We had a lovely visit to my parents this weekend, enjoying much warmer temperatures than Edinburgh! We discovered Blackleach Country park, which is almost on my parents' doorstep. This was designated as a country park in 2004 (it was derelict land when I was growing up) and has a lake and some nice walks. We saw a good flock of long tailed tits in the trees as well as lots of water birds, including large numbers of coots.
My parents' garden was also full of birds, notably up to ten goldfinches on the bird feeders, several blackbirds fighting over the sultanas, blue tits, a song thrush (which despite their recent declines in number are still regularly seen and heard near my parents' home), a dunnock, a wren and a very good view of a jay, which is a big handsome bird that I don't often get a close look at.
The train journey from Bolton to Edinburgh is always lovely, passing through the English Lake District and southern Scotland. It looked particularly lovely with the dustings of snow. We also noticed the Cauldstane Slap pass, which is nicely visible from the train as it passes between Carstairs and Edinburgh and which the Belvedere Mountain Express album was named after.
We got back to Edinburgh yesterday to find that my reading at TraVerses was cancelled, which was a relief in some ways as I don't really like rushing around and didn't really feel like going straight out to read after getting off a train!
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