seems very Scottish this photo. Nothing can quite escape the fingerprints of the rain.