Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Boston, birds and a wood mouse

The final episode of our Lincolnshire meander. Our very pretty campsite was just a few miles from Boston which we visited on the way. We were, initially, a little disappointed with the town. It was expensive to park our 'van', the market was large but not the sort of traders we prefer and the Tourist Information Office was in the museum which was 'closed for a private function' - on a Saturday morning! We had wanted to visit the museum, housed in the old Guildhall, had intended to consult Tourist Information for other points of interest, and the adjacent Fydell House was closed for the same function. Not very welcoming we felt!

We photographed the river and 'docks' from which the famous boats left for America (unfortunately low tide so more mud than water - not Boston's fault this time!), Saint Botolph's Church Tower, known as 'the Stump', and looked at the old merchant's houses and warehouses on the quayside. After a flash of inspiration we asked the way to the library. At this point, Boston redeemed itself since the library was still open (now mid Saturday afternoon when many would have closed at lunch time), a very helpful librarian (embarrassed to hear of the closed Tourist Information office), gave us a street map and suggested a visit to the Maud Foster Windmill, even suggesting a pleasant route to walk. The windmill was a wonderful place to visit - although to those of us with a gluten-free diet a little too 'floury'. There was a strong breeze, the sails were rattling round, the miller was very informative, the view was wonderful (between sails that is) and we very much enjoyed our visit. My husband is still enjoying the piza bases which he makes with semolina flour purchased from the mill shop!

After a restful night at the campsite, we trundled off again in the van to RSPB Frampton Marsh - the Lincolnshire side of the wash. I was a little uncertain if I would enjoy the trip. I can recognise our garden birds and those on our local hillsides, but wading birds are a bit of an unknown to me. It was a brilliant day out - aided by glorious weather. The volunteers staffing the visitor centre were knowledgeable and very patient even though I clearly knew very little. A visiting crane seemed to have created a commotion - its arrival heralded by texts from further along the coast. It was greeted by a long-lens, tripod carrying crowd. We felt very inferior and left them to it. The crane clearly tried to avoid them too and we had a lovely view as it flew over back to the Wash - sadly, my slow reactions and basic camera left me without a photo - although I did feel a little smug when some lens-laden twitchers struggled up the dyke to ask if we knew which way it had gone since they had missed it. The reserve is being grazed by my favourite cows - a small group of Belted Galloways so I couldn't resist a photo or two. There were many wildflowers for my stitching inspiration files too!

As we walked back to the car park, we saw a small furry bundle on the very hot road. It was a tiny woodmouse, very hot and I feared dehydrated - it seemed barely able to move. Keeping a watch for approaching vehicles I poured a little puddle of water in front of it and splashed a drop onto its nose. It revived enough to have a few sips from the puddle. I repeated the exercise and it drank more. Cute though it was I had no intention of being nipped - I remember the strawberry eating jaws of a similar cute beastie from a year or two earlier at home (images on facebook here). I broke a stalk from the verge seeking to use it to administer a gentle nudge back towards the verge. The mouse came to life enough to nibble the end of the stalk and, when I seemed to be about to remove it, clamped his teeth on tightly and held on whilst I lifted him to the relative safety of the verge. He was very tiny and still seemed intent on trying to cross the road - I shooed him back a few times. We left him with a supply of cut stalks and the hope that he might survive. I fear he was in quite a hostile, predator rich environment but I did my best!


PS. Two of the fabric bowls featured in progress on my work table - see earlier post, now finished:

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