Dear Readers, while much of the UK is based to receive a month’s worth of rain in a single day tomorrow, East Finchley is basking in November sunshine. I have had to disinter my faux-fur hat from under a pile of shoes at the bottom of the wardrobe and dig out my polo neck, but it’s worth it for a chance to trot around the County Roads and see what’s going on. What is largely going on is a whole lot of leaves. This crab apple is distributing its largesse all over the pavement, and I rather liked the juxtaposition with a puddle.
Many starlings no longer fly off to Africa in the autumn – why would they, when our gardens are stuffed to the gunnels with goodies? But sometimes I see them all lined up on a television aerial and wonder if they are experiencing zugunruhe, a fantastic word meaning ‘migratory restlessness’. What do you think? I have certainly sensed an increase in urgency in the birds, but I was putting it down to the colder weather, longer nights and the fact that natural foods, such as berries and nuts, are beginning to run out.
My Virginia creeper had a bit of a scalping earlier this year, but no doubt it will recover in 2020. In the meantime, this one is magnificent.
And although my friend A is getting a bit fed up with her tamarisk, I do think it looks rather fine in the early November sunshine.
I was delighted to spot some coleus in a window-box, although as they’re just about to flower I doubt that they’ll be around for much longer.
And there is a positive hedge of rosemary. It’s too cold to get much scent from it at the moment, but I have no doubt that when it warms up in spring it will be a pleasure to brush up against it. As it is, it reminds me a little of a mammoth.
And this is a very splendid tree, with more than a touch of sumac about it.
As I wander along the High Road I notice a pair of jackdaws in the tree outside Sainsburys. These are relatively recent arrivals to N2, but have been breeding. This pair took off to the other side of the road, no doubt to have a better view in the case of anyone dropping some chips or dumping their kebab into an unattended bin.
Onwards! There is a very fine cotoneaster bush that glows so brightly that it stops me in my tracks.
I say hello to what is possibly my favourite tree in the County Roads – I love how it has twisted over the years to avoid growing through the bedroom windows or into the garage (with more than a little bit of human assistance I’m sure).
I am rather taken by the coloured glass in the upper windows of some of the older houses around here. It gives a rather jaunty air to these otherwise quite serious houses, what with their names and dates and all….
I notice a ginkgo that hadn’t come to my attention before. The tree is reputed to drop all its leaves on one night, leaving it standing shivering in a puddle of sunshine, but this one hadn’t got the memo. Maybe it depends on how abruptly the temperature drops.
And here is what I think of as a typical East Finchley pigeon. We seem to have a lot of birds with white primary feathers, or white bodies, and I suspect one particular male has been extraordinarily successful with the ladies.
By now it’s getting decidedly chilly, so I decide to head for home. This evening I am dropping my little cat off at the vet to have a heart scan tomorrow – she appears to have a heart murmur and we’ve ruled out all the usual things. She’s eating and drinking and seems generally happy, so I’m not too concerned, but her blood pressure is through the roof, and we need to find out why. So please keep your fingers crossed if you have any digits to spare. It would be good to not have to worry for a bit.
But the County Roads have one more surprise for me, and it’s hiding in plain sight. Some of the houses have very intricate plaster work around their doorways and windows, and I hadn’t really paid attention, assuming that it would be the usual fruit and leaves. And indeed this is what some houses have.
All this really makes me want to know more. Did the different builders have different patterns for the plaster panels? I shall have to do some research and see what’s going on. I love that, even after living here for ten years and walking about regularly with my camera, there is still always something new to see. It’s lovely to travel, but it’s great to be back in my home territory.