View from the computer room (taken yesterday) 🍁

October - this may well be my favourite month! It started with thick mist and low clouds, rain, and chilly temperatures, which, in autumn, I enjoy. September was a very busy month, and both happy and sad at once: Agnes, who hadn't been well but wasn't exactly ill died very suddenly, which was a horrible shock and I was very upset that I hadn't been with her when she died. She was a very good hen, very solemn, but very sweet and, though on her own terms, very affectionate. A real loss. But we have to move forward quite quickly with hens, so, following her death in the middle of the month and Florence's in July we decided to rescue two more hens from Homes4Hens: Bessie and Clover. They are adorable. Health-wise, I've seen worse. They're both ex-battery hens (as opposed to ex-barn hens like Meg and Florence), not drastically skinny like we've had in the past, and have the usual bald patches and burns, but they walk very well, and are the most energetic rescue hens we've had: they are highly excitable, and everything is completely fascinating to them. After a week now of having them they're settling slightly, but for the first few days they were racing around the garden examining everything. Even their first night (when they ought to have been tired) was spent jumping from perch to perch in the coop and digging at the hay and sawdust (that drove the other two crackers, there were some scenes over that!). Even this morning they were running in and out of the mist and standing together examining dew drops. What's also very sweet is how close they are: with getting pairs or groups there's no guarantee they'll necessarily get on right away - Tilly, for example, wasn't adverse to keeping Agnes in check, and Florence definitely preferred me to Meg. Emily, one of the originals, picked on on Annie and Charlotte terribly (even almost blinded Charlotte). But Clover and Bessie are the best of friends and are almost always together; at night they cuddle up and during the day I can see their two little tails marching about in the undergrowth. It's fascinating getting to know new pets as I'm sure many of you will know. It seems Clover is more confident, Bess meanwhile is very cautious. They're slowly becoming tame, both will run up for treats now but it's Clover who will take it first (assuming Meg and Ruby aren't around). I've noticed when Meg goes for them Clover will dodge her, whereas Bess runs away. We'll see how they progress, it's very early days, but I'm very proud to tell you that they are two very happy little hens. As for Meg and Ruby - they're settling but Ruby really is missing Agnes. I'm not happy with her at the moment, she's rather depressed. Even went to bed today about 5 o' clock, two hours early in fact. And Meg, for the first day she  wandered around shouting the entire day but she's a lot calmer now. Here's a few snaps:

Meg (top left), Ruby (top right), Clover (bottom left), and Bessie (bottom right).

Meg (top left), Ruby (top right), Clover (bottom left), and Bess (bottom right).

Meg, who here the angriest hen in Northumberland.

The first dust bath. Bess (top) and Clover (bottom).

Aside from hens, I've not had much time for anything of interest! I do seem to have hit a slow period with reading and blogging: I'm going through that dreaded phase of not enjoying anything I read and I'm hoping very much that passes quickly (I'm lucky enough to have avoided such a thing for a few years now). As for blogging, the combination of being busy and not being wildly enthusiastic about writing reviews means I have quite a back-log of books to write about: All's Well that Ends Well, The Art of Rhetoric by Aristotle, The Sebastopol Sketches by Tolstoy, Alfred the Great by Asser, the Piero della Francesca chapter from Vasari... all sitting on my desk waiting to be blogged about and none of them are really straightforward reviews. I would love it if I got the drive to get on top of them this week. Because of all this, though, the only few books I will actually commit to reading this month are The Nun by Diderot (which I may start tonight), Hellenica by Xenophon, which I'm halfway through, and the 19th instalment of The Pickwick Papers. I will, I'm sure, read more than that, but what I'm not sure. I think all of this started with Hangover Square. I had a very pleasant and cosy evening reading it (despite the subject-matter being far from cosy) and I've been unable to get into any book in the same way. I have started Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell but I'm not wildly into it. I do hope I can get into a book soon, this is very frustrating!

So, as I find myself without much to say, I'll finish with a few pictures all taken in the past couple of days. There's none of the garden - when I've been in the garden it's been with the new chickens, but next week for Wordless Wednesday I do plan on sharing some pictures of it. Until then...

My local church.

Morning mist.

A mushroom at the front of the house.

A contrast: the same tree - left in August, right in October.

Happy October everyone 🎃 (and wish me luck getting out of my slump!)


