Friday, 25 March 2011

Spring undoubtably sprung

Well the week flew by. The Community Wildlife Reserve was well and truly opened on Tuesday, and is a triumph - a credit to all concerned from the firm that donated the land (an ex-quarry) to the designer, builder and enthusiasts who pushed it forward. We split into three groups to walk around after Geoff cut the ribbon on the bird watching hide by the pond. I walked with the group led by Gary Tait, the bird expert who did the surveys up at Crookedstane. He reassured me that my bloomer about hen harriers was not as colossal as I feared - I told the RSPB man that we have hen harriers nesting in our trees and he said crushingly that they nest on the ground, which Gary says is not invariably the case. Anyway, as we walked round the edge of the wetlands area I thought I heard frogs so three of us tiptoed across and there sure enough was frog and toad spawn. One of our co-walkers who runs the Lockerbie reserve said he had counted 57 toads on the road there (in Lockerbie) the night before. Later that day, my son in law Jim reported so many frogs &/or toads on the forest road at Crookedstane on Monday, just sitting there, that he had to just close his eyes and drive on. A great bonus of the cup of tea and sandwich at the Initiative after our tour was the opportunity to chat to Jean Purves and David Booth about plans for upgrading Station Park. I mentioned the idea of making a Kneipp Walk - a facility available in many Swiss and Austrian spa resorts, excellent for walkers' tired feet but not only for them. A Kneipp Walk is a shallow cold water track with different surface textures to be walked barefoot. It does you the world of good, apparently, alongside another cold water treatment known as an elbow bath. Yes! It's all to do with the boost to your immune system supplied by immersion in cold water. So we are back where Moffat started, with hydrotherapy - but for the 21st century. Credit for suggesting that goes to Julia Williams who runs a clinic at the Wellbeing Centre on th High St. Maybe I am being simple-minded but why not recreate a well-being centre in the Pump Room (aka Town Hall)? In the post later in the week came a welcome letter from Count Nikolai Tolstoy saying that he will come to our autumn Moffat Book Event to contribute to the debate about 'Belonging, identity and provenance' (not forgetting food). There are early signs that Moffat Let's Live Local will be welcome collaborators and we may spread our wings over two days rather than, as for Love and Marriage in Moffat on Sat April 16, just the one. I am stuck on page 104 of Civilization - Niall Ferguson has adopted the same tiresome device as Ian Morris in Why The West is winning - For Now : playing 'what if?' (the 14th century Chinese sea voyages of exploration had continued; what if we not the Spanish had colonised South America). They did, we didn't, nothing more to see here folks, lets move on.I received three handwritten letters this week: one from a 93-year old, both the others from friends in their 80's. Everyone my age (rising 70) uses email.

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