Lots of Mussel …

I had to laugh – paperboy on a bike three sizes too small for him … propelling himself by scooting one foot along the floor; would it not be less tiring to simply walk?  Maybe he is saving his paper round money up to buy a bike that fits!

Then we got to Glamis and I had to chuckle about yesterday’s post – I take it back … you know about less Christmas pressure this year?  at not yet 8am the Christmas Trees either side of Glamis Castle gates are not only in position but are twinkling prettily with their lights already on.  I approve of their style though – simple blue/white small twinkly lights.

After that I spotted a single deer in a field – I think it was a red deer hind from the shape of the face but cannot be certain.  Then after several days of no mobile rocks they were back again on the brae where they should be.  And finally a lovely moment – earlier in the summer a motorist ran over the Muscovy drake at Lumley Den.  The Duck carried on rearing thewir ducklings but I haven’t seen her or them for a while.  This morning there were a number of ducks on the little water across the road and I am sure I spotted some new domestic ducks in the compound.

On the dual carriageway and approaching Dundee another big smile – we have this daft illuminated sign which offers all sorts of weird and wonderful suggestions (I think I mentioned it before) … well today it asked “Is your car ready for winter?”  Last time it had that message Weather Guru told me he didn’t know because he hadn’t asked his car.  I wondered as we passed underneath whether he has yet found time to have a chat with his car and check this out?  Could have asked him directly later on but I forgot!

The X7 started off well … and then we picked up a family in Arborath.  Two female adults who smelled heavily of stale cigarettes and a small child.  Now I do like to see and gear parents engaging with their little ones and signing them traditional songs and rhymes BUT why is it necessary to do it all at such a high voilumesing song voice which encompasses the whole bus … along with pointed comments like “ahhh he is looking for other people to pay him attention”.  No I am not going to turn round and entertain your child – I was enjoying apeaceful quiet journey

By the time I arrived in Montrose I was quite relieved my ticket wouldn’t take me any further … and that was my chosen destination for today.  The Basin was almost completely empty – I haven’t seen such a low tide on any previous visits.  The Port was almost empty too.  A Greggs very good value bacon roll and a latte (£2) to go later and I was ready for the 47 to Ferryden Pier.  I had been reading an article in the local paper which warmed my heart on the journey – a campaign to reduce the wasteful prescribing of antibiotics for common colds (hooray) and I couldn’t help but ponder about all the folk who get on a bus and sit there still fully wrapped up in their winter woollies and their heavy coats; not surprising they complain of being cold when they get back off!  My layers are removed and unzipped even for short journeys so I can reverse the process and be warm again when I get off the bus. I popped into the toilet by the pier – the flooding is getting worse so I had to keep my backpack on.

I walked along the road fronting onto the river and down the slipway at the end onto  the beach – the photograph above shows the first  part of the beach – almost entirely composed of mussel shells in the top layer which makes a vivid blue beach.  Of course these are mostly from the few small fishing businesses left in Ferryden but they are also a popular food with the seabirds including the Eider.  I had briefly met two 5 month old Labradors with their person; he told me the black one was shy but she obviously had warmed to me because when they arrived on the beach she immediately wagged a friendly greeting.  They were allowed a wee romp and then were called back to heel; lovely to see dogs being well socialised and trained.

A Raft of Eider (mainly drakes)

Curlew and Oyster Catcher – no temper tantrums today!

Think these are red shanks …

At the back is a juvenile Eider drake (first winter plumage)

What was most fascinating about these birds was the display behaviours the drakes especially where showing – there was lots of posturing and strutting their stuff – but all the time they are making a calling sound which is rather similar to a Doo (pigeon) call but louder and slightly rumbling – it is a very, very soothing noise.

I have read that these birds are shy of people … obviously someone forgot to tell this raft of Eider that because they were not shy of putting on a display for my lens!

Before today I have only seen ships arriving as the tide approaches the high water mark so I was a little surprised by the arrival of the sister ship of one I watched come in around 3 weeks ago (the Ocean Seeker) … meet Ocean Researcher which sailed down from Lerwick and arrived at 11 this morning in Montrose.  I know the drill by now – there is a magic point out there on the sea where the ship arrives at and the Pilot sets off to meet her.

I love the way the Pilot creates a corkscrew wave effect along the sides of the river and the Eider just calmly sit there and bob up and down and watch him pass.  A short time later the Pilot returns and then a wee while later the ship sails into the Port.  

… but what happened next surprised me too!  Previously ships have sailed in, sailed up to the quay and tied up; today the ship and the Pilot did what I can only describe as Boat Ballet – they performed a pirouetting dance in the centre of the Port to turn Ocean Reseracher 360 degress before she came to the quay to tie up and then the Pilot appeared to offer a little bit of ‘tug’ duty with a nose to push/hold Ocean Researcher to the quay.  Given that I know there is a sand bank just upstream of where they turned I was very impressed.

You can just see the Pilot nosing in ‘under the tree’ which is hiding the ship

After all that excitement I decided I wasn’t going to the lighthouse today and instead I had my picnic and read for a while sat up above the river.  Then I had a brainwave – Dog needed food buying but that meant breaking my journey in Forfar and faffing around waiting for the next bus … so … I popped into Tesco in Montrose and picked up a bag of Dog’s favourite (Salmon and Potato) … spoiled did I hear you say – not a bit of it! and a bag of coffee beans for me.

My return journey was nothing to write home about; I enjoyed some banter with the bingo buddies at the bus stations and a little more with the driver.  However, I do have something which some of you will be excited about – ever since I included Dog in the blog I have been asked but what about Pup …

… so freshly downloaded from a camera memory card at the other side of Scotland and hurtled through the Internet may I introduce to you Dicey (Pup in the blog) – and look he already has “t” for trouble on his chest!  This is an almost 6 week old Pointerdor who is (along with his three partners in crime – but I am told he is the leader) both amusing my parents and driving them daft.

This innocent looking wee chap uses his elbows to climb sheer barricades (designed to stop him going somewhere); uses those big paddy paws to tip over the water bowl and then runs through the ensuing lake with a big silly smile on his face; oh and he is very keen on teething on clothing!

So I will leave you cooing over Pup while I go get some sleep – I think I have had a low grade virus this week and I feel energyless; at least it hasn’t turned into a nasty throat and chest infection which would almost certainly have been the outcome if I was sat in an office all day!

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About nonehpets

I have an interest in how interior design and adapting a home to support living independently for longer can be complementary. The blog Life Long Design is part of an holistic plan for establishing a social enterprise which will offer the people of Tayside opportunities to explore Telecare and the wider scope of assistive technologies. Enabling individuals to make more informed and responsible choices in the care and support they need in their independent living. I am also keen to see public transport more widely adopted and sustainable rural bus services in particular supported. The Blog Travels with a Megarider shares my journey to find serenity in my life as I make that transition form employment to social entrepreneur. One of my methods in increasing serenity is to travel as many miles as I can on a fixed price bus ticket and explore my own local places of interest. Places that I used to go past and had never stopped to look at; places of peace and tranquility; places where I have had some wonderful conversations with complete strangers. I would like to share with you a response to when I described that one paragraph in an e-mail made it sound simple: "Believe me, Cathy, it does not sound simple. You are taking on an incredible challenge for all the right reasons. It is ambitious and admirable - the sort of project that can change lives, including yours." He is right it is ambitious but when did we every achieve anything by settling for the status quo and ignoring what doesn't work for people? So I would welcome your company from time to time on this journey either simply as a reader or if you are brave enough adding your own thoughts to the comments as you feel moved.

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