Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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Ipdong: the beginning of winter

Octopus porridge for lunch anyone? Bonfire Night fireworks were good here last night, with mulled wine, but this blog from my friend living in South Korea is perhaps a bit more unusual. 🙂

Here on Jeju

Koreans traditionally divide the year into 24 seasons. Yesterday was the beginning of Ipdong, the first of the six winter seasons.  The climate on Jeju is milder than mainland Korea, due to its southerly latitude and warm ocean currents, but Mount Halla, at almost 2000 metres above sea level, usually has snow lying for at least three months of the year.  Last Monday it received its first snowfall of the season, a full fortnight earlier than last year.October - November 2014 Olle 19, Granny and Dorothy 301 October - November 2014 Olle 19, Granny and Dorothy 288

Even at sea-level, I was pretty cold by the time the closing concert of the Jeju Olle Walking Festival started at 5pm yesterday evening.  I had walked almost 20km in the rain, along with several hundred others, stopping for octopus porridge for lunch and buckwheat pancakes filled with radish for tea, and entertainment of all kinds: a traditional Silla dynasty wedding ceremony, yoga, children’s choirs, and a ballad about the loss…

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Birds and blue skies

We’ve had some lovely bird-watching weather this week. I’ve also managed to do a bit of running every other day – this morning even running halfway up a steep hill. Very slowly, and not for long, but I’m back running again, and that’s good.

On Wednesday I saw this grey heron stalking fish. His (or her? how do you tell?) long streamer feathers blew about in the wind rather beautifully.

Grey heron

Grey heron

This starling was eyeing up the fat balls in our garden. The sheen on his feathers goes well with the shiny bark. We saw a flock of about a hundred starlings wheeling round over the village today. I hope they don’t decide to visit for fat-balls all at once. I need to remember to look out for them doing their evening murmuration acrobatics – though maybe they fly off somewhere else to do that.

Starling

Starling

The clear blue sky set off these hawthorn berries rather well. There is quite a glut of hedgerow fruit- I haven’t yet seen any redwings or fieldfares, but they are apparently already around this area, according to my BirdTrack app.  You can put in the name of a bird, and find out where it has been spotted in the past few days.  Earlier in the week, I thought I’d heard a raven fly over our house, but as I’ve never seen one here before, I was dubious whether I’d misinterpreted the sound.  But the app showed that they have been spotted recently nearby – and today we spoke to a farmer who said he’d seen ravens round here.  It sounded really rather like a sick duck.  You can listen to one on the RSPB site here.

Hawthorn berries

Hawthorn berries