Kate Davies Designs

actual O W L S

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Sometimes things just have to be done. Last year, the Scottish Owl Centre relocated to Polkemmet in West Lothian, a short drive away from Edinburgh. Boasting “one of the largest collections of owls in the world”, how could we not pay a visit?

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We met Hudson, the great horned owl.

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and this lovely wee feller, a Southern Boobook owl . . .

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. . . whose name was . . .

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BRUCE!

Though I have some issues with creatures in cages, I also appreciate the work of conservation breeding and education that is conducted by organisations like the Scottish Owl Centre. Rod Angus, who lead the o w l demonstration, was really knowledgeable and I felt that amidst the ooohing and aahing we came away having learnt quite a bit about o w l s, their unique behaviours, and the ingenious ways in which they they adapt to their environment.

We saw lots of other beautiful o w l s but I think that this chap – a milky eagle owl – was our confirmed favourite.

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You can find the Scottish Owl Centre at Polkemmet Country Park in West Lothian, between Whitburn and Harthill (leave M8 at Junction 4). @ScotOwl on twitter.

swings and roundabouts

jesus

Jesus is back. He was discovered at a neighbour’s, lured away by the promise of full Scottish breakfasts, oodles of milk, and a general lack of workmen and disruption. He is looking a bit scraggy, but certainly no thinner . . . We are keeping the wee man inside for a few days and the neighbours have been politely asked to stop feeding him fried eggs and sausages.

But my hopes of a nice, quiet few days were dashed when an idiot joyrider drove a car straight into the side of our campervan, which was parked outside our flat. Happily, no-one was injured, so I can show you what happens when a speeding car hits a stationary campervan.

van

As well as crushing the chassis on the driver’s side of the van, the force of the impact pushed it backwards into a parked car behind. The damage is significant. After some back-and-forth with our insurers, they are coming to take it away to look at it this morning and I fear that will be the last we ever see of it.

I am terribly upset. For me, that van – which we refer to as the wazzwagon – is so much more than just a vehicle. It has played a crucial part in my recovery and gave me hope at a very bad time. It has enabled me to enjoy the landscapes that I love, and has taken us all over Scotland. It may be that it can be repaired, but I very much fear the insurance company are going to want to write it off. Poor wazzwagon.

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box

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wazzwagon

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Please keep your fingers crossed for it.

hot shots

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We have just returned from a photoshoot. It is a very hot day and Tom couldn’t stop taking photographs of Bruce’s monumental panting tongue. (Don’t worry, he was supplied with plenty of water). In between the hot dog shots, he was photographing my new pattern – a cardigan, which is due for release toward the end of the month. I am very pleased with this design, and couldn’t resist showing you a couple of outtakes from the shoot.

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This will be the first of three designs, all inspired by my favourite Edinburgh places. More soon!

Summer days

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It is a while since I’ve known a spell of weather like it.

The verges have bloomed into wildflower meadows.

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bee
thistles

Everything seems sharper, brighter, a dappled world of light and shade.

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light

The evening air is soft and fragrant.

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Folk stroll about, bare-armed, leisurely.

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Inside, the new rooms are cool and clean and very pretty.

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Bruce prefers the shade.

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We are looking forward to a quiet weekend, with no workmen, and no dust. It will feel like a tremendous luxury to simply cook and enjoy a meal together in the kitchen. While the relocation stress continues, things are out of our hands for a wee while – our only worry at the moment is Jesus – who has not put in an appearance for 11 days. Jesus is an elusive creature, and he has been more than ordinarily elusive of late while the workmen have been here. Still, 11 days is a long time, even for a self-sufficent and resourceful feline like him. Come back, Jesus.

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A Walk with Felix

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Hiya! It is I, Bruce. I am here to tell you about a Fun Walk I had yesterday at Braid Hill with Kate and my buddy, Felix. This walk (which is one of my favourites) begins by Golf Course. Golf Courses are very mysterious human spaces: men walk purposefully about them with large bags and sticks, and occasionally a ball flies by which I am not allowed to chase. Also, Golf Courses are composed of large flat, inviting lawns which clearly say “gambol upon me.” Oddly, though, whenever we encounter one, I am not allowed to gambol but am sternly told to walk to heel. Yesterday, though, I was so happy to be engaged upon the business of Walking with Felix that I got away, and gambolled happily about the Golf Course. Then I did something in the middle of the big green lawn which made Kate shout “Oh No! Bruce!” in that way she often does. So I thought I’d cheer her up by rolling in something a horse had left nearby . . . sadly this did not seem to do the trick.

Felix remained in good spirits, however, and, fully fired up with eau de cheval, we ascended Hill. At the top of Hill it was clearly time for a game, and, after rummaging in the bushes I presented Felix with Old Ball.

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Come down from there, Felix, it is time to throw Old Ball.

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Look at me prance with Old Ball, Felix.

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Time to throw Old Ball again, Felix.

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What do you mean, its the end of the game?

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Please throw Old Ball again, Felix.

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Sadly, there was no more Old Ball fun for me as Kate decided it was time to take some pictures of her new sweater.

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Such is life.

See you soon, love Bruce xxx

today

bruce

skylarks

buddies

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stitch

Skylarks and sunshine, whin and whin-coloured knitting. A yellow day.
(Mel gifted me several amazing Bruce-shaped stitch markers a while ago. One day I’ll show you the whole set. )

New Lanark, the egg, and the naming of things

hiya

Hiya! It is I, Bruce. Today I am here to tell you about the place called New Lanark.

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Tom and Kate have been to this place many times, and are fond of it for many reasons. Kate particularly likes New Lanark because
1) it is the birthplace of Utopian Socialism and
2) it makes yarn.

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As well as being an important World Heritage Site, New Lanark is a place where you can enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Falls of Clyde.

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This was definitely the bit that interested me.

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Up along the river banks and woods, there is much fun walking to be had. I smelt many interesting smells and went for a swim . . .

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. . .I looked after the humans, hurrying them along the paths, and posing obligingly for photographs.

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. . . I also heard some sounds that were new to me. For example, these icicles on the opposite bank made an interesting crrrrrrack and crrrrrash sound as they broke and fell into the river.

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Then we came to a place called The Hide.

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There was much excitement around The Hide because The Egg had just appeared in the nest of a Peregrine. The humans at The Hide had equipment through which Tom and Kate could look and see the Peregrine sitting on The Egg. Kate seemed quite interested in The Egg, but was perhaps even more animated by the colour of the Peregrine’s eyelids, which were apparently a very very very bright yellow. I was not allowed to look through the equipment, but I was very good on my lead and did not snaffle any of the Hide humans’ tasty meat-filled sandwiches while they were being distracted by the excitement of The Egg.

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Now, I know and understand many human words — egg and chicken, for example, are two words that make a lot of sense to me. But two words that do not make sense are the words called Monkey Walking, which is what the humans shout at me with glee when I do this on a path with gaps in it:

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The naming of things is perhaps the deepest of all human mysteries. For example, why is this crunchy, tasteless, pointless thing called Lichen when there is nothing to like about it at all?

lichen

Why is this piece of Scottish hydroelectrical equipment called YORKSHIRE?

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Who named this bench BROWN LONG EARED BAT?

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And which daft human decided that this fence should be called DONKEY?

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Answers on a postcard, please . . .

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See you soon, Love Bruce

Kate adds: A shout-out to Laura, the New Lanark ranger, who reads this blog and who we met on our walk today. Thanks so much to Laura and all her colleagues for their hard work maintaining this wonderful landscape for everyone to walk in and enjoy! xx

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