1. The thrum of bird wings throughout the morning. Busy birds working their feeders unconcerned by us.

1b. The piece of bark looks like leather to start but as it dries it looks more like metal then pitted clay.

1c. I leave John on the bench while I clean my teeth. It’s sunny yet there are pretty drifting flakes of snow and birds flutter all around. It’s hardly the worst place in the world to wait.

2. We passed a graveyard on our way here and stop to visit on our excursion today. It’s exposed and bitterly cold but we stop to read just about every stone.

2b. Back to Hawick again. Lunch at Turnbull’s: light snacks followed by rich cakes. Buying gloves and recommended pies. Finally a walk in the park and a dunk in the river for the bog dog. A lovely little town.

2c. The duck is pulled sideways by the current then dives.Β  We have no way to know where it’ll reappear and when it stays down for what feels like too long, we wait frozen until it reappears.

3. Even though it’s cloudy so our chances to gaze skyward are limited, Kielder Observatory is ace. The speakers combine a clear love and enthusiasm, with deep knowledge and the ability to convey the almost unfathomable.

3b. THE ROOM FRICKING MOVES.

3c. People get my bad, nearly 30 year old joke.

3d. They joke that all their tuck shop provisions are space themed: Mars bars, Milky Ways, Galaxy bars etc. This tickles me silly.

3e. The drive back – in the dark, in the snow – is sometimes scary but it’s also exhilarating, especially when the pair of deer dash across the road just metres in front of us.

3f. We’ve spent the evening in a different country to the dog. But when we get home, she’s been a good girl.