  1. I've heard a few people are in slumps in the blogging/reading world and I am too, so you're not alone. It seems like I have a slight grasp on life, then something happens to distract me, then another thing, I get hold of it again, and another thing goes. It is SOOO frustrating, so I sympathize. I was saying on my blog that I think the lack of read-alongs has not been helpful for focus and momentum. Read-alongs made you focus on one book intently and you were forced to be diligent. They seemed to give nice shots of reading-adrenaline that now seem to be lacking. I wish I had time to host one, but I'm up to my ears at the moment with other things.

    Don't read The Republic if you want something inspiring! It sounds like you need something lighter, like a Collins, or another Victorian writer, if you haven't read all of them already, lol! I'm reading Italo Calvino's If On A Winter's Night A Traveller to try to shake things up a bit. I'll let you know if it works.

    Oooo, wait, I remember a book I wanted to recommend to you. G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Knew Too Much. It has a nice blend of mystery and politics and I remember thinking to myself as I was listening to it, "O would like this!" Please let me know if you do read it and what you think of it!

    It is soooo nice to see photos of the hens! Ruby looks HUGE and very healthy and it's great to hear the new girls are fitting in well. I was sorry to hear about Agnes ...... our rabbit, Whiskers, finally passed away about three weeks ago and it was very upsetting, although I have to say, I also have a feeling of gratitude for having him so long. He was around 12 years old, about twice as old as I thought he'd reach and he'd been healthy with only some issues up until the day before he died. So I'm trying to think of being grateful instead of being sad. I still find myself going to pick something for him in the garden though before I realize he's not here anymore.

    In any case, I wish you the grandest October ever and that you get your reading-groove again. In fact, I wish that for all of us!

    1. Cleo, yes - I've seen I'm not the only one, I'm in good company! So hard to be motivated. Also now full of cold which makes it harder! A read-along wouldn't help at present though, I can guarantee I'll fail!

      I'll check out G.K. Chesterton - for now though just started Around the World in 80 Days - fell asleep before I got too far into it (about page 30) but really like it so far :)

      All the hens are doing well, though Ruby's moulting, which is why she's been a bit down too. I noticed yesterday she only had two tail feathers, then this morning there's an absolute sea of feathers in the coop and aviary. Remarkably though she's not looking too bad. She's got so so many feathers :)

      So sorry to hear about your rabbit - 12 years! Oh that must be tough on you, but well done for getting him to that age. Poor Whiskers.

      Happy October! Hopefully we'll all get out of this slump soon :)

  2. I am so sorry about Agnes and I know how awful it feels. But you are right, life does go on and I am so glad to know you now have Bessie and Clover! October is also my almost favourite month and I am so glad it is finally here! I am so eternally grateful to you for hosting the amazing The Pickwick Paper Read Along. When I had first read it, I was more like meh, but this time around, I am sooooooo enjoying it! It will be kind of sad to have the end coming, but still it was a lot of fun while it lasted! Lovely pictures...October in your part of the world looks awesome! Happy October reading to you!

    1. Thank you <3 Bess and Clover are doing very well, and Clover especially is very assertive. Today Meg tried to bump her out the way but Clover stood her ground. Bessie's still very timid though, understandably :)

      Glad you're enjoying Pickwick. I keep saying it, but I can't believe we're nearly finished! 20 months has flown by! It's quite scary, actually :)

  3. I understand your slump. Sometimes the best way to get out of one is a clean slate approach. Just start fresh and let the books you are behind on reviewing slide quietly by. I get so depressed by world events and governments. Your hens cheered me up enormously. So sorry about the girls you have lost. I just wish everyone would treat animals and others kindly. Hope autumn is kind to you.

    1. I've taken your very good advice. Only got All's Well That Ends Well that I want to write something on, and only because this and Measure for Measure are the only two Shakespeare plays I've not reviewed on this blog.

      As for world events - I'm not so up to date as I used to be. It really is too depressing. I know something's going on in London today but it's not being treated as terror so that's something. Las Vegas - good Lord, what was that?! And politics... Don't get me started. Theresa May's speech the other day, my God! Mind I did feel sorry for her (everyone reminds me at this point she's a Tory but I don't care, I did feel sorry for her, partly because I too have a cold!).

      Glad the hens cheered you up though! They're very good chickens :D


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