Peak District nighttime production

I hope the feeling of anticipation I have as I climb the stairs to our cottage loft room at night is one I will never loose.  It’s not as you may have thought the ‘anticipation of passion’, although the Lord of the Manor has just had a restyle with a hint of  ‘George Clooney’ about him.  No, it is the anticipation of laying in bed and listening to the sounds of the Peak District nighttime choir that has me running eagerly up those stairs (sorry Mark), and oh what a glorious ensemble it is.

With no traffic noise to contend with, apart from the odd late night tractor trundling its way home, the vast skies become a stage for one of Mother Natures unbeatable performances, as the sound of birdsong fills the air.  I have never heard anything so uplifting, yet relaxing, so cacophonous yet utterly melodious.  Birdsong is known to be physically relaxing but also cognitively stimulating, relaxing us at night and a great natural alarm clock in the morning.


I’ve yet to learn how to distinguish between the different sounds and be able to put a bird to its song, but the one I absolutely love and wait for which tends to be heard as the others are settling down for the night is the Owl.  I don’t know if I have ever heard one at such close quarters but I am totally transfixed by the sound as it carries across the night sky.  “Twit twoo”  was the only description of an owls voice in my mind, gleaned from childhood stories, however listening to the real thing “Twit twoo”  seems a little lacking in its description of such a dominant, haunting sound which commands the landscape as it travels for miles around.  It’s more like “Hellooooooo ….. is anyone out there?”  “Hellooooooo ….. can anyone hear me?  I lay and listen to the pattern and count the beats between the two hoots, Mr owls perfect musical timing fascinates me.


A few weeks ago someone asked me why we would want to move here.  My answer to that would be that it is worth being here just for the joy of listening to those birds, and I hope I never lose the feeling I have as I climb those stairs and listen in wonder to the Peak District Nighttime Choir.



Love Alison x













Chickens at the windows

I have always enjoyed keeping a couple of hens, they make even a small garden a much more interesting place, and these two girls, (originally three until Mr. Fox did his worst) have kept me very amused and entertained over the last few years.   Now, having been brought up in a small city garden, they think they are in Chicken Heaven and are looking healthier than ever.


Sadly we don’t own the land around our Peak District home, and the girls may well be on borrowed time as they enjoy their free-range life,  but for now both they and I are enjoying their new-found freedom, and washing the dishes is much more fun with a little feathered face staring back at me through the window.


I would even go as far as to say that  ‘Happiness is a Hen pecking at the kitchen window’ but I’m afraid that isn’t going down to well with the ‘lord of the manor’, so go carefully, girls.  We don’t want Chicken pie on the menu now, do we?

There are windows everywhere filling the cottage with light, so I get to keep a good eye on the girls as they peck about their day.  I’m quite sure that they are delighting on feasting and foraging on all the various new flavors,  found in an open field.


If you are contemplating the idea of keeping a few chickens I would say  ‘GO FOR IT’.  They are easy to keep, highly entertaining and the taste of a freshly laid egg every day, well nothing beats it.


Hi girls,  that’s it,  keep me amused but NO PECKING! or there will trouble ahead.


Happy Sunday everyone



Love Alison x




Three weeks in the Peaks.

Driving up a steep hill which takes me away from the city and towns after a short family break, I am brought face to face with the raw reality of country living.  A large bird swoops down in front of me as it skillfully catches its prey, then with its mission successfully accomplished flys off into the distant hills.  I’m not sure what the bird was and not wanting to cause a pile-up on the road I was unable to get a photo, but it was a moment that made me realize the dramatic contrast between city and country living.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bird of prey in action before, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time as I begin to adjust to life in the countryside.


We arrived in sunshine but it wasn’t long before the heavens opened and the rain came down, and down, and the wind began to howl.  It reminded me of a song sung many years ago in Sunday School  “The rains came down and the floods went up but the house on the rock stood firm”.  I have been thankful to be tucked up in a safe warm cottage that has stood the test of time, and just enjoy the noises around me, whilst hoping that the previous owner was being honest when she said that flooding was not a problem.  It was a little worrying as the nearby brook quickly turned into a fast flowing river and the puddles in the fields behind our house began happily getting deeper, but thankfully we have remained cozy and dry.


I am enjoying getting to know the locals and although we don’t speak the same language I think we are going to enjoy each others company very much.




It is already evident that some of these feathered friends keep to a regular daily routine and each morning as I’m sat having breakfast a couple of pheasants wander past on their morning walk to wherever pheasants go.

I should be unpacking but it’s very hard to stop myself from grabbing my camera and snapping away when there is so much going on outside my window.



I love opening the blinds in the morning and wondering what I will see and am hoping that one day soon I might open the blinds and find a field of lambs looking back at me.  It would certainly be more pleasant than the bird swooping down to claim its dinner but I guess we all have to learn to take the rough with the smooth, and I think I’m ok with that.

It is after all, one very special place to be, and I am one lucky country girl.


Love Alison